If I Follow
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If I Follow

Chapter Two: One Friend

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If I Follow
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"A fundamental element of living is accepting," Mr. Balmsley had me completely enveloped in his every word as he paced across my 2nd period theatre class. "Are you accepting the people that walk into your life? Are you accepting your differences? Celebrating them?" Some snickers coming from behind and to the right of me became too distracting to overlook. Anger like a swelling heat rose up from my chest and into my face. How could anyone not pay attention to this teacher explain the very essence of life? Did they not want to know what our assignment was going to be? I was so excited, how could they not be? 10...9...8... I counted down as my father always ..7 taught me. He was very emotional as a child and it got him ..6 into a lot of trouble 5...4... He always ..3 wanted better for ..2 me. ...1. I silently breathed for a few more moments and my heart slowed to a steady beat; I could no longer hear pounding deep in my ear canal.

As I opened my eyes, I saw a dark haired boy looking in my direction. I felt my cheeks stretch into a bright smile and he immediately turned his brilliantly green eyes toward the front of the room.

I had an uneasy feeling about this boy and I wasn't sure why. Maybe it was nothing. Or at least I hoped it was...

At lunch I was still friendless. This was both surprising and expected. I supposed I wasn't off to a great start but I was ever hopeful. My stomach dropped as I realized that every table was taken by some group or another. The only open seats were near a rather dark looking fellow. Everyone seemed to be avoiding him but I was not that type. I walked up to the table.

"May I?" I gestured to the concrete seat.

"Uh... who are you..?" The boy asked.

"Johnathan. I'm new here and noticed this seat was unoccupied and wondered if I could join you?" Suddenly, a crack appeared in his hard exterior, a small one but a crack, nonetheless. I felt my spirits heighten a bit. Maybe this day wouldn't be a complete waste. One friend is all I need to make this day an accomplishment.

"Okay, whatever." He was slowly hardening, I couldn't let that happen. I sat down, the hard seat was warm from the sun. I placed my homemade lunch on the rough concrete slab in front of me.

"And your name?" I pulled out a container with lasagna in it. And was ready to dig in.

"Frank." It was a short, clipped statement. Yet I took no offense. I was happy. My whole body was warm with delight. Today had been a success. Because, even though Frank and I ate in silence, I knew I had made a friend.

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