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I cringed. There was pain. It wasn’t mine but it was there. I didn’t know why, it just was. I didn’t need to know why. I felt it all too clearly. I cringed again. There was sadness. It wasn’t mine but I felt it. I didn’t know why it was there. I cringed. There was confusion. It too was not mine, though I was confused. Someone here felt confused. Why? I didn’t know, probably because our history teacher makes no sense. I felt the pain again. It came stronger this time. No, I thought. The pain was growing. I tried to focus on anything but the pain. I tried to focus on the rain that fell on the window and the wind that rustled the leaves. I tried to focus on my history teacher’s voice. I tried to hear the fall of teenagers’ feet against the ground. I even tried to focus on that one kid’s confusion. None of it worked. I wanted to know who was feeling the pain but I was afraid to track it. I had an idea anyway. I thought it was that kid who I’d seen ditching the last few days after lunch. The pain always got worse when I was near him. I tried to hide but the pain always found me. He always found me. Every day as he left campus he would turn my way and our gaze’s would meet. That was when the pain was the worst and yet every day I found myself meeting his gaze. He knew I could feel his pain. I knew he knew. The pain wasn’t even the worst part. When he looked at me, he was searching. As if he thought I could help him. I didn’t know how. What was I supposed to do? All thoughts stopped at that point. The pain was worse than it had ever been. I doubled over in my seat. A gasp escaped my mouth. I screamed for a few seconds and then started gulping air like I couldn’t breathe. Every ones’ eyes were on me but for once I didn’t care. My only thoughts were of the pain and that boy. He had to be fifteen, two years younger than me. I knew his pain was worse. I screamed again. The there were words, voices.
“Call the ambulance!”
“Where’s the phone?”
“Forget the school line! Take out your cell!”
The voices were still there but they faded away. I thought only of the boy and the pain.
“Who?” A voice asked.
I hadn’t realized I’d been talking but I knew what I’d said. I said help him. He was all I thought about. All I cared about. I didn’t even know him but I cared. When you can feel what the very core, the very soul of another being is feeling you start to care for them. Worry about them even.
“The boy!” I screamed. I fell to the floor absently, writhing in pain.
“The ambulance is on the way!” Someone shouted.
Then there was that calm voice next to my ear. “What boy?”
“The one in pain!” I whimpered.
“Where is he?” The voice asked. Suddenly I felt the boy’s pain and the pure worry of the calm voice next to me. Within his soul he was worried. He was good. The pain took over again.
“I don’t know.” I whispered brokenly. I felt like my life was flickering out.
“I’ll find him.” Then the voice was gone, so was his worry that I’d felt. He’d left. He was looking for the boy.
I knew he was gone but I had to say it. “Thank you.” Then there was nothing. No pain, no worry, no confusion, no soul, not even my own. There was nothing.
I woke to light and sadness. My soul was back and so was that worried man’s, but there was no pain. I opened my eyes and looked up into his. There was that sadness I’d felt.
He didn’t need to say it. I knew. Tears started to streak my face. He started to cry too. He held me in his arms and together we cried. He stood and lifted me with him. I was unstable on my feet but he held me and helped me with his strong hand. We walked out of the room all the while tears streaking our faces’. When we were outside he sat beside me on the sidewalk. I curled into him and cried. In his soul he cared. I felt it and I cried harder.
He didn’t talk but his presence comforted me. He was important. Why? Don’t ask, cause I don’t know.