A Lesson in Compassion

abstract 3
By Steven Hendrix

In my ninth year
my mother asked me
to show compassion

(a word I did not yet know)

for my best friend
by not mentioning
what had happened
when he came back to school

we had read in the local paper the week before
that his sister had driven off a cliff
in the dense Huntington Beach fog and died

she said he would be taking it hard
she said they had been close
she said some people need time
she said some things are better left unsaid

when I saw him I choked on my lack of words
when I saw him I stood like a mosquito imprisoned in amber
when I saw him I stared with the timid gaze of a fawn

he walked over and gave me a hug

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