Yesterday I learned of the passing of a friend from high school. It sent ripples through the classmates I keep up with from back then, because if there was one thing I knew about Scott, it was how kind he was. We sat next to each other a number of times in the early years because of where our names were in the alphabet.
I think it was the 1979-1980 school year, or maybe the 1980-1981 school year. I’m pretty sure it was 8th-grade science. Scott and I sat next to each other at the first table on the right-hand side of the classroom. With science, there were labs to do so we would work together on whatever the assignment was.
I had a rough time in high school. My self-image was pretty bad, to begin with. I looked in the mirror and saw a fat, ugly girl of no redeeming value. (And what I wouldn’t give to be that weight now!) I had friends but felt lonely. My group of friends wasn’t the “cool kids.” We weren’t the athletes, nor the burn-outs, nor were we really nerds, even though we tended to be in the more advanced classes. We just kind of didn’t fit. I watched girls have “boyfriends” and dealt with pressure from a Mom who was a product of the time she was raised in, which put a lot of pressure on me to get a “boyfriend” even though no one was interested in me. I was bullied at times, too. One girl tracked me down years later and apologized. I can forgive now, but it was really hard then.
There I was feeling like the world’s biggest misfit and I sat next to Scott. I can’t remember what conversations we had, but he was always kind to me. At a time when I wanted to fit in but didn’t know how his kindness was important. We had conversations and worked together and were friends. There was one time I remember his girlfriend at the time (they didn’t last as most high school romances don’t) saying something to me about Scott being “hers”. Umm, yeah, why would he be interested in me? It took a few years before I looked back on that and realized that Scott must have talked about me in a way that she felt threatened. It wasn’t that he liked me in a romantic way, but he liked me as a friend. And he was kind.
You don’t always know how the small kindness you bestow on someone affects them. Even all these years later, that’s what I think about when I think of Scott. We became friends on Facebook a year or two ago and wished each other a happy birthday. I contributed to his birthday fundraiser this past year as well and he thanked me. We weren’t close friends, but his kindness to me when I felt like a failure at life is something I will always remember him for.
Rest in peace, Scott. You were one of the good ones.
Categories: Personal Stories