For a friend

May 14th, 2007 | By | Category: Personal Columns

When I was ten years old, a girl called Sarah, whom I thought to be the most beautiful in the world, was having a birthday party. This was to be a day of great excitement, for it was to be the best party ever.

On the day on which the invitations were handed out, I was absent from school with one of my recurring bouts of asthma. “Never mind”, I thought, “my invitation will be waiting for me”.

As the day drew close, I grew more anxious. Our two teacher school had forty pupils. There were twenty in the classroom in which I sat, and everyone else had been invited. It wasn’t discussion of the party that worried me, it was the point when all the others went to the party that I was dreading. Sarah lived in a stone cottage directly opposite the gate of our village school. It would be impossible for the others not to notice that I was the only person not going.

At 3.45 on the appointed day, Miss Rabbage let us go from the class. With a heavy heart, I walked out through the door and across the playground to the school gate. Everyone else merrily crossed the road to Sarah’s house; a solitary, lonely, bitterly sad figure, I turned right and walked home to our council house – the loneliest ten year old in the entire world.

I used to tell the story as an illustration of what the Church made people feel like sometimes. I never thought that there would ever be need again to tell the story simply as a story of what it feels like to be a little boy who gets left out; to be the only person in the class who is not wanted at the party.

But recently I heard a story of a friend whom I have known for most of his life who gets left out the way I got left out. So the story is here for him.

Life is crap sometimes and people are poxy and everything seems dark and miserable, but it will turn out OK. If they don’t invite you to their party, that’s their problem. You don’t need them; you don’t need shallow people, and boasting people and their sad friends. They will end up miserable because all they have is what you see.

It will all be OK. It will. I know because I have been there.

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