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Saving friend's life worth betraying her secrets

Nov. 9, 2006

By CAT SMITH

When I was a little kid, being a tattletale was the worst thing imaginable.

It meant you were weak, not to be trusted and worst of all, a sissy.

One day, my sister and I were playing a game where we pushed a swing back and forth between us and tried to make the other person miss it.

While we were playing, she did something to make me furious and to pay her back so I pushed the swing as hard as I could straight at her.

The swing whizzed at her faster than she expected and missed her outstretched hands, smacking her in the face.

She fell to the ground and looked up at me with big blue eyes full of tears and blood running from her lip, then held out a large chunk of her front tooth.

Needless to say, I freaked out. I knew I was in for punishments I had never dreamed of if she told our mom it was my fault.

I made the decision to threaten my sister with the label of forever being known as a tattletale in order to stay out of trouble.

I should have known that tactic wouldn't work forever.

When I was a senior in high school, I had to make one of the hardest decisions of my life. One of my good friends came to me and confessed that she was going to commit suicide.

I knew she had been going through a hard time, but I had no idea that she felt there was no other way out of her problems than to take her life.

It may seem like an easy, obvious decision, but it quickly became more complex with each passing day.

She told me about her plans in confidence, and if I told, I knew I would lose her trust and be labeled that dirty word: tattletale.

I agonized over what to do about the information she gave me. I wanted to tell someone, but didn't know if it was the right thing to do.

If it was just an attention mechanism, I didn't want to look like idiot for reporting such a serious matter.

In the end, I tattled.

I knew that she would be mad, and that I risked being labeled a big mouth for the rest of high school, but I told our school guidance counselor.

If she had ended up going through with it, I knew I could never live with myself.

I'd always know deep down that I could have prevented the death of a friend and I didn't want to live the rest of my life with that at the back of my mind.

The story does have a happy ending.

I ran into my friend three years later.

She took me aside and told me I saved her life.

After her family got the call about her suicide plan, she was mad at me, but it allowed her to open up about her problems.

Although I never would have thought it, tattling turned out to be the best decision of my life.

Even if you are scared about what people will think or if a friend will hate you, sometimes you have to tell on someone in order to save them.

Cat Smith is a senior journalism major from Blossom.