When I was in my early years of elementary, I had a friend named Amy.
We were pretty tight – maybe even best friends (to whatever extent you can be when you’re like, six and you only have like, two friends anyway*) – so I played at her house a lot and vice versa. But there was one day that kind of changed everything for me.
You could say it was a friendship deal breaker, only that wasn’t a trendy phrase when I was in grade one.
Amy and I were playing in her room when she decided to get her adorable little hamster, whose name I forget (and I actually feel bad that I forget his name because he was sooo cute), out of his cage. We played with him for a while, petting him and giving him a few minutes of running time in his hamster ball, but then she said, “Okay, we need to feed him.”
I thought, “Okay, cool, I guess _______ likes snacks. Who doesn’t?” and nodded my head in agreement.
The hamster ate one snack, but then he was done. Good. Satisfied. Belly full.
“Great, he’s happy; let’s move on and keep playing.”
“Why won’t he eat more?” Amy asked me, annoyed.
“He’s full.” I said matter of factly.
“No, I want him to pretend to be my baby and I’m feeding him.” Amy was determined.
“He’s full.” I said again, worried.
Amy proceeded to force feed her hamster at least six more cookies while I looked on in horror. She pressed them into his mouth until he somehow choked them down. I wanted to cry, but I didn’t know what to do. The hamster very clearly did not want to eat. He was so anxious and distressed about what was happening that he pooped all over the floor.
I was horrified. I felt sick. I wanted to go home.
“Stop it, that’s enough.”
“Yeah,” Amy said, irritated, “He pooped all over. So gross.”
She put the hamster back in his cage, her face scrunched into a frown.
I honestly don’t remember playing with Amy after that day. I might have, but I’m fairly certain we grew apart not long after that.
Lesson learned: Good people don’t willingly hurt animals.
P.S. We may have also grown apart after Amy ruined my birthday party by being obnoxious and slamming her disgusting, dirty rubber toy lizard into my birthday cake. She took “Lizzie” everywhere. I don’t even want to think about how contaminated he was.
P.P.S. It may have also been after Amy’s ultra-religious mother told my mom that my brother and I were going to hell because we didn’t have Jesus in our lives.
*Maybe you had a million friends when you were six and I was just unpopular. GOOD FOR YOU.