It was the summer of 2011, and I was at my friend Lily’s house. We were playing with our American Girl dolls—brushing their hair, dressing them up, and pretending they were our babies when Lily’s mom, Penny, came into the room and said in her British accent, “Lily, sweetie, you really need to clean your room! It looks like a volcano of mess exploded in there!” I giggled at the joke, but it really did look like a volcano of clothes. All the clothes, dirty and clean, were in a giant pile in the corner of her room.
“But Mom,” Lily whined, “Grace is here, and we’re playing with our dolls!”
“Lily, you can play later, but clean now.”
“Fine,” Lily said with a sigh.
“Sorry, Grace, but I have to clean.” Lily looked at me with a glum expression. I sat on her bed sadly, but then I had an idea that made my frown turn upside down. “Wait, Lily! I could help you clean so it goes two times faster!”
“Great idea, Grace!”
I do not know why I thought this was such an amazing idea, but I was eight, so everything was amazing back then. Lily and I, bubbling with new energy, started to clean. We found things like clothes, stuffed animals, trash, and other odd objects. After about 15 minutes of cleaning, Lily looked up from picking up what looked like a yellow tank top with flowers and said, “Grace, I’ll be right back.” I nodded, not looking up from my cleaning. She left the room and I heard the door close quietly.
I kept on cleaning, finding a die missing a four. “What?” I asked myself. I put the die on Lily’s desk and went back to cleaning. I kept on cleaning for 10 more minutes, wondering most of the time where Lily was, when I heard the door creak open. I looked up and saw Lily standing in the doorway.
“Where were you?” I asked Lily.
“I’m really sorry, Grace, but my stomach was really hurting.”
“Are you feeling better?”
“Good, now help me clean.”
Lily nodded, looked around, and said, “What is there to clean?” I looked around. All the clothes were in neat piles; there was nothing on the floor, and everything was where it was supposed to be.
“I guess I did do a good job.” I said proudly.
We sat on her bed, just waiting for something, who knows what. Suddenly Penny came in and said, “Great job, Lily!” I waited with a smile on my face, ready to be complimented.
I stretched to hear more, but nothing happened. I looked at Lily with a shocked expression. She took credit for my work! I was enraged. Penny left the room. I was still staring at Lily.
“What?” Lily asked innocently.
“You know what you did,” I stated, acting like this was the biggest deal in the world. Lily gave me her puppy eyes, but they never worked on me.
“Fine,” Lily said.
“Mom!” Lily called, “Can you come here?”
I heard Penny’s footsteps coming down the hall.
“Yes Lily?” Penny asked.
“It wasn’t actually me who cleaned the room—it was Grace. I was in the bathroom.”
“Really, Lily?” Penny asked then looked at me for clarification. I nodded, implying that she was stating the truth.
“Lily, it was right of you to tell the truth, but it was wrong of you to take credit for cleaning the room. By the way, good job, Grace!” I beamed, thankful for finally getting my praise.
“Sorry, Mom and Grace,” Lily said, looking sad.
“It’s okay, Lily . . . now we can play!” That brought a smile to her face in an instant.
“Yay!” We picked up our dolls and started to play. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Penny leave the room with a smile on her face. Lily and I played like there was never a problem at all in her newly cleaned room.