Girl Friends and Sisters
(Grudges, Revenge and Consequences)

Joyce and Grace had been best friends since kindergarten. They took dance and gymnastic lessons together. They played dress up, rode bikes, watched videos, and occasionally slept at each other’s homes. When they got to be teen-agers, they shared secrets, discussed boy friends, went to the malls, and generally just hung out together. On occasion, Joyce’s older sister, Lois, would join them.

Lois was at loose ends because her best friend had recently moved to another state. One time when Joyce was ill, Lois and Grace went shopping without her. Next thing you knew, Lois and Grace started going to movies together. They didn’t think to ask Joyce to go with them. Grace was flattered by the interest of an older girl. She didn’t stop to think about Joyce.

Joyce was hurt and angry, but she said nothing to her sister or to her friend. Every time Lois would mention an outing with Grace to Joyce, Joyce clamed up, stopped talking, wouldn’t say a word. Grace and Lois wondered what was wrong with Joyce. They speculated that she had some illness that was making her act weird, was depressed, was too tied up with her boyfriend, or just plain didn’t want their company anymore.

Meanwhile, Joyce of course was miserable. At first she was feeling hurt and rejected. Later, anger was all she felt. She carried a grudge against her friend and her sister that just wouldn’t let up. Whether she was hurt, lonely, or just plain angry, her grudge was taking over her life. She lost interest in doing things she used to enjoy, her grades went down, her social life was dull and unsatisfying. All she could think about was getting back at Grace and Lois for having betrayed her. She took a perverse pleasure in fantasizing how she would get revenge.

Lois soon tired of hanging out with Grace. She decided that Grace was a bit too young and immature for her. Lois got on with her life and her older, socially more appropriate friends.

Before the Grace and Lois betrayal, Joyce and Lois were the kind of sisters who could trust one another. Now however, Joyce took revenge by "forgetting" to relay phone messages to Lois, hinting to her parents that Lois hadn’t been entirely honest with them, and stealing her completed homework assignments. Their parents couldn’t figure out why Joyce and Lois who used to get along so well were now yelling at each other one minute and shunning each other the next.

When Grace realized she was missing her good friend, Joyce, she invited Joyce to go with her to a movie. Joyce now seeing her chance to get revenge agreed to meet Grace for a Saturday Matinee. She also invited Grace to sleep over at her house afterwards. Delighted to have her friend back, Grace accepted the invitation to sleep over at Joyce’s house enthusiastically. Joyce never intended to meet Grace at the movies or to have her sleep over. In fact she went to a different movie with another friend and wasn’t home to receive Grace’s phone calls.

As bad luck would have it, Joyce got her revenge alright. Grace’s parents, feeling secure that Grace was sleeping at Joyce’s house, took advantage of the opportunity to go on an outing of their own. When Grace got home the house was locked. She didn’t have her key so she spent hours crying in a cold dark garage while waiting for her parents to come home. She vowed to punish Joyce for her nasty stunt.

Things really got out of hand one night when Grace and a group of girlfriends found Joyce walking home from school alone. You guessed it. The group, loyal to Grace, jumped Joyce and beat her up.

Joyce has a scar over her left eye. It reminds her that carrying grudges and seeking revenge can get you in a whole lot of trouble. Although the two girls are in some of the same classes at school, Grace can't bring herself to look Joyce in the eye.

    —M. LaCourt