You plan a meeting again. Same place. He agrees for whatever reason. Your guilty conscience is stopping you from judging his decision. You reach the restaurant on time. He is late. You abhor waiting but you have to wait today. After all, you are in the wrong. After making you wait for about half an hour, he finally shows up. You welcome him with a handshake. He seems normal as always. You relax as well. Your fast life has made you forget what relaxation is. Vacation after vacation in calming, soothing environments and you still feel disoriented. It is as if no matter what chair you use to sit, there is a pin that will prick you as soon as you sit. So, you prefer standing, walking, running, anything but sitting still.
Today is different, nevertheless. After seeing him, you feel an eerie sense of calm that you haven’t felt for a very long time. Both of you keep sitting across each other, silent, for a good six hundred seconds. He finally breaks the ice.
“Let me tell you a story. Some twenty years ago, when we used to study in the same school, the same class, an incident happened. There was the school annual function that day. We must’ve been not more that 14 years old at the time. During that function, for the first time in my life, a group of girls sat beside me. I had no idea how to talk to them, or what to say. They were talking among themselves when I mustered up the courage and cracked some stupid joke. It was a silly anecdote of some kind. We were kids, but they laughed at it. I said another thing and they laughed again. It seemed to work. I had never felt this way before. The fact that people, and especially girls were listening to me was enough to make me feel happiest. For the first time in my life, I, the lad who was wearing a dirty shirt and hand knitted old jersey, was actually being interesting to someone.
And then, you entered the scene.”
“What?”, you ask.
“You. You came to us and mocked me for my clothes and the fact that I had a slight lisp. The girls who were laughing because of me, soon started giggling at me. It was horrible. You mocked and they laughed. Soon, the other students joined in as well. I was made into a joke. I couldn’t run and I never cry, so I did the best I could. I stopped talking. I just couldn’t talk anymore.”
“It has been the same ever since then. It might feel like an unimportant thing to you but it is true. It is as real as I am. Childhood is the best time in a person’s life. It is the time where we have the most fun, but we can not generalize every child. Some children are shy. Some are expressive. Childhood is the only time where their personalities develop. Ever since that incident, I constantly have this dream where a group of people is humiliating me. I have lost my confidence. This is my personality now. This is all I can ever be.”
You listen patiently. What is he saying? You have no idea. Did something like that really happen? Even if it did, can a minuscule incident like this shape someone’s entire life? You don’t know what to say anymore. Your mind is blank, so you say whatever comes to your mind first.