this article on the New York Times website brought back a lot of memories for me.
Growing up with many ailments due to Marfan Syndrome I had to wear braces for my scoliosis and very thick glasses for my superior lens subloxation. Life was not easy at all as I became known in school as the weirdo kid with the funny eyes and fat body trapped in "armor" (Milwauke braces).
Yet when I reflect on things now and try to recall those memories that really stood out in my deep, dark, and challenging childhood I realize that it's not the kids who made fun at me that really mattered. I survived their jeers, taunts, and bullying because no matter how hard and bad it got sometimes I came across people who did an act of kindness towards me and these little gestures were enough to sustain me through it all.
I remember this boy who was the same age as me but in a different class who often come up to me during morning recess to just talk. Hardly anybody talked to me back then. I could not even remember what it was that we talked about really but the memory of him just talking to me in our little breaks was good. At the back of my head I was always thinking why is this person talking to me? Isn't he afraid his friends will think he's weird? What does he want? And yet, this person often came to just chat up for a few minutes and after the bell rings to signify the end of recess I always walk back to my classroom feeling so much better. Back then I couldn't understand it. It just felt good and that was enough to change my day for the better. He was my friend yet we didn't exchange names.
Then there was also this classmate who used to tease me a lot. He was very unkind. I must have told my mom about it one time because all I could clearly remember now was that my mom went to school and waited for the boy's father. She talked to the father and after that incident, the boy who used to tease me started being nice. He stopped teasing me and there were even times when he would go to our school library to fetch me and help carry my school bag whenever I was late in meeting my mom during dismissal. (I used to attend a private school run by Catholic nuns and kids were not allowed to leave the campus without their guardians fetching them.)
I just never had the time to thank these people though. I even forgot their names now but the act of kindness they have shown me especially during trying times has remained in me all these years.