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I Did Something Wrong This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

By , Fort Wayne, IN
It’s hard to confess most times. Everything is so secret; every last thing we do wrong is secreted away in the very corners of our minds. There are some things we hide in our hearts. But today I did something wrong. And this something I cannot hide away in my heart and forget. The image of his face is still right before my eyes; his eyes are burning into me.
They hurt. Because they are hurt. They burn like fire and ice combined, right into my heart, leaving scars that I must find a way to heal or suffer from for weeks to come. I’m sorry. But how do I say it? My pride doesn’t allow for sorry. But I know that I must. It’s either sorry or lose someone who means everything to me. My heart is already burning, so why not my shame too?

The noise screamed through the halls; loud guitars, beating drums, and the throbbing pulse of the bass.

“It’s horrible,” everyone said. They covered their ears with their hands and squint their eyes against the grating sound.

“Quick; you grab my bag, I’ll get the cello, and he’ll get the case.” I stare up at my friend’s face, disoriented amidst all the wrong notes and harsh noises, and nod my head, before pushing my way into the classroom with the two boys.

They go straight for the items they came for, but I stand in the center of the room while they push past, utterly confused in the hell that is the supposed music the three boys are creating. The heat makes my face and ears burn red, brown hair hanging down into my face. I’m stunned by the force of the music that flies at me like a demon screaming in pain.

He looks up and catches my eye and grins. I raise my hand in greeting, more out of a mechanical reaction than anything else, before the two boys, my friends, beckon me from the room and away from my other friend and his glowing eyes.

I could see the pride for just an instant, burning bright and fierce, as his eyes light on me. See what I can do? They say. Look at me! Aren’t you proud of me? I want to show you what I have worked so hard to do. Don’t you like it?

But I turned away, and that, to him, said No.

I was proud. For an instant, I was so proud my heart could burst. He looked so happy that I didn’t have the heart to tear him down from his throne. But they beckoned, and without thinking, I followed.

Walking down the hall with the noise dimmed, I was aware how small my steps were. Small steps but I moved quickly, knowing that he would follow me.

“Walk faster,” I said. “He’ll come after me.”

And he did. Sure enough, the sounds of the drums faded and I heard footsteps coming down the hall. But I didn’t slow my pace. I kept walking.

“Hey!”

Only then did I look around. He was coming toward me, his face now crestfallen. The pride...gone. In its stead is hurt that I inflicted. Why are you walking away from me? His eyes said. Why didn’t you stay and listen to me?

I could hardly look at his face. I felt so ashamed and so sorry. I couldn’t tell him about all the horrible things everyone else had said. I couldn’t tell him about the wave of people I had encountered on my way. I didn’t want to break his heart and tell him that every last person had fled, as it was breaking mine.

I reached out to ruffle his hair. “You’re freaking loud,” I said. “But it sounded great.”

But the boys couldn’t let it be at that. I had heard one of them yell “you stink!” at the tops of his lungs, but the band was too deafened by their own music to hear him.

“You’re never gonna go anywhere playing like that,” they said.

“It’s horrible!” they said.

“It’s great,” I lied.

Pushing our way into the auditorium, another friend spoke up, his face contorted in derision that I knew everyone else felt as keenly as he did, but I couldn’t allow him to speak lest he hurt my friend more than I had already done. I glanced up at him, craning my neck to see his face and warn him to stay silent.

“He’s right behind us!” I wanted to say. But instead I had to warn him more tactfully. “Enough,” I said, whispering his name to remind him to be nice. Please.

That’s what I wanted to say. “Please, be nice. He’s my friend!” I wanted to fold my hands and whisper the prayer to them that they please keep their silence. “Do what is kind,” I wanted to whisper. “Isn’t that the golden rule? Love and be loved!”

But I couldn’t easily do that. I’d walked away. When he finally disappeared back to practice, I could feel my shoulder slump and my eyes burn with tears. Just like my heart when his eyes met mine.

I did something wrong...

And I am so sorry.





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