Month: June 2014
It’s been ten years, and I really need to get something off my chest.
I did not, I repeat, did not call Claire “stinky”.
In year two, my class had decided to do dancing instead of normal sport. Everyone was sweating, and sweat obviously smells. My naive eight-year-old self had commented on this: “something stinks”. Maybe Claire was coming up with a conspiracy theory, or maybe she’d simply misheard me. Either way, I know I was wronged. Of course, no one believes an eight-year-old, so I experienced my first lunch-time detention. I was miserable and had spent the whole time freezing in the icy shade of the school buildings, thinking how I’d been wronged.
I want to go back to my primary school. I don’t even know if Mrs White works there anymore—there’s a possibility she may not even be alive. But I have a point to prove; I did not lie. This has been bugging me for ten years—I think I’m really overdue for an apology.
I remember once when I’d just turned eighteen and was struggling for money. You needed a car to where I lived; the distance from A to B was far too great to walk—believe me, I tried. It takes three hours—so a car was necessary. Petrol was therefore a huge strain on my dwindling cash stash. One day I was shocked to find I didn’t have enough money to pay for petrol on either of my cards (one of which was supposed to have my child support money from my father in). I tried again and again to access the money I’d thought I had, but was declined even $5 on either card. I could see the impatience on the teller’s face as I tried to wrangle up some of the money in small change, but I didn’t have enough. I was at the point of trying to get even $2 from either card. I was desperate – this whole fiasco had taken around fifteen minutes. I could hear people tapping their feet in line behind me. I was distraught; It was the first time I couldn’t fend for myself. I felt like everything I’d worked so hard for was worth nothing. I felt like I was nothing. I was angry at my father for once again abandoning me. I was helpless. Tears threatened to choke my eyes; it was real, and it was really happening to me.
It was at this point that a stranger had stepped in. He paid the rest of what I owed and said: “Don’t worry about it, mate. I’ve been in your position.”
I could barely speak to thank him. I rushed to my car and began to bawl my eyes out. I cried for my embarrassment, I cried for my anger and I cried for my sadness. But most of all, I cried for his kindness.
I don’t even remember what he looks like, but I will never forget that day, and I will never forget him. He was there for me just when I’d given up hope. That day, I promised to educate myself and never be unable to pay for myself again. I promised that I would always be a kind and good person; a person who helps others simply because others need to be helped.
It was the day that my faith in humanity was restored. And I could never thank that man enough.