It started in the maths lesson. Our teacher Miss Ashworth asked us to work together as a group. We had to colour in circles, triangles and squares. There were five of us, Tom, Ravi, Alisha, Millie and me. Every one was talking and colouring in the shapes and taking it in turn to colour in the right shape but Millie was silent. She did not make a peep! Ravi was being cheeky drawing little blue faces on every one's notebook. It was a little bit annoying but the faces were really very sweet, he thought it was hilarious and kept laughing and laughing. Tom, Alisha and I were giggling too! It was funny!
Then he grabbed Millie's book. He took the fat, red marker and drew a funny, smiley face on her notebook. Millie looked at the note book. We laughed, but she was silent. Her eyes were glued to the blue paper cover of the book. Her eyes were hidden behind her long blond fringe.
"JUST LEAVE ME ALONE!" Millie shouted all of a sudden! I had NEVER heard Millie shout. All eyes were on Millie, and our mouths had dropped open. Millie was standing up now, staring at Ravi, red in the face, eyes wide open. We all looked at Millie, Millie looked at us. Then we heard the rustling noise of Mrs Ashworth's skirt, but before Mrs Ashworth could get any closer to our table, Millie had made a run for it, knocking over the class plant and spilling soil all over the floor as she ran towards the door. Poor Millie. What were we to do?? Miss Ashworth lunged over to the door to catch Millie but just as she held the door in her right hand, I darted beneath her arm and into the corridor. I ran as fast as I could, and as far away as possible until I could hardly hear Miss Ashworth shouting "Come back girls, come back!"
I found Millie under the stairs, our favourite hiding place, huddled against the wall. Her back facing me.
"Go away! Just leave me alone!" she said.
"Millie, I had no idea you could shout like that, are you alright?" I asked.
Millie said nothing. I stood there by her side waiting and waiting. I put my arm around her shoulder and kept waiting.
"Can you tell me what the matter is?" I asked her. "If it's a secret and it's hard to get the words out, you can whisper them in my ear. My dad says its easier to tell the truth sometimes if you whisper, however hard it may be." I kept waiting and after a long time Millie cupped her hands to my ear.
Millie told me her parents shout a lot. They shout at eachother but they are very nice to Millie. They love Millie lots and lots. Last week Millie got upset because her mum smashed a big plate on the kitchen floor and her dad ran out the house and he didn't come back until late at night.
I know how she feels. When I was little, before my parents divorced, they used to shout a lot too. I listened very carefully to my best friend Millie, because my mum says that listening is sometimes more important than talking, because that way you always hear what the person has to really say.
Whilst we sat there, hiding from Mrs Ashworth and Ravi, the bell rang for the next lesson. Millie remained quiet but I knew that she felt better having me there with her.
"Look" Millie said all of a sudden. "Your jumper is wriggling!" She started to laugh, and a bright big smile started to spread across her face as two familiar sets of whiskers appeared from my jumper pocket.
"Digby!" I shouted, "I forgot you were here!" He looked up at Millie, sleepy eyed. If he wasn't a mouse I am sure he would have let out one massive yawn.
"Here you go Millie" I said, "take Digby home with you, he's just like you, as quiet as a mouse. You can tell him all your secrets and stroke his back. He's very good at listening, and when you are feeling better, you can bring Digby back."
Millie smiled an even bigger, brighter smile. "Thank you Anna, you are the best friend."