The Friendship Bench

The Friendship Bench

Once upon a time, Emily arrived at Cosy Primary School to find a boy she didn’t know. He had a face like a dead fish. The boy was sitting on the wooden friendship bench, which was on the edge of the busy playground.

‘Hello,’ she chirped, ‘my names, Emily, are you new here?’

The boy didn’t answer; he just stared hard at his shoes without even looking up. Emily slipped her book bag off her shoulder and sat beside him.

‘I’m in Miss Atkinson’s class,’ she said, ‘Who’s class are you in?’

Still no answer. The boy shuffled to the far side of the bench.

 A moment later, the school bell sounded.

‘Time to go in,’ she said, ‘See you at playtime.’  

Emily found that the new boy was in her class, after all – his name was, Callum.

The next morning when she arrived at school. Callum was on the bench again. He had a face like a bowl of Brussels sprouts.

‘Hello, Callum,’ she said, putting her bag down then sat beside him. He didn’t move this time.

She continued, ‘I did my story homework last night. Do you want to see it?’

His face turned into a Gargoyle, and he slid to the other end of the bench.

Emily pulled the red scrunchie from her straw-coloured hair to refresh the pony-tail.

He looked up.

She saw the Gargoyle.

‘Oh, don’t worry, Callum. It doesn’t need to be in until Friday. You’ve three days yet.’

Callum slid back up to, Emily, who continued, ‘Miss Atkinson said-.’

‘I c…can’t write stories,’ he mumbled.

Emily’s mouth fell open.

‘What do you mean you can’t write stories?’

Callum replied in a shaky voice, ‘I d…don’t know,

ha-how you find the words?’

Emily felt a flutter in her tummy then took a deep breath.

She said, ‘my dad always says, the easiest way to write a story is to write about what you know.’

Callum frowned and said, ‘What do you mean, what you know?’ as he inched closer to, Emily.

‘Well,’ said Emily, making intense eye contact with him. ‘We have to write a story called my walk to school…right?’

‘Right,’ said Callum with renewed interest.

‘So, when you left home this morning what was the first thing you noticed?’ Emily said.

‘I err…it started to rain.’

‘Then what?’

‘Err…I went to a sweet shop.’

‘Next?’

‘I saw a dog pee up a lamp-post.’

‘Eww…don’t think you should write that, but, carry on.’

By the time Emily and Callum had finished talking, Callum’s face was like a Cheshire Cat. When Friday had arrived, Miss Atkinson asked, Callum, to stand up and read his story to the class. Though nervous at first, Emily gave him a discreet thumbs-up, and he began.

Two months had passed at the school, and both Emily and Callum noticed a quiet girl on the bench. They went over and sat down with her.

‘Hi, my names, Callum this is my best friend, Emily.’

The Beginning…

2 thoughts on “The Friendship Bench

  1. On my first day at school I sat on a bench alone. I couldn’t speak a word of english and had never seen white people as I had come from india. All the children gathered round me trying to sit on the bench with me but as they got closer I kicked them real hard. Later on when I could speak English I became best friends with Susan bridges. She was the girl who I had kicked the most when I sat alone on that bench!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ghosha, what a wonderful story. I suspect things have changed a great deal since those days, although there is still a long way to go before total acceptance becomes the norm. I should add that the time I spent at Bilton Primary taught me a lot about how today’s young people are more knowledgeable about the importance of inclusion in society regardless of race, religion, gender et al which is a good thing. Understanding the background and struggles of others is paramount, even more so, in the modern world where the distance in terms of travel is much shorter and people can choose to live anywhere on the planet. Thank you for your comment it means a lot. x

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