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At times, some of the most wonderful things in our lives happen without even letting us know. ‘Friendship’ is one of the most used words during our lifetimes. But the notion of this word varies from one person to another. To some, it is just a term; to some, it is one of the many relationships; again to some, it is the best thing to have ever happened.

When I sit back today and think about the most beautiful friendship I ever experienced, I wonder how time flies! So many years have gone by; but it just seems like yesterday.

The Graduation Day Speech

I was then a fresher in high school. One day, I found a guy with big glasses walking back home. He was there in my class and I knew him by his face. But I was so shocked to see him carrying all his books home on a Friday! “Gosh! He’s crazy! He’s a geek!” I thought. I was brimming with my weekend plans all filled with fun and friends. I ignored the guy and continued walking. Suddenly a litter of boys, who came running towards him, knocked him and he toppled over his books. His glasses flung to a distance. But these boys ran away; they were just not bothered and didn’t even stop for once. I picked the glasses and went up to the guy to help him get up from the dirt. A tear rolled down his cheek. I yelled, “Those guys are big time jerks. They need to get a life.”

I picked up some of his books while he picked the rest. He smiled at me and said, “Hey! Thanks!” That smile said it all. It had all the gratitude in the world in it. I said, “Hi! I’m Ben.” “I’m Richard”, he said. We began to walk together. I came to know that Rich, that’s what I call him, lived near my place. We continued to walk and talk. He was a cool guy. While back home, I introduced him to my friends. He played football with them.

On Monday morning, I found Rich carrying back that huge stack of books to school; I shared the load and walked together with him. I joked at him saying, “Hey, are you seriously planning to make some great muscles with this huge pile of books regularly?” He laughed.

Gradually I began to like Rich. We used to go to school and come back together. I used to tease him for his big glasses and call him a nerd. We began to share so many things inside the school and outside too. Over the next four years, we became the best of friends. It was time for us to leave the school boundaries and think about higher studies.

Graduation was round the corner and Rich, being the valedictorian of our class had to prepare his Graduation day speech. I always teased him for being a geek; but I was so happy to see him prepare his speech. Then came the Graduation day. It was a big day for us.

Richard looked so handsome. He was the one who had found himself during the years in high school. Girls were mad after him. This again was one of those when I truly felt jealous of him. He was little nervous before he went up the dais. I   gave a pat on his back and said, “Hey, big boy! You’ll do great! I know!“ Rich smiled at me and said, “Thanks!” Once again after many years, I found that sense of immense gratitude in his smile.

Before he started to deliver his speech, he once looked at his parents and then at me. He began by saying, “Graduation is the time to feel great about one’s success and thank all those who have been there to make it through the difficult years. This day is about thanking God, our parents, teachers, siblings, mentor, but mostly our friends. Today that I am here is only because of my best friend Ben. Ben is the best gift I could ever give myself.”

I was stunned. “What is he saying? Crazy boy!” I thought and looked at him with awe. I was then taken aback when he shared the story of the first day we met. Then Richard said something which he had never told me in the last few years. The Friday we met for the first time was going to be the last Friday in his life. The guy had planned to end his life during that weekend. He said that he had cleaned his locker and was getting back his books home so that his mother would not have to do all that once he was dead. Richard looked at me and said “Hey Ben, Thanks!” then he continued, “Thankfully, Ben saved me from doing probably the biggest mistake of my life.”

I was still in shock while I saw his parents looking at me and smiling thankfully. The most popular boy in our class told the huge crowd how I became his hero and his source of a good living.

His friendship is the best thing that could ever have happened to me not because I brought about a drastic change in his life but because he made me realize that even I could make a difference!

Photo credits: fourthandfifteen

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