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A Simple Act of Kindness

By , Denver, CO
Do you remember me? Or our first conversation? No... you probably don't. You may have absolutely no recollection of that brief moment. How can an experience so minor have any meaning? But that's alright if you cannot remember because I may never forget.

I had just moved to Summerville, South Carolina from Colorado. I was the new girl, the laconic northern freshman. I sat beside you in Biology. Are you starting to remember? I had only been enrolled in school for about a week at that point. With everything and everyone familiar to me, 1500+ miles away, I had grown to become an introvert. I still didn't speak up, participate, anything. I had allowed my once outspoken voice to be silenced. Drowned out in a sea of voices. I was suffocating in an mental encasement of solitude, but no one knew that. Did you see through me?

Walking into class, I was lost in a place of my own, somewhere in my mind. Anywhere but there. As class began, I engrossed myself in the genetics worksheet. Our classmates were loud and causing disruption as our soft-spoken teacher attempted to teach. Falling into out of reality, into a daydream, in an attempt to block out everything around me. Including you.

"Hey." Your voice was gentle and sweet. Looking up, I didn't expect to see you. Standing 5' 7'', over 200lbs, your friendly disposition contradicted your burly appearance. Your greeting snapped me back into reality.

"What's up?" I responded hesitantly. You were dressed in camouflage, reeked of an excessive amount of Axe, and spoke with a stereotypical redneck dialect, just like all the others in the class that had labeled me an outcast. You seemed to be the kind of person I had been trying to avoid.

"So... are you new to Summerville or what?" Were you clueless or just trying to break the ice?"

"Yeah, I've been here about a month, Bud. But only in school for, like, a week."

"Oh... You're too quiet. I would've told you something before but you seemed mad or upset or something."

"Nah." I shook my head looked down. "I'm just quiet." My heart sunk. I didn't even know you and I was already lying to you.

"Oh. Well, I'm J***. What's your name?"

"J****er." I responded meekly.

"Alright." You paused. I expected you to walk away. "So, like, are you smart?"

But you didn't. "I don't know, why?"

"I need help. You should teach me." Sitting up in my chair, I looked up at you. To my surprise, you were smiling.

"Alright." I flipped open to a page in my notebook with neatly organized notes on punnet squares and handed it to you. That's when I saw your eyes rest on my arms. The cold from the AC being cranked up had seeped through my skin, leaving my flesh almost translucent. Leaving even the oldest of my many scars exposed. My heart sank once again. I searched your facial expression for a response. Were you going to turn your back to me like everyone else there had?

"Thanks." For the first time since I moved, I found no sense of disgust or confusion when I waited for your response. Instead I found a look of concern. You looked past my appearance, past my stoic demeanor. You allowed yourself to see through me.

I responded with only a nod, once again looking down. I began trying to make sense of the mindless graffiti etched in my desk.

"I'll see you tomorrow, J*****a." You caught my attention again and I found you standing beside me. smirking,

"J****er," I corrected you, smiling. Something I hadn't genuinely done since I before relocating.You just grinned and nodded at me as you turned to gather your stuff.

You may not have realized it, but that short-lived conversation changed my outlook on my situation dramatically. That simple act of kindness, open-mindedness. You reached out to me when I had no one. That showed me that there is a silver-lining no matter what your situation may be. You changed my life. And I bet you still don't remember me....



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