What Can Hurt

December 13, 2007
By Emily Roller, Wilmore, KY

When was the last time someone stopped talking as soon as you got into hearing distance? When did someone ignore you even when you knew they could hear you? It’s a simple ignorant look, a little glare, or a stuck-up nose. No one would think these actions hurt when performed, but when you are at the blunt of the look, you know all about the hurt. I believe that actions can be hurtful in dangerous situations.
I had always been afraid of sleepovers. My fear of leaving home was a phobia that took years to get over. I was at a sleepover at my friend, Inez’s, house, one fateful Friday. Her cousin was staying over as well, and we got along pretty well for a few hours. But when the clock struck eight, the night began to unravel. I never had a soft spot for Marta, and when she started speaking dirty words, that spot that might have been, vanished without a trace. I was young, and bad words stuck to me like glue. I was nervous enough that finally I cracked and called my dad. He said if I was uncomfortable, then he would pick me up. Monday came, and with a bit of fear, chipping away at my stone resolve, I went up to Inez and apologized for leaving so suddenly. I explained my feelings, my fears, and expressed that maybe next week we could try again. Of course, the deed was done, and she was still angry at me. She took her cousin’s side, as I knew she would, and promptly stopped speaking to me, until that next week.
But I’m not the only one with good intentions, and I know Inez is not the only one who can hold a grudge. A while later, some friends of mine, Lauren and Kate, were called out of their fourth block, and to the office. I was a little worried when Lauren didn’t show up for most of fifth, but I decided she had probably just gone home. Until she walked into class with red eyes, and a horrid alibi. A mutual friend and I racked her for answers, but she simply stated, “Nothing’s wrong”. I decided to quench my thirsty curiosity on Kate, who would definitely spill. Instead she quoted Lauren, and added an “I’ll tell you later”. But that wasn’t where it ended. Of course I wasn’t allowed in on the secret, but everyone else was. By the end of the week, three freshman and an eighth grader knew, but still not me. I asked them over and over, wondering why they would tell everyone else, but not me. I hurt from rejection, and a nasty feeling of anger rose inside me.
I wasn’t the nosiest girl on earth, but sometimes I did have my moments. This time, we were in the cafeteria, about ready to settle down for a comfortable twenty-five minutes of freedom. I entered the room with a feeling that today I would sit by Kate, and actually talk to someone. Lauren appeared to be frantically whispering to Kate, both overly trapped in her story. I headed over, and to my surprise, Lauren leaned away when she saw me. They started to eat, and the suspicious child in me awoke. I sat next to Jessica instead. At that moment, Lauren leaned back over and began to whisper again. I could almost feel the white fire licking at me, but a small place inside me swallowed the hurt, a large gulp that pushed down the flames.
I believe that actions can hurt. I’ve seen small actions rip up friendships, and felt big ones tear up hearts. “Think before you speak” has its truths, but a new truth needs to be noticed. Actions hurt, and everyone should think about what they are doing, before they do it. It might save you a friend.

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