the other cheek

I had always made friends easily so when I was nine and started at a new school, I approached a group of girls on the playground with a friendly smile. I was shocked and crushed when one of them turned around and said, “I don’t like you. You can’t play here.” I didn’t understand and went off to stand by the wall alone. Maybe she was having a bad day. So the next day I tried again. “I don’t like you.” she said. This time I was ready. “Why not? You don’t even know me.” She scoffed and said, “I don’t like people who wear red.” Dismayed again, I turned away.

The next day, I wore blue because it was what the girl had been wearing when she commented about not liking red. “I don’t like you. I don’t like people with white shoes.” Again I turned away. The next day I wore my sparkly red shoes. “I don’t like you. I don’t like people with brown hair.” Now I was getting angry. Nothing I did could please this girl. So the next day I didn’t approach their group. I just played on the swings. The following day, I played with a different group of kids. As I made friends with others I forgot about the girl who would never like me.

Until the day I heard a voice behind me saying, “Can I play?” I was shocked to find her standing behind me with a hopeful look on her face. All I could do was smile and say, “Of course.”

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