I often have lunch by myself, beside the third grade students. During lunchtime yesterday, I was sitting staring into space, with lots of voices behind me, when a young third grader came to sit on the bench perpendicular to mine. She seemed worried with her palm cupped around her chin, I knew there was something wrong.
I waited a little while and decided to invite her to join me. I did not even finish the sentence when she hopped onto the bench opposite mine.
“Hi, why are you sitting by yourself?” I asked.
“My best friend S said she is not my friend anymore,” she explained, pursing her lips, slightly.
I looked sympathetic, wanting to console her and ask what happened, but she stepped in and said,
“It’s okay, I can deal with it,” with matching gestures.
I found it so funny but had to put on a caring face. She seemed like a little adult, still with the forlorn face, I decided to change the topic. I asked if she had any siblings, that got us talking for a while. She had perked up and chatted a lot about her sister, describing her perfectly whilst expecting me to know exactly what she looked like. The interesting part was when she described what her sister was wearing,
“…and she has turquoise sneakers on.”
I thought that was interesting, and felt sad telling her I did not know who her sister is. Insisting I should know her she continued,
“and she wears her hair like this.”
Unravelling the pom-pom like bun that had been planted on her head and brushing her hair down with her palm, then holding on till she was able to tie it into a bun that resembles her sister’s. It was not over till she scraped the front part of her hair flat, part of it covering her forehead and said,
“Now I look exactly like her.”
“Can you remember her?”
I felt really sorry I had to say no, so I said,
“Maybe one day we can go and find her, together.”
Soon after that clear description, S run and shouted to my new friend,
“Should we go and play now?’
Just as my friend had jumped onto the bench when I invited her to sit with me earlier, she hopped off shouting,
I could see the joy in their movement as they both held onto their sandwich boxes leaping forward to put them down in order to savor the rest of the playtime before going back to class. A renewed friendship had just been born.