i knew those boys were trouble from the beginning. they reeked of teenage arrogance and an insecurity that can only be soothed by cutting other people down. though they were probably half my age, i knew them. i knew that they talked too loudly in hopes others would hear and presume them to be part of the “in” crowd. i knew they spoke of things they didn’t yet understand, but that they did so for the shock value, to appear older and more confident than they really were.
still, when i heard their insults, the way they made fun of your hair and your outfit, the extra weight you carried around your midsection, i couldn’t believe it. for them to be so unkind, so heartless, when you sat merely a few feet away, seemed unfathomable. didn’t they know you could hear them? but then i realized–of course they did. and that’s why they were doing it. they wanted to see the pained look on your face. they wanted you to hear the full force of their cruelty. they wanted to hurt you.
and the moment i looked at you, i could see they had succeeded. i could see it in the way you sharply drew in your breath, the way you hung your head, the way your hand shook as it held your coffee cup. i saw it in the way you stumbled a bit as you rushed to your feet and hurried out the door. in the matter of only seconds, i saw how their hateful words wounded the very deepest part of you. and sweet girl, my heart broke with yours in that moment.
i remember that feeling, the feeling of being judged and taunted, of being rejected by the very ones you yearned to accept you. i remember feeling awkward about the frizzy hair, the glasses, or the fact that your parents didn’t make enough money to buy you all the cool clothes. i remember feeling like you don’t fit it, no matter where you go. i remember how painful that is for your tenderly-teenage heart to feel.
[Photo by trisharolfe on Flickr]
but lovely, it’s a lie. and had you stayed for a moment more, i would have swept you up into my arms and told you the truth. i would have told you that those boys’ opinions are not the ones that matter. i would have told you what a great smile you have, and how i liked your necklace, and that your eyes are the most beautiful shade of blue. i would have apologized for how unkind life can be and people can be, and how it sometimes seems so very unfair. i would have promised you that brighter days would come; i would have told you to hold your head high.
i didn’t get to say any of those things, though. your heartache and shame forced you to flee before i could ever get the chance. but i want you to know that i fought for you, dear girl. i defended your worth and your beauty to those malicious boys who seemed intent on ripping those things to shreds.
and if there’s one thing i could say to you now, it’s that you deserve to have people in your life who will build you up and not tear you down. it is my sincere hope and prayer that those who love will speak words of healing over you to soothe the words of hate that were spoken about you.
and if you ever come back to the starbucks, i’d love to sit down + buy you a cup of coffee. i’ll keep my fingers crossed for that day.