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In Case You Ever Wonder

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The Post-it note was stuck to the mirror when I entered the school bathroom. I didn't think twice about it as I went about my business. Kids wrote stupid stuff all the time in the bathrooms. Bomb threats, love notes, hate letters; you name it, and it's probably scrawled on a bathroom stall somewhere.

The clever author of this Post-it had left it strategically directly in front of the only working sink, right at eye level. Despite my better judgement, I let my eyes travel over the words, letting their meaning sink in.

"In case you ever wonder, someone out there loves you." I was taken aback by the genuine words of kindness, a rarity in the savagery of the high school halls. A small arrow in the right hand corner encouraged me to flip the note, and, with my curiosity sparked, I tugged it from the glass, flipping it over. Another, longer note was written. "If you have ever doubted this statement, take this note and hold onto it until you believe it is true. Then, make your own, and leave it for someone else to find."

At that moment of deep, serious contemplation, the bathroom door slammed open and chatter echoed off the cement walls. Jerking out of my reverie, and slightly embarrassed by my current position, I shoved the small square of paper into the front pocket of my jeans. Ducking my head to avoid eye contact with the intruders, I scurried out of the bathroom, hoping they hadn't noticed me stealing the bathroom art.

Late that night, after returning home from a school function, I was wearily peeling off articles of clothing and replacing them with comfortable pajamas. A yellow piece of paper fluttered out of my jeans. The bathroom note. I had forgotten about it as the day progressed.

I stood there for several moments, and on a whim, quickly scribbled onto a few different Post-it notes, before shoving them in my backpack and heading off to bed.

The next day, I went to the bathroom once every class period, first carefully checking to make sure all the stalls were deserted before leaving a Post-it in various locations.

A week passed, and nothing out of the ordinary occurred. All the Post-its I had put in place had been removed, but by whom I could not say. Discussions at the lunch table remained irrelevant and shallow, and every student was concerned with that week's basketball game.

But then, on a Thursday, I took a trip to a bathroom. And there, on the mirror, were not one, but three different Post-it notes, all different colors, sporting various hand-writing styles. My heart thudded, wondering if my small contribution had made that big of a difference, and leaned in.

"In case you ever wonder, you don't need to starve yourself to be beautiful."

"In case you ever wonder, one boy isn't worth your future."

And as I looked at the third and final Post-it, my heart skipped a beat, recognizing the hand-writing as one of my better friends. Her mom had passed away recently from breast cancer, and I had personally seen each stage of grief take place in her.

"In case you ever wonder, your life is not over. Do not end it before you've even lived."

My mouth went dry, my skin tingled, and tears pricked my eyes. I knew she was sad, but I hadn't quite realized exactly how sad. I couldn't believe she even considered suicide.

I hesitated as I reached for the note, noticing the small arrow in the bottom corner. This did not apply to me, and therefore I did not have a right to it. In my heart, I knew also that I could not mention my discovers my friend. Private thoughts were meant to stay private.

Word spread quickly after that day about the Post-it notes in the girls' bathrooms. Soon, they began popping up in hallways, on lockers, under desks, and so on. The school newspaper did an article on the small movement. But soon, immature ones began appearing besides the serious ones, dropping innuendos and using rude humor. Eventually, the school board banned all forms of Post-its from being hung on school property.

No one ever did discover that I was the one who left the numerous Post-its that day, and I never discovered who had left the Post-it for me to find. I never told my friend I knew of her thoughts of suicide, leaving the issue alone. But, even after the ban, I will occasionally hide a Post-it with a message on it, and occasionally I will stumble across one as well. Just in case you ever wonder.



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