Empathy

I stand there alone. No one comes to talk to me, probably because I look different than them. I really don’t know. My toe makes shapes on the ground in front of me. I have done this all my life without even knowing I am doing it. Once I realize it is happening, I focus on it. It becomes my game, my way to distract myself and look busy. Sometimes I write letters and then words. I try to look like I am having fun.

None of the kids really even know my name. I think I am just “that weird kid” to them. They don’t ask about my name or where it comes from. Maybe they don’t care. When one of them looks over at me and then a whole group does too, I quickly look away. I can’t let them get to me. I can’t let them know about the tears stinging the back of my eyes. These tears threaten to drip down and that would make everything worse. I am different enough so I don’t want to be the baby weirdo.

I get back to making shapes with my toes. It’s not the most exciting thing to do, but it passes the time. It keeps me from thinking about life. I wish people knew how much we really have in common. They talk when they think I’m not listening. They talk about Minecraft, which I love to play. They wonder how Harry Potter ends, not knowing I could tell them what happens. They wish their parents didn’t treat them like babies. Me too. I am different on the outside, but I have the same emotions inside. I laugh at the same jokes. I laugh to myself of course since no one hears me.

All of a sudden I see movement next to me. I see a toe that writes an “H.” Next, an “I.” I hear a small voice almost whisper, “hello”. After a moment I realize that voice was mine. I hear it so rarely. When I look up, I see a smile. I can’t help but smile back. They tell me their name and ask if I want to come play.

All I want is a friend. I want someone to give me a chance and get to know me. I want to share secrets and laugh with someone. I want to know someone cares about me. Maybe I have found that person.

If we don’t take the time to get to know someone, we may be missing out on a great friendship. We all have more in common than we know. We all matter.

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