I was eleven.
I was living in a small, one-bedroom house with my mom, stepdad, and two little brothers (ages 4 and 2). It was wintertime. My mother rustled me awake; I slept on the couch. It was a schoolday and I had to get ready. We couldn’t afford school lunches; we could barely afford food. I scavanged and hurriedly grabbed some crackers and cheese and shoved some skittles into my lunchbag. There was nothing for me to take to drink that day.
The school day went by slowly. At Tzouanakis, the school day was longer than most (I don’t know why), so we had a snack before lunch. Of course, we had to bring it ourselves. By the time snacktime came, I was starving. I hadn’t eaten breakfast and was fair to starving, but if I ate anything at all from my lunchbag I wouldn’t have anything for lunch.
I did it anyway and regretted it later.
At Tzouanakis, we had assigned tables where to sit; we didn’t get to choose. That day, I went straight to my seat and just sat down. I had brought a notebook with me to draw in since I didn’t have anything left to eat.
My friends that sat around me asked why I wasn’t eating and I told them; I told them that I ate what I brought for lunch that day at snacktime and that my family didn’t have the money to pay for the school lunches.
I never really figured out how they did it or which of the four sitting at the table with me contributed to it, but somehow they managed to gather up enough money so that I could go and buy a school lunch. Never had I been so embarassed, but at the same time, never had I been [and never will I ever be] so grateful.
Over time I may have forgotten the names associated with the faces, but I remember the feelings associated with the act of kindness given. It helped shaped me into who I am.
I will never forget.