We might not see it, but stories make up a huge part of our lifestyles. We might tell stories to kids to let their imaginations run wild or to describe one of our favorite memories to our friends. Storytelling has become a way for us to express ourselves and others, even if we create the stories ourselves.
A while back, I was speaking with a family friend of mine, and he told me this story about how he and a friend of his "reunited." He was super excited and so passionate with the story that he gave so much detail about the event. At that moment, I wanted people to know about this story that showed how friendship really does exist in everyone. So, I sat down and wrote the short story that is included in this article.
I just so happened to find this story again while searching through old files on my computer. When I found this, I knew that I had to share my friend’s story. I hope my friend’s story will inspire you and others to remember that friendships can come in different forms and from people you may not expect.
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I had been looking forward to doing this for such a long time. I mean, it’s not a big deal for every one us, but to me, I couldn’t have been more excited. I had known about this day for exactly one month, 14 days, 6 hours, and 24 seconds, and the time had finally come for that day to arrive. I didn’t want anything to damper my spirit because I had to remain focused so that I wouldn’t fall behind like the others.
Driving up to my school might have made me a bit anxious, considering it was pouring rain, the roads were a bit slick, and it was difficult to see out the window at times. As I safely turned into the school, I glanced to my right to make sure my passenger was alright. It was. All the pieces had remained attached to the board, and it had kept its shape the entire drive through the rain. Getting it out of my car was a bit of an issue. I did not have an umbrella, only my coat, and I needed to protect it somehow.
I got looks from my fellow peers as I squeaked through the halls. People could follow my footsteps as they left behind enormous puddles, but at this point, it didn’t matter what they thought. My project was safe, and I could finally relax as I completed my daily checklist.
Wake up and eat a nice breakfast. Check. Take a warm shower. Check. Make sure everything is perfect for my project. Check. Drive to school. Check. Get my project inside in one piece. Check.
I sighed as yanked my locker open and gently placed my project inside. I smiled as I knew my hard work would finally pay off. I had been working on this project ever since it was assigned in my class. With the end of the sophomore year coming, Mrs. Bradley wanted my class to present a final project. We had to choose our topic out of a hat. It was an old-fashioned method, but it was the fairest and most effective. I had gotten animal cells, which were my favorite when we learned about them last year. I knew I had this in the bag once I went home and started researching.
I continued to hear the rain tap on the window as I glanced to see some of my peers pass by with their projects. Some were decent, and some were just atrocious. I could hear one of them say that he made it back in grade school, so it was a cheap way out and the teacher would never find out.
Oh, believe me, she’ll find out. I could see in bold letters on the back of the miniature Sun: “Bill’s 3rd grade Solar System.” Nice going, Bill.
But, I just kept my smile and went back to my locker to grab my essentials for class. The time was 7:25. Morning bell was going to ring in 10 minutes, and I needed to get my project to Mrs. Bradley’s room and then be ready in my homeroom by the end of those minutes. I wasn’t worried. Not at all.
Fridays were usually the day that I looked forward to, but not that day. It was the day of Mrs. Bradley’s Yearly Final Project. I knew about this when I was a freshman. Three years later, and I still did not understand the big hype. Decorating the school halls with ridiculous signs that say “Science is Fun” or some other childlike saying. It’s exhausting. I’ll admit seeing my classmates’ projects interested me. It was intriguing to see what everyone had created. That solar system project that Bill made was not the best one I saw, but not everyone can be creative, I guess.
As I opened my locker, I happened to see Michael out of the corner of my eye. His locker was a bit far from mine, but we saw each other every morning. It’s a shame though because we don’t talk much like we used to. We were such great friends in grade school. We would hang out all the time, and it seemed impossible for us to be separated. All of that changed when high school hit. I joined the football team, and he just kind of sank into the background.
Michael had such a big personality when we were younger, then he got quiet. All he would do was smile, and that’s that. I heard the only time he would talk would be in class. It was like he was in a place that he could be himself. I wanted to try and rekindle our friendship, but it would ruin my place on the team if I became friends with Michael again.
As I grabbed my notebook and folder from the top of my locker, I heard a loud bang. It startled me and few other students as I looked to my left to see Michael, timidly holding his project, surrounded by some of my teammates. I walked over to the group to see what the hell was going on. I joined into the clump to hear what everyone was saying. Michael wasn’t saying anything. I could see his drenched clothes were dripping, and the project was completely dry. Knowing Michael, he wanted to keep his project safe so that it wouldn’t hurt his grade. Typical Mikey.
I didn’t have much time to reflect anymore as I saw one of my teammates slam his hand into Michael’s project. This caught Michael off guard, and I watched as the project tumbled to the wet floor and shattered into pieces. Michael went to quickly pick it up, but my teammates started to slam their feet onto the remaining pieces.
I don’t why I didn’t stop them. I wanted to, but my mind was telling me to stay back and watch. However, my heart was telling me something else.
As my teammates howled with laughter, I noticed that Michael was gone. I searched down the hallway and saw nothing. All I could see was a trail of tiny puddles.
All my hard work, ruined in a matter of seconds. Those football assholes didn’t understand anything. All they knew was how to throw a ball, flirt with the cheerleaders, and then make out with them after a game. They knew nothing about common courtesy or just being a decent human being. I didn’t know what I was going to tell Mrs. Bradley. If I didn’t tell her, I would certainly fail the project and then possibly not pass the class, and if I told her the truth, those football players were going to break a few of my bones.
I couldn’t do anything but cry. Cry and let my tears become a part of the rain. I had forgotten my coat in the school, but I didn’t care anymore. I could see my clothes get heavier as they continued to soak in the thousands of raindrops falling from the sky. I couldn’t go back inside, not after that fiasco. It would be an embarrassment to show my face to my peers as I picked up the broken pieces of my project. It was hopeless.
It was one of those days. The worst day you could imagine.
I suddenly felt only the tears on my face. No rain. No wind. I glanced up to see only black. It was an umbrella, and I noticed a hand, too. I followed it, and it led back to Donovan’s hand. I was shocked to see him out here and not with his buddies. We had not talked in such a long time. I can’t remember how long it had been since we even said "hi" to each other.
He was smiling, and I didn’t know why. He grabbed my hand and put the umbrella into my grasp. He continued to smile as he told me, “Don’t worry. I took care of it.”
At first, I was confused, but I heard the distant creak of a door opening and saw Mrs. Bradley and the principal rushing up to me. Donovan stepped back as they went to each of my sides. The principal said that Donovan told him everything that happened. I was shocked to hear this. Donovan, of all people, ratted his buddies out. It made me feel a bit good inside. The principal and Mrs.Bradley were still talking to me, but I could only look at Donovan. He was still smiling with his hands in his jacket and looking at the ground.
What I did next I didn’t regret. I dropped the umbrella and ran to Donovan and hugged him. I didn’t know what else to do. A simple thank you and a handshake was not enough for me. I wanted him to know that I greatly appreciated what he did for me. And I think he did. I felt his arm go around me and he patted my back.
I could feel Donovan smile. “You’re welcome, bud.”
* * *
As I am writing this article, my friend, Michael, is still good friends with Donovan. They had just taken a trip together and both seemed to have a great time (I saw the photos...I follow them both on Facebook). I hope my friends' story might be an inspiration to you and others, because it definitely was for me.