“Let’s get more sticks!” Callie said to Marco.
Marco looked at the sky. “I have to go home. It’s almost sunset.”
“But we haven’t finished our fort yet!” said Callie.
“Sorry!” Marco called out as he jogged toward the backyard gate. “I have to be home before the Sabbath!”
Callie sighed. There were great things about being Marco’s friend, and there were hard things. Well, mostly just one hard thing. The hard thing was that they didn’t have very much time to play together. Even though they were in the same grade at school, they weren’t in the same class. They didn’t have the same recess. Plus, they both spent the Sabbath with their families. In Marco’s church, the Sabbath was Saturday. It started at sunset on Friday night. For Callie, the Sabbath was Sunday.
And the good things? There were lots of them. One was that Callie never had to worry that Marco would swear, try to get her to do bad things, or watch things that weren’t good. He and his family went to a different church, but they believed a lot of the same things Callie did. Like they believed in keeping the Sabbath day holy, even though they had it on a different day.
Callie set down her armful of sticks and went inside.
“Did Marco go home?” Mom asked.
“Yeah,” Callie said, slumping into a kitchen chair. “We hardly ever get to play.”
“Maybe you two can get together Friday. It’s a school holiday,” said Mom.
“OK,” Callie said, cheering up. She would get everything ready so when Marco came over, they could start working on the fort right away.
During school later that week, Callie’s teacher made an announcement. The whole third grade was going to watch a movie together.
“Yes!” Callie said. She put her lunch box into her backpack and went into the common area between the classrooms.
Everyone found a place to sit on the floor, and the teachers turned off the lights. Callie got excited as the movie began. It was about some boys building a fort in the woods, just like she was building a fort with Marco! If we ever finish it, she thought. She shook her head and focused back on the screen.
But as the movie went on, Callie noticed that some of the words in it weren’t very nice. She started to feel more and more uncomfortable. She didn’t know what to do.
Just then, she felt a tap on her shoulder. It was Marco! He had crawled all the way through the crowd of students to talk to her.
“Callie, I don’t think we should be watching this,” he whispered. “I think we should go ask our teachers if we can read instead.”
Callie breathed a sigh of relief. It felt good to know someone else felt like she did. “Yeah. I don’t like this movie either.”
She and Marco stood up and tiptoed around their classmates until they reached their teachers. Marco went to his teacher, and Callie went to hers. She asked if she could read a book instead of watching the movie, and her teacher said yes.
As Callie went into her classroom to read, she saw Marco doing the same thing. He gave her a thumbs-up and a smile. Callie smiled back. Having a true friend was even better than having a finished fort.