Her Smile Usually Lit the Hallway...

June 8, 2008
By Hannah Mikkalson, Kasson, MN

Her smile usually lit the hallway and today her frown got the same amount of attention. If I could go back in time and fix it, I wouldn’t have been so awful to her, even if she wasn’t the most popular girl in school.

The mistake bludgeoned me almost as much as her, although I was the one who caused all the pain. Even through the bullies she dealt with on a daily basis, I had never seen her frown like that. She was walking down the hall skipping and smiling as usual, when I saw a foot stick out. One of the egotistical jocks had tripped her. Her books flew across the floor like frightened birds. I was a frozen witness and a coward at the same time. I walked passed the scene as a big hole of guilt formed simultaneously inside of me.

I had never hurt or bullied Maggie before, but I also hadn’t given her any attention, just like everyone else. She looked up at me desperately, but something inside of me wouldn’t go beyond my desire for popularity, and I was a strapped down deer on Peer Pressure’s hood. It was as if I was watching myself from someplace else and I couldn’t gain enough strength to pause the clip and change what was before me. We met eyes, and I stopped for a second, searching for that strength I had never found before, but it eluded me again, and I walked on shamefully. I had never felt such cruelty and regret in my entire life.

There were so many things I could have done differently as her eyes glower up at me. She was a helpless animal in the headlights, and I was about to save her from the truck, but didn’t. Now the only way to forgiveness and perhaps even happiness for her, would be to act in the present. Maybe I could find that strength and overcome the need to be liked. Maybe I could take the path I knew was right, even if I didn’t wish to take it. I could help her with her homework, invite her to hang out with me, maybe just say “sorry,” or do the simplest compliment there is- smile. But I know doing this would give those bullies the right to tease me and make fun of me in every way they could. But I was inclined to be the better person; I wanted to change.

Making this choice would be better in many ways. I would have Maggie as a new friend, who would have me as a friend as well. Also for me, I wouldn’t feel so morose for my mistake. The change would be as helpful as winning the lottery, and would take place like this: I would walk up to Maggie with a smile, apologize, and start up a conversation: “So Maggie how’s school going? Do you like it here in Mantorville?” I would ask.
“Well, I just don’t think I really fit in.” She might solemnly reply. Then I would cheer her up and tell her once everyone gets to know her, Friendship will wake from its sleep. I truly do hope Friendship will wake, for a simple smile is all I need so I can know she will be alright.

All of this would end the situation calmly with two happy friends. I would be extremely relieved, for I would have just fixed my mistake. We both would be elated and Maggie would forgive me for my gargantuan mistake. If I set a good example then maybe people would follow in my footsteps and quit teasing others for being different. They would grasp how enlivening it feels to give from yourself to others, and to see a smile they created. They could discover happiness through all senses: hearing laughter, seeing joy, smelling freedom, tasting no regret, and most importantly, feeling as if they accomplished the world and all that comes with it.

Of course, I better not get my hopes so high, for life doesn’t work out that way. I’ll just have to live with regret, while all who are just a little different live in heartache. But why sit back watching suffering? I can’t give up. I will make a difference. I will give out a hand to the helpless, and stand up for the weak. I must treasure every moment; everyone can make a difference.

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This article has 1 comment.

Kovu742 said...
on Aug. 7 2008 at 3:13 am
very inspirational. i loved this story. i could picture everything in my mind. impressive.


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