Just A Little Smile

Mark was walking home from school one day when he noticed the
boy ahead of him had tripped and dropped all of the books he was
carrying, along with two sweaters, a baseball bat, a glove and a small
tape recorder. Mark knelt down and helped the boy pick up the
scattered articles. Since they were going the same way, he helped to
carry part of the burden. As they walked Mark discovered the boy’s
name was Bill, that he loved video games, baseball and history, and
that he was having lots of trouble with his other subjects and that he
had just broken up with his girlfriend.
They arrived at Bill’s home first and Mark was invited in for a Coke
and to watch some television. The afternoon passed pleasantly with a
few laughs and some shared small talk, then Mark went home. They
continued to see each other around school, had lunch together once
or twice, and then both graduated from junior high school. They
ended up in the same high school where they had brief contacts over
the years. Finally the long awaited senior year came and three weeks
before graduation, Bill asked Mark if they could talk.
Bill reminded him of the day years ago when they had first met. “Did
you ever wonder why I was carrying so many things home that day?”
asked Bill. “You see, I cleaned out my locker because I didn’t want to
leave a mess for anyone else. I had stored away some of my
mother’s sleeping pills and I was going home to commit suicide. But
after we spent some time together talking and laughing, I realized that
if I had killed myself, I would have missed that time and so many
others that might follow. So you see, Mark, when you picked up those
books that day, you did a lot more. You saved my life.”