We were in elementary school, first grade. My friend, Travis (I’ve changed names), was the kid everyone picked on. He was a tall, glasses-wearing, brainy, shy kid. He was also my next door neighbor. There was a tennis court between our houses, and we often did silly things like jump around the court singing commercial jingles. (”They’re putting pink elephants in new Crispy Critters…”) During recess one day, several mischievous boys found a way to use multiple jumping ropes to tie Travis to a tree. He didn’t cry, but his helpless eyes met mine as the recess bell sounded. We were being summoned back to our classroom. I was torn. The rules said I was supposed to go to class–we got in trouble if we didn’t obey the bell. But there was Travis, bound to a tree. Could I leave him? I walked backwards towards the school, then shouted, “I’m sorry. The bell. Sorry.” I faced forward and ran back to class.
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