The Cracker

Back in high school, I was a self proclaimed dating guru.  Not because I was super suave or smooth or anything like that.  I just understood that 99.99 (repeating of course) percent of relationships in high school just don’t last.  Whether it was a friend or an acquaintance, I would tell them “watch, it’s going to be over in like 3 months.”  They would proceed to say that was nonsense and that what they had with that one person was special or different.  This was the tail end of the Myspace era, so relationship statuses weren’t public, things had to be discovered by word of mouth.  Sure enough, 3 months would pass and they would tell me to “shut up” even before I said “hi” to them.  Being right never felt so good.  I obtained this perspective after that one month dating series in Sunday school when we were just sophomores.  I was determined to not be a product of typical high school relationships, so I started reading some books.  Since I had long given up on regular recreational reading during SSR, I started reading a lot of Christian self-help and dating books.  The two most notable were “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” and “Boundaries in Dating”.

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That’s how cool I was.  I had no shame in reading these books in public.  It certainly raised a lot of questions whenever someone walked by and saw what I was reading.  I also read the “Every Man” and “Know What You Believe” series.  So, at least on a theoretical level, I knew what not to do, what to expect and how an amorous man thinks when it comes to women, relationships and purity.

So, I had a friend, let’s call her Cambria (Cambria is a name used to denote a pretty good friend that is female).  Cambria and I had a math class together, where we literally sat next to each other.  The classroom was formatted in such a way that every person had a partner, and desks were just paired off across the room.  And remember, back in high school I hated math and was terrible at it too.  So, during class, we would just pass notes to each other.  We had this weird friendship, where small talk and surface level questions just didn’t exist.  Peel the onion?  No, we just stabbed the onion.  So with all the note passing and deep questions, I learned a lot about her relationship with this guy (we’ll call him Sean).  Though we were pretty good friends and what she had with Sean seemed pretty good, I had to ask her “Cambria, do you really think this will last?”  She gave her reasons and made a defense and I left it at that, since I didn’t want to push too hard.

Months would pass, and we would continue with our back and forth of odd questions on days we didn’t want to pay attention.  One day, she would have one of those packaged Japanese crackers.

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Being a hungry man, I asked her for one.  Without a word, she just tossed the whole package my way.  This was odd, since she would normally make me earn it somehow.  Example: I would let her draw on me.

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I held on to it and asked “everything okay?”  She replied with “I’m just not hungry.”  I played along and put my backpack down to get settled into my seat.  Before I pulled my binder out she leaned in and whispered into my ear “we broke up.”  I turned and looked at her.  My eyes said “I told you so”, but my frown said “I’m sorry”.  I told her “I’ll give this to you (the cracker) when you’re happy again.”  Things were pretty quiet that day in math class.

A week passed and sure enough I made an effort to remember to keep to my word.  “Wow, you actually remembered?” she asked.  I’m sure she enjoyed that cracker.  I don’t know why I did it.  I just always have these impulses to do random acts of advanced kindness.  It may not seem like much, but from that day, I think she recognized me as a pretty cool guy and that not all guys are jerks.  And to this day we remain okay friends, even with college and everything.  For old time’s sake, we’ll randomly message each other as if to continue those days where we passed notes to each other.  I must have done something right.

Kindness pays off.

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