When I Stayed Silent...

Based on my true, unfortunate story...

He was never someone that anybody talked to. He was just one of those people whose name you knew, and yet you had no idea what his voice sounded like. He was just a guy who no one ever really noticed while passing through the halls. Sadly, this was what I thought, too.

I never gave him a second glance or took the time to say "hello" to him. I sat by him in second period. We were both shy.

As time went by, I knew that all he needed was a friend, but I could never get my voice to say his name.

I tried so hard. Every day I convinced myself that this would be the day. I would boost up my courage, even though it took none at all, to talk to him: to say "hello" or to ask him if he was having a nice day. And every day, I failed. I could not bring myself to part my lips. I could not even look him in the eyes….

I could tell that he was trying, too. He wanted so badly to talk to me. I could tell by the way his cheeks blushed whenever I laughed at someone else's joke. He wanted to be involved, and I could not find the strength to welcome him in.

One day, we had a group assignment. I so badly wanted to be his partner, but I could not bring up the nerve to ask if he wanted to be mine. Somebody else invited me into their group before I could summon the courage. He was alone.

I felt dreadful for the rest of the day. At any time, I could have said, "Hey! Would you like to come and work with us?"

But I never did. Instead, I just watched him, feeling pity for the both of us.

That day, I vowed to change.

But I didn't.

I felt shyness bind me like ropes. What he did not know was that I needed a friend, too.

We were so much the same, and yet so different.

I dreamt about what I could say to him. It all seemed so easy, but every time words came to my lips, I swallowed them forcefully down. What was the point?

By then, I knew that I had to change, but I always told myself that the next day would be better. I would be more successful then.

One day, I waited for him to come to class. He never did. I felt alone, empty, even though I did not know him. Days passed, and he still never came back to school.

It was no surprise that nobody noticed his absence. Only me.

I waited, even after a week had passed. I began to wonder, and pretend that he was there.

I heard that he was never coming back. Something had happened. An accident.

My classmates were shocked when they heard the news, but they quickly shrugged it off and went back to their lives. I remained shaken. I thought about all of the opportunities that God had given me; to show him that he had had a friend. In me….

I still regret the choices I made, even on this day four years later. Perhaps if I had befriended him, things would have been different, and he would still be here.

I still dream about him at night and cry when I feel ashamed. I know that I cannot turn back time. I know I cannot fix what I messed up.

The only thing I know now is that when opportunity knocks on my door, I will run to open it. There will never be any hesitation.

Becoming a friend to someone who does not seem to have a voice of their own is one little way that we can change the world.