Don’t Just Reach Out, Reach Back

There is nothing more painful than being alone.

You can be alone even when completely surrounded by others.

Case in point:

The halls were overflowing with the teenage and preteen humanity that is within a mid-valley junior high school. Students on the phone, reading books as they dodge other students, leaning up against lockers or running after departing friends to retrieve their jokingly stolen homework. You’re walking through the halls, head down and long hair draped over your face, hoping to avoid being noticed by anyone and anything. It’s only the second month of school, but you’re already decided that you greatly miss the elementary school that you’d hated and couldn’t wait to get out of. In elementary school the bullies didn’t shove you up against lockers every time you passed them in the halls, which happened something like ten times a day, sometimes more.

You hate it here and the only person that you know is an older sibling who you don’t really spend time with at all and don’t pass in the halls. Your classes are on the opposite sides of the schools, you never pass each other except when getting dropped off or picked up for school.

Today it changes.

Today something different happens.

Today someone, you don’t really know who she is at first, that comes later, she walks by you in the hall and smiles and says hi. You’re not sure why or what to do, so you just walk on.

Every time she sees you she does the same thing.

You start to see her more than you do the bullies and you notice that when they see her interacting with you that they’re less likely to do anything to you, so you start answering back.

You still hide behind your hair, but you don’t walk as quickly through the halls and for the first time, you’re glad that you have classes in these halls because she does too and you might have never met her if not for passing each other something like ten times a day.

Who knows what would have happened otherwise, because bullies are everywhere and in every hall, but how many halls have someone who, without even knowing it, reach out a hand with a smile and mean it.

You don’t know that she needs your returned smiles just as much. You don’t know that she was reaching the end of her own rope when someone suggested that she smile and say hello to someone she didn’t know. That they told her to have faith in another that you don’t even know because she was having trouble finding faith in others at that time. You don’t know that in reaching back to her, you were just as much a hero as she has become to you.

Friendship can begin in the most unlikely ways not only when someone reaches out, but when someone else reaches back.

Together, you can sing a duet of salvation.

This rendition was inspired to be written due to Dungeon Prompt: Redemption Song, but it is inspired by a true story.