The Lunch Table by Rebecca Barker

Our summer writing contest is in full swing, and we’ve already received some great entries! Now we can’t wait to read yours! Since you might still be working on it, we thought it would be fun to share one of our favorite short stories by a young writer that we love. Rebecca Barker is Dannah Gresh’s 12-year-old niece, and she is so creative! Her short story is one that helped inspire our summer writing contest, so we thought we would share it with you for a little creative boost. This story is a great example of what we are looking for: it’s fun, well-written, and sends a great message. Great work using your talents for God, Rebecca!


The Lunch Table by Rebecca Barker

It was a cool, sunny September day as my best friend Aubrey Lapel and I entered the school lunchroom to the smell of burnt bagels.

“Looks like Alex burnt something again,” Aubrey speculated.

“Did you see Lani today?” I asked her excitedly.

“Cassidy Brown, why do you like her so much?” she replied.

“Here she comes! Here she comes! Let’s go say hi!”

“Go ahead, but I’m staying here,” she said while she mimicked gluing herself to the ground.

Had she not been my best friend I might have considered leaving her. But since she was I decided to stay with her. As I reluctantly stayed in line with Aubrey I looked at Lani Strillinger’s choice of clothing: A pink, mid-calf dress with a big, pink, taffeta bow around her waist. Black leggings completed the outfit.

“Wow!” I thought, “She looks amazing, just like always. I wish I could have that sense of fashion.”

As I ate lunch with Aubrey at our table, I kept sneaking peaks at Lani. All I could think about was how I wished I could sit with her at that table.


Eventually the bell rang, and it was time for chemistry class. Today we were doing an experiment to make fruit explode. It took two people to do one experiment, and I had just happened to sit next to Lani that day. So of course that meant that I asked her to be my partner.

“Sure,” she said with a shrug, “but I get to take notes. This is a new dress and I couldn’t bear to see it ruined with fruit juice.”

She then fingered her dress so softly it was as if she was fingering the air.

After exploding all of the fruits the room was covered with splatters of color and it smelled like someone had put too much perfume on. It was finally time to leave class.

When I reached the door Lani came over to me and said, “By the way I like your dress. Keep up that style and you might be able to sit with me at lunch. We’ll have to vote on it, but come over tomorrow and we’ll see.” Then she skipped away, her pink dress flouncing behind her.

“Wow!” I thought to myself, “Did she really just invite me to sit with her at lunch? Does that mean she likes me?” Suddenly, I looked at the door and realized it was as if the door was a Middle School Yellow Brick road.


When I walked into the lunchroom the next day I headed straight for Lani’s lunch table. I didn’t even glance back at Aubrey to see what she thought because I already knew.

“H-h-h-hi there,” I stammered nervously.

“ Hi back,” Lani stated, “Take a seat. We voted and decided you could join our little club. However, we are going to have to take you to the mall for new clothes.”

The other girls nodded their agreement as Aubrey passed by. Since she was my friend I waved at her.

“Why are you friends with her?” Lani asked, “You’re at our lunch table now.”

“What does that have to do with her being my friend? I’ve known her since I was little!” I exclaimed.

“Everything,” she replied, “Ever heard of lunch table status?”

I shook my head as if to say “no”.

After sighing heavily she explained, “You see, your lunch table shows your social status. She sits at one of the lowest status tables. We sit at the highest status table. Get it?”

I didn’t, but I nodded my head “yes” anyways.

“What does that have to do with us being friends?” I protested.

After she mumbled something under her breath that I couldn’t quite understand, she declared, “It means that you can’t be in-between the two. You have to pick either the high status or the low status.”


After school that day Aubrey and I trudged home together, like always. The once sunny day was now cloudy and dreary, like a blanket had fallen over the town. I thought about my lunch table status and my choice.

“ What should I do?” I silently wondered. The next thing I knew I was listening to Aubrey patiently say, “About what?” I then realized I had said it aloud.

“Look,” I said as I slowed my walking to a stop, “I can’t be friends with you any more.”

Even though I could see tears glistening in her eyes she pretended they weren’t there.

“Why?” she sadly asked.

I thought about everything that had happened during the past two days. Getting invited to Lani’s table, the exploding fruit conversation, and most of all lunch table status.

“ I can’t because…well…ask Lani, but I just can’t.” I stammered.

“Fine!” she coldly answered, “I don’t have to be your friend if you don’t want me to! I should have never become your friend in the first place. Hmp!”

She turned around and stomped off toward her house. Suddenly, for some reason I didn’t feel so great about the whole “status thing” after that. I pushed that thought out of my head as I ran past the road signs reading Oak and Elm and towards home.


“We need to find you a color.” Lani said as she dramatically tossed an abundance of clothing this way and that.

It was after school the next day, and the sun was shining. My mom had told me I could go clothes shopping, but she had to go too. So while we were shopping for clothes my mom was somewhere in Kitchen Utensil land.

“Perfect!” Lani suddenly screamed, making everyone jump, “This teal blue color complements your brown curls, blue eyes, and reddish-pinkish lips perfectly!”

“Uh, thanks?” I replied.

“Go try it on! Go try it on!” she excitedly exclaimed.

The clothes fit perfectly. I will admit that they did look good on me too.

However, after we purchased the clothing and were going to leave that feeling to guilt from yesterday crept in again. Aubrey was walking in the mall and staring right at me.

“Why are you looking at her? You have us now,” Lani said once she saw me staring, “Or are you still wanting to be friends with her?”

Then everything went in slow motion as my mind went crazy. There was an opportunity to become friends with Aubrey again. There was also the opportunity to be popular. As the world returned to normal as slowly as a snail, I realized that Lani was talking to me.

“Hello…earth to Cassidy. Hello…” She sounded annoyed, so I answered.

“What?” I blurted.

“Who do you choose? Us or her?”

I just stared, to my dismay.

“I-I-I can-n-n-n’t d-d-decide” I stuttered.

“Well then,” said Lani in her mean tone, “I’ll decide for you. As long as you want to be friends with her you’re out of the club.”

Then the tears came and to avoid complete humiliation I ran to my car, all the way across the parking lot, my brand new clothes having been dropped before I even started.

A few minutes after I had climbed into my unlocked car my mom climbed in next to me.

            “Hi Hon, “she said as she looked at me. “I saw what happened out there and thought maybe we need to have a little mom-daughter chat.”

“S-s-she drop-p-ed me-me o-out.” I stammered while trying to keep the tears in.

“I know honey, I know,” she said soothingly.

“What-t d-d-do I-I d-do?” I asked her once I could speak again.

“Well, you could apologize to someone who is in the mall right now. It seems to me she has always been your one true friend.”


“Aubrey, Aubrey!” I screamed as I chased after her, earning me a few strange looks from various people.

“What?” she asked, “come with your friends to make fun of me?”

“Look…. I’m…sorry…for…what…I said. It…was…mean and I…never…should…have said…it. So I wanted to invite you…over…for…a sleepover this Friday.” I said out of breath. “Want…to…come?”

“Sure! She said, her face lighting up.

“See…you…then.” I said while giving her an out-of-breath thumbs up.

“Cassi,” she asked nervously, “does this mean we’re friends?”

“You bet!”


The Friday of the sleepover I walked into the lunchroom with confidence and my old-new best friend. When Lani walked in I excused myself to go talk to her.

“Lani,” I said.

“What?” she asked in her mean tone. I don’t know how I stood it before.

“Do you want to come to the computer lab and work on homework with me and Aubrey?” I asked. A look of surprise crossed her face, which she quickly covered.

“No,” she said. “Thanks though.”

As they walked away and I skipped over to Aubrey, I realized that when they talked lunch table status they had it all wrong. After all, your lunch table doesn’t determine who you truly are.

We love that Rebecca is using her creative talent to reveal God’s truths about us. Could your daughter do the same? Share this story with her today and invite HER to write her own short story for a chance to be PUBLISHED on our blog as well as win over $400 in Secret Keeper Girl prizes! It’s a great lesson for her to learn how to wield her creative power for God! Click here for more details on how to enter!



Dannah Gresh’s Secret Keeper Girl Tour is a faith-based mother-daughter connecting experience. This 2 1/2 hour event features two fun fashion shows that demonstrate modesty and true beauty, deep Bible teaching, live worship, and stories that help girls aged 7-12 embrace true beauty and modesty. Incredible balloon sculptures, bouncing beach ball competitions, mother/daughter conversation time & colorful confetti cannons make the night unforgettable. Click the video below for a sneak peak.