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The Cover-up

by Nicole Rushlau

If your friends are doing things you know are wrong, better think hard before covering for them.

“Home?” I asked, shocked.
“Yes, you’re going home to think things over,” my principal informed me.
Home? I worried. What did I do to deserve this? Am I being suspended? expelled? How am I going to explain this to my parents?
It had all started a few weeks earlier when my friends Sarah and Mindy decided to bring drugs on campus. They wanted me to cover up for them.
“Hey, Nikki, want to go on a walk with us before dinner?” Sarah and Mindy asked me.
“Sure, where are we going?”
“Just down to the bridge and back.”
“All right, let’s sign out and go,” I agreed.
I discovered that Sarah and Mindy took long walks just so they could smoke one or two cigarettes. Afterward, they sprayed themselves with perfume that we brought along. Then we walked back. Sarah and Mindy thought no one would ever catch them, and I never said anything about it. This went on for weeks—until I snapped.
My parents and I were sitting in the dean’s office. Mom and Dad had come to visit me because they thought there was something going on that seemed to be making me really depressed and causing me not to act like myself.
So I told them. I told them all about the walks down to the bridge. I told them about plans to sneak out of the dorm. And I told them about when Sarah had pushed me to go a couple of times, just because she wanted to talk, even though I didn’t want to listen.
The dean and my parents sat in awe as I  talked. After I told them everything, I knew what I had to do, and they agreed. I had to go to the principal and tell him what was going on.
Lowering the boom
A couple of days went by. I was eating  dinner when the phone in the cafeteria rang. Mrs. Gage, the cook, came up to me and said, “You are to report to the principal’s office right away.” Mrs. Gage told Sarah and Mindy that they were to go, too.
As the three of us were sitting in the principal’s office, a deafening silence made us cringe with fear.
“The three of you are to go back to your rooms, pack a bag, and then I will pick you up to take you home.”
As I left his office, the principal explained that technically I wasn’t being suspended; I was going home to think about what had gone on the past few weeks and to recuperate.
I left his office barely crying. But as I walked to the cafeteria to tell my sister Ashley goodbye, the tears came, flowing like a mighty rushing river. “Ashley,” I told her, “I’m going home, and I’ll be back in a couple days.”
I went back to the dorm and packed. As I got into the van, I knew it would be a long trip home. I put on my headset and pushed the play button. I didn’t look at Sarah or Mindy the whole time, because I was so mad at them.
I turned to God. Why am I going home? I did the right thing, didn’t I?
So many questions ran through my head as we drove down the highway toward Lincoln. We got to the gas station where my parents were to pick me up. There they were at 10:00 p.m. waiting and wondering. In the car during the 45-minute trek to Omaha, we talked about what I learned from what had happened, and what I was going to do when I got back to school.
Wiser now
When I went back to school a couple of days later, I knew that I’d done wrong by covering for my friends. There weren’t supposed to be any drugs on campus, but I didn’t tell anyone because I was afraid. Afraid of what, I don’t really know. Maybe I was scared of Sarah and Mindy.
All I know is, God sent me home to show me that everyone makes mistakes. He also knew that I needed a break from all the drama.
God knows the struggles that we go through, and He’s there for us, always. It’s the best idea to let Him lead.
From the cover-up situation I learned that it does make a difference whom I hang out with; friends influence the way I act. That’s why God says in Proverbs 22:24, 25: “Do not make friends with a hot-tempered man, do not associate with one easily angered, or you may learn his ways and get yourself ensnared.”
Nicole Rushlau, 16, enjoys playing basketball, singing, going horseback riding, swimming, and hanging out with friends.

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