500 Word Short Story
When Alex walked into the restroom he saw Boomer with Jared pinned up against the wall. He was tormenting the kid. Alex got after him.
“Boomer, get your hands off him. That kid's never hurt you.”
“Mind your own business, Alex. This retard shouldn't be in this school or my graduating class,” replied Boomer.
“Just because he isn't as smart as most kids doesn't mean he shouldn't be here, or graduate. So like I said, get your hands off him.”
Alex took a step toward Boomer and he backed off with a warning to Jared. “You're on my shit-kickin' list, retard.” then left the restroom.
“You touch him and you're on mine,” Alex warned Boomer as he went through the door.
“You OK, Jared?”
“I'm fine, thank you,” replied Jared.
“Jared, do you have any friends?”
“Not at school. I'm the 'retard' and no one wants to hang with me.” Jared started to leave.
Alex stopped him. “Listen Jared. You're no retard and you do have a friend here. I'm it. You can hang with me all you want. Any time I hear that someone's giving you a bad time, I'll stop them. This bullying is going to end, starting today.”
“I'd like that,” replied Jared. Thank you.” They both left for class.
Over the next few months Alex and Jared hung out together. Alex let it be known that the bullying Jared days were over. He had to get “up close and personal” with a couple of his classmates, but once word got around that there would be dire consequences if you messed with Jared, the bullying stopped.
Alex and a couple of his friends would even be Jared's escorts at school sporting events. Without the added pressure of being picked on, Jared's grades improved enough to graduate. Alex knew Jared wouldn't find a walking partner, so he offered to walk with him.
After graduation, Jared told Alex that he was moving out of state with his parents. He was pretty upset about it. Alex did what he could to calm him down.
“Listen, Jared. You and I are friends, right? And friends are always there for each other, right? I'm here for you any time you need someone to talk to. Any time you need a friend to listen to your problems, I'm here. Don't ever forget that. Now wipe those tears off your face.”
Jared took a piece of paper, wrote on it and then handed it to Jared. “Here's my email address and my phone number. I mean it, Jared. Any time you need a friend, remember, I'm only an email or a phone call away. I also want to know when you get a girlfriend.”
Jared smiled at the prospect.
Over the years they kept in touch, and as promised, Jared let Alex know when he found the woman of his dreams.
They were reunited at Jared's wedding when Alex was his best man.
© Copyright 2019 by Scott A. Gese All Rights Reserved.