When I was little, in elementary school, my best friend and I opened a bag of candy in a grocery store and began eating right in the middle of the aisle. Soon, a worker came to us and asked where the parent was. A metallic taste of embarrassment coated my tongue and prevented me from speaking. We went to the store with my friend’s father, who was around somewhere.
Somehow, we were led to her father, and he was told how we were caught shoplifting. I remember wondering what kind of trouble she had gotten me in. Unfortunately, given circumstances of my youth and being the youngest of six kids, I never felt I had the ability to disagree with someone else’s ideas, and eating the candy had been my friend’s idea.
An intuitive child, I got the feeling that her father understood the roles between us and had even gotten a reserved chuckle out of the whole situation. The store worker explained to my friend and me about the viewer windows and cameras used to look out for shoplifters. He said that he would let us go this time, and we left to go back to my friend’s home, she with an indignant anger that lasted through the night, and me with a timid and ashamed air of, Let’s see what’ll happen.
What did happen was a shift in our relationship. I felt a saving grace of protection from getting into trouble because I was the guest who had never considered stealing before. My friend’s father was gracious to the both of us, however, and I don’t remember that she was punished at all after receiving another lecture when we returned to their house. Nonetheless, she held on to her angry façade in a character-changing decision to save face by not admitting any wrongdoing.
We slowly began to drift apart after that incident. She had a different group of friends that I didn’t feel secure enough to join, and I noticed more and more how different we were becoming from each other. Although friends and in the same class since preschool, by the fourth grade, we rarely spoke to one another.
Someday I would like to try and find her. I’d heard that she entered a tough spot after high school, while my rebellious years began at the beginning of high school. By the eleventh grade, I was back on track. It would be good to know how she got back on track, whether saving face is still important to her, or whether she has learned about the wonderful gift of saving grace, something that we all need from time to time.
Please check out these other A to Z Challenge blogs:
Live the Moment
Loca for Language
T and A Travel Almanac