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Hasty Words

Yesterday Sam was invited to spend a couple of days with a friend. He was very excited, but his little brother was equally sad! “Why can’t I go, too?” asked Jacob. I told him it was good for Sam to have some time by himself with his friend. “Would you like to have Aljoh come and stay the night with you?” I asked. His face lit up and he nodded vigorously. Sam and Jake and Aljoh all played happily together until Sam’s friend arrived to pick him up. I saw Jake’s lip tremble as Sam waved goodbye. When Aljoh went home to get his things, I gave Jake a hug and said, “Never mind, Jake. Let’s go and make your bunk into a pirate ship for tonight. Aljoh will love that.” He cheered up at that and helped hang sheets all around the bunk. The phone went about half an hour later. It was Aljoh’s mum. She told me that Aljoh was sobbing and very upset. Apparantly when Sam’s friend arrived to pick him up, Jacob had turned to Aljoh and said, “I wish you weren’t coming to my house! I want to go with Sam.” Oh dear. I called Jacob aside and told him there was a very sad little boy up the road. I asked him if he knew why Aljoh would be crying. He thought for a minute and then said, “Oh, Mum. That’s right. remember? He hurt his knee!” “No,” I said. “That’s not why. Think again.” He thought for a few minutes and then shook his head. “Why, Mummy? Why’s Aljoh crying?” “Did you say something that might have upset him, Jacob?” I asked gently. Slowly understanding dawned on his face. “I didn’t mean it, Mummy,” he said in a little voice. “I only said it cos I was sad that Sam was going.” “Maybe. But Aljoh didn’t know that. He doesn’t want to come anymore.” Jake looked at me with a tragic face and then fell into my arms sobbing. He cried for at least a minute and then said in a small voice, “But he’s my best friend, Mummy.” “I know,” I said. “But people get hurt when you say things like that.” I let him cry for a while, then said, “Do you want to go and see him and say you’re sorry?” He nodded his head against my chest.

When we walked in the door, I glanced down at my little son. His lip trembled and his face was still streaked with tears. Aljoh came out to meet him. He was smiling. “I forgive you, Jacob!” he said, before Jacob could say anything. Jacob started to cry again and said in a little voice, “I’m sorry, Aljoh. You’re my best friend.” Then the two boys hugged each other. Two pirates went to bed together last night and I heard them giggling behind the sheets. “Watch out for rats!” I said as I turned off the light. The next morning, they found a dead mouse on the carpet. The two pirates picked it up and carefully put it in Milly’s drawer.

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