Mark was walking home from school one day when he noticed
the boy ahead of him had tripped and dropped all of the
books he was carrying along with two sweaters, a baseball
bat, a glove, and a small tape recorder. Mark knelt down and
helped the boy pick up the scattered articles. Since they
were going the same way, he helped to carry the burden.
As they walked Mark discovered the boy's name was Bill, that
he loved video games, baseball, and history, that he was
having a lot of trouble with his other subjects and that he
had just broken up with his girlfriend. They arrived at
Bill's home first and Mark was invited in for a Coke and to
watch some t.v. The afternoon passed pleasantly with a few
laughs and some shared small talk, then Mark went home.
They continued to see each other around school, had lunch
together once or twice. They ended up at the same High
school where they had brief contacts over the years. Finally
the long awaited senior year came, and three weeks before
graduation, Bill asked Mark if they could talk. Bill
reminded him of the day years ago when they had first met.
"Do you ever wonder why I was carrying so many things from
school that day?" asked Bill. "You see, I cleaned out my
locker because I didn't want to leave a mess for anyone
else. I had stored away some of my mother's pills and I was
going home to commit suicide. But after we spent some time
together I realized that if I had, I would have missed that
time and so many others that might follow. So you see, Mark,
when you picked up my books for me that day, you did a lot
more. You saved my life."