Saturday, December 09, 2006

A little too late (Childhood memory)

I kept looking at my watch, wishing time would go by faster. Why did I ever volunteer to be a crossing guard? I remember sitting down in my 5th grade PE class and raising my hand along with a few others. What was I thinking? Well, whatever I was thinking, there I was in a bright orange vest, holding a bright orange flag. Earlier that day Garrett was challenged to a fight. "After school. In the alley". Garrett asked me to be there to back him up. I told him to try and stall since I had crossing guard duty till 3:30.

My reputation as a fighter was pretty good. At one time I would lose control and beat up anyone who got me mad, but prior to this day I changed my ways and developed talents of a different nature. I could talk myself out of any situation. I was willing to fight if it came down to it, but I could usually end a fight before it even started. Garrett's reputation as a tough guy was better than mine. He'd pick fights and make everyone mad, and there I'd be to back him up every time.

Three thirty finally came and I ran back to the school to put my bright orange vest and bright orange flag back into the closet. Trying to get to the school was like a nightmare. The school was close, but it felt like it was miles away. The harder I ran, the further I had to run. I suddenly felt an even more extreme sense of urgency, so I ran to the alley as fast as my 10-year-old legs could go.

I came up to the alley and heard laughing.

"We kicked his *&@#!!!!!"

"Yeah! Did you see his ear turn blue?"

"I bet I broke his ribs!"

"He was crying like a baby!"

I was furious. After screaming a few select words that I no longer feel comfortable saying, I stared them all down. I walked by Andrew, and then Justin, and then Max, and then I approached Micheal. He was the unofficial leader of this group.

"Wow! Do y'all think you're great? Four against one? Is that the only way you could take him?"

That made him mad. He grabbed a hold of my shirt and pushed me against the fence. Then he got in my face. It was on. I was ready to avenge Garrett. I was ready to take on all four of these punks. I was just waiting for young Micheal Delgado to make his move. Andrew spoke up though. "Hey! Kyle's cool. Let him go." Micheal listened. He let go of my shirt and I walked off until I was out of sight, and then I ran to find Garrett to see how he was. On the way to his house I kept repeating. "I was too late. I was too late. I was too late." Why did I volunteer to be a crossing guard?

His ear was blue. One of them kicked him in the head while he was down. Luckily he wasn't seriously hurt though. I felt guilty for a long time. A very long time. Up until a few years ago I would be angry at myself whenever I thought of it. I wasn't there for Garrett. I swore that I wouldn't let a friend down again.

What if I had the power to go back in time and do it again. Should I do anything differently? What if I skipped my crossing guard duty to help Garrett, but some 1st grader got hit by a car. I had to be where I was. At the age of ten I learned the pain of letting someone down, and almost ten years later I learned how to forgive myself. This experience was a turning point in my life.

1 comment:

Lillian said...

It's interesting how life is like that. We have such painful experiences that we later learn from... and I personally would never take the lesson back. Which means that I've had to learn to love the painful experiences as well and the fact that I'm able to move beyond them with the Savior's help. What I find difficult is inflicting those painful experiences on someone else, even when they really need to learn something.