From Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul II

Making Sarah Cry

He stood among his friends from school,

He joined their childhood games

Laughing as they played kickball

And when they called poor Sarah names.

Sarah was unlike the rest;

She was slow and not as smart,

And it would seem to all his friends

She was born without a heart.

And so he gladly joined their fun

Of making Sarah cry.

But somewhere deep within his heart,

He never knew just why.

For he could hear his mother’s voice,

Her lessons of right and wrong

Playing over and over inside his head

Just like a favorite song.

“Treat others with respect, son,

The way you’d want them treating you.

And remember, when you hurt others,

Someday, someone might hurt you.”

He knew his mother wouldn’t understand

The purpose of their game

Of teasing Sarah, who made them laugh

As her own tears fell like rain.

The funny faces that she made

And the way she’d stomp her feet

Whenever they mocked the way she walked

Or the stutter when she’d speak.

To him she must deserve it

Because she never tried to hide.

And if she truly wanted to be left alone,

Then she should stay inside.

But every day she’d do the same:

She’d come outside to play,

And stand there, tears upon her face,

Too upset to run away.

The game would soon be over

As tears dropped from her eyes,

For the purpose of their fun

Was making Sarah cry.

It was nearly two whole months

He hadn’t seen his friends.

He was certain they all must wonder

What happened and where he’d been

So he felt a little nervous

As he limped his way to class.

He hoped no one would notice,

He prayed no one would ask

About that awful day:

The day his bike met with a car,

Leaving him with a dreadful limp

And a jagged-looking scar.

So he held his breath a little

As he hobbled into the room,

Where inside he saw a “Welcome Back” banner

And lots of red balloons.

He felt a smile cross his face

As his friends all smiled, too

And he couldn’t wait to play outside—

His favorite thing to do.

So the second that he stepped outdoors

And saw his friends all waiting there,

He expected a few pats on the back—

Instead, they all stood back and stared.

He felt his face grow hotter

As he limped to join their side

To play a game of kickball

And of making Sarah cry.

An awkward smile crossed his face

When he heard somebody laugh

And heard the words, “Hey freak,

Where’d you get the ugly mask?”

He turned, expecting Sarah,

But Sarah could not be seen.

It was the scar upon his own face

That caused such words so mean.

He joined in their growing laughter,

Trying hard to not give in

To the awful urge inside to cry

Or the quivering of his chin.

They are only teasing,

He made himself believe.

They are still my friends;

They’d never think of hurting me.

But the cruel remarks continued

About the scar and then his limp.

And he knew if he shed a single tear

They’d label him a wimp.

And so the hurtful words went on,

And in his heart he wondered why.

But he knew without a doubt

The game would never end, until they made him cry.

And just when a tear had formed,

He heard a voice speak out from behind.

“Leave him alone you bullies,

Because he’s a friend of mine.”

He turned to see poor Sarah,

Determination on her face,

Sticking up for one of her own tormentors

And willing to take his place.

And when his friends did just that,

Trying their best to make poor Sarah cry,

This time he didn’t join in,

And at last understood exactly why.

“Treat others with respect, son,

The way you’d want them treating you.

And remember, when you hurt others,

Someday, someone might hurt you.”

It took a lot of courage

But he knew he must be strong,

For at last he saw the difference

Between what’s right and wrong.

And Sarah didn’t seem so weird

Through his understanding eyes.

Now he knew he’d never play again

The game of making Sarah cry.

It took several days of teasing

And razzing from his friends,

But when they saw his strength,

They chose to be like him.

And now out on the playground,

A group of kids meets every day

For a game of kickball and laughter

And teaching their new friend, Sarah, how to play.

Cheryl L. Costello-Forshey

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