A Simple Gesture

Mark was walking home from school
one day. He noticed the boy
ahead of him had tripped and dropped
all of the books he was
carrying, along with two sweaters, a
baseball bat, a glove and a
small tape recorder. Mark knelt down
and helped the boy pick up
the scattered articles. Since they were
going the same way, he
helped to carry part of the burden.
As they walked Mark discovered the
boy’s name was Bill, that he
loved video games, baseball and
history, and that he was having
lots of trouble with his other subjects
and that he had just broken
up with his girlfriend.
They arrived at Bill’s home first and
Mark was invited in for a Coke
and to watch some television. The
afternoon passed pleasantly with
a few laughs and some shared small
talk, then Mark went home.
They continued to see each other
around school, had lunch together
once or twice, then both graduated
from junior high school. They
ended up in the same high school
where they had brief contacts
over the years. Finally the long
awaited senior year came and three
weeks before graduation, Bill asked
Mark if they could talk.
Bill reminded him of the day years ago
when they had first met.
“Did you ever wonder why I was
carrying so many things home
that day?” asked Bill.
Bill continued “You see, I cleaned out
my locker because I didn’t
want to leave a mess for anyone else. I
had stored away some of
my mothers sleeping pills and I was
going home to commit suicide.
But after we spent some time together
talking and laughing, I realized
that if I had killed myself, I would have
missed that time and so many
others that might follow. So you see,
Mark, when you picked up
those books that day, you did a lot
more. You saved my life.”

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