There are moments in life that change who you are…who you’re going to be…who you could be. One of those moments was when I was about ten. There was this girl at school that I had a major crush on (Jenifer Singer)… blonde hair, blue eyes, just gorgeous in every way. I knew I had no chance with her, but that didn’t stop my heart from falling.
This moment was a little moment... but in the eyes of a ten year old it was like a five hour long tear jerker movie.
I saw a kid in my class, James Rogers, starting to talk to her. At first I thought “there is NO way that she could ever like him” But the more I watch them, the more I started to wonder if she would actually fall in love with this guy. And as I watch more, I could feel the crumbling of my heart, slowly and painfully, until it shattered to pieces. The whole bus ride home, ALL I could think about was how much I hated him, how much I wanted to hurt him… even kill him. So I stayed up late, scheming about how I would basically just tell him to leave her alone, and then punch him so hard he would be out cold for two days.
I practice my punching for weeks until I was SURE I couldn’t get any better. I noticed that my parents started to see different changes in my attitude and mind set, but I never thought that they would have any idea of what I was planning on doing. It was all apparent that they knew when my dad walked me to the bus stop, (which he never did) and before he left he told me, “You know son… if I was in your shoes I would probably do the same thing, doesn’t make it right though. And as a parent, I need to tell you not to go down the path your thinking of taking. But I’m not going to force you to do what’s right, you need to make that decision yourself. And I trust you to make the right decision.” Then he left me at the bus stop and went home.
I thought about what he told me for a while, I thought about when he said “the path your thinking of taking”. It didn’t really make much sense to me until the moment… the moment that would change my life forever.
While standing there at the bus stop, I heard some rustling in the ally a few yards away from me. I quickly looked down the street and didn’t see my bus, so I decided to go check out what the noise was. When I got to the ally I slowly leaned over only peaking one eye around the corner, because I was a little scared, and I saw one man beating up another man. As the bigger man was beating the poor man’s face, I could hear him saying, “YOUR NOT MENT FOR HER, AND YOU NEVER WILL BE”. I suddenly realized it was about a girl, and it was for the EXACT same reason I was going to punch James! Now all of my dad’s counsel was starting to click… the “path” that he referred to was basically being like the bigger guy that was attacking the poor man, a BULLY in fact! I realized that if I were to go thru with this, then I would probably do it again… and again... and AGAIN. Who knows what I would become… a criminal, a felon, maybe even a murderer. I couldn’t bear the thought of it! So when I got on the bus I thought long and hard about letting Jenifer go, and how much I needed to change so I can avoid turning the person I almost became.
As a child, it was one of the hardest things I EVER had to do… but it was the right thing to do. When I got home, I came in, and just sat on the couch. My father walked by me, without saying a word, looked at me for a second and walked away with a smile. It was apparent that he knew I did the right thing and that I was happy about it. Before he got too far away I yelled at him “Hey dad!” He turned around and walked back to the living room and sat down and said with soft voice “Yes son. What’s on your mind?” And I proceeded to tell him the whole story of what had happened that day.
After I was done he said to me “Wow, you’ve had a big day huh? I’m so please, though, to have seen that you made the right decision.” He then proceeded to put his arms around me and hold me close and said “Son, what you have just experienced is a moment…” I look at him with a puzzled look and said “Moment? What do you mean?” He said “Well son, my father told me when I was about your age that life is full of moments. Some are great… amazing moments. Others though… well… they are not so much. But each and every one of those moments become a part of who we are as we grow up. Moments have to power to change us COMPLETELY! They have the power of turning us in to great men, or detestible men. But it all depends on how you let them define you.”
“For example son, when you saw that man beating up the other man because of a girl, you could have easily said that since he is doing it then its ok for me to do it too. But you didn’t, you saw how that man look in your eyes and knew that he was a man that you would NEVER want to become. Son, that moment could have very well changed the course of your life.” Those words really hit me hard. The fact that my whole personality could have changed if I just decided to not go towards the sounds I was hearing… it was a very new concept to understand. I looked up at my farther and said “Dad, I think I have a lot to learn…” He then let out a little chuckle and said “Yes son, I’m afraid you do. But don’t let that scare you. I will always be here to help you through what ever moments come your way… good and bad! Don’t forget that!” Then I told him “Thanks dad.” And went to my room to do my homework.
Later on in life, I realized that moments could be good or bad. But the worse ones of all are the ones that are BOTH. The moment with my father was the best moment of my life, because I had never felt so close to my father, and so safe as well. But it was also the worst moment of my life because it was the last conversation I would ever have with him…
© Copyright 2016 Neil Ailey. All rights reserved.
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