“Pass me the chips,” Sara, the stalker, said. The three of us were at Sara’s house for a sleepover and everyone had brought something to eat. I brought chips, Amna brought candies and Sara made pasta. We watched a horror movie and then went to sleep.

“Get up, you lazy bones, we are late for school!” Amna shouted, waking us up. As soon as we heard her, an electric current seemed to pass through our spines. We jumped up and got ready while our ‘OCD’ queen Amna, already prepared, was almost running to school.

Finally, we arrived at school. All three of us were very tired, but at least we made it. It was a regular day at school and we had fun together. Little did we know that someone’s jealousy could soon tear our friendship apart.

After attending all our classes, we went home. I was about to take a nap when I got a text message from an unknown number. Although the number was unknown, the text seemed to be from Amna.

The message said, “You are my bestie. I feel better being with you then with Sara. I want us to sit on the same bench while she sits somewhere else.” I was confused because Sara and Amna were childhood friends and we wouldn’t talk about close friends like that. I ignored the message and went to sleep as I was exhausted.

The next day, I got another message from another unknown number. I opened it and saw it was from Sara, saying the same thing as Amna had said the day before.

“What’s going on?” I thought, and decided to talk to them.

When I saw Sara in school, I called her name, but she ignored me and went inside the classroom. Then I saw Amna and thought I should talk to her. As I tried to approach Amna, she got up and changed her seat. I was dumbstruck. Before I could ask her anything, the teacher arrived in the classroom.

Throughout the classes, both Sara and Amna completely ignored me. Even at home time, they left early. Feeling sad, I took my bag and went home. The thought of losing both my best friends was upsetting, so I decided to find out what happened. I opened my phone and checked their numbers and our previous chats.

Then I noticed something unusual: both messages ended with a ‘*’ sign instead of a period or no punctuation. This was the habit of my classmate Ayesha, who had often been told by teachers to stop using a star at the end of her sentences, but she never listened.

The revelation was shocking, yet painful. It was Ayesha who had texted me. So I decided to confront her and learn the truth. I also wanted to clear it up with Sara and Amna that it wasn’t me, but someone we never imagined.

I went to Sara, who lived nearby. She didn’t want to meet me, but I insisted. She came but remained cross with me until I revealed the truth. Sara was astonished and told me she also got the same messages. Then we called Amna and told her; she was shocked and said she had also received similar messages.

The next day, we confronted Ayesha. At first, Ayesha denied everything. After our constant requests to reveal the truth, she said, “I always wanted to have friends, but I was never lucky in this regard. So whenever I saw you three together all the time, it hurt me. Then this jealousy pushed me to try and break your friendship. I am sorry, girls.”

It was an honest reply, so after much thought, all three of us decided to include Ayesha in our group. From a trio to a quartet, we all became the best buddies for life.

Published in Dawn, Young World, June 8th, 2024

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