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One tear. It
was the only tear she had ever seen the quiet boy cry. His
name was Wesley. He seemed a nice enough boy, but
yet a very quiet one. That one tear would haunt Misty
for the rest of her life.
Today had been a really bad day. It was one of those occasions on which she found she had to wear extra make-up to school. Most girls loved to wear make-up, but Misty hated it. Most people would never understand why a teenage girl would hate make-up, but there are a few. Most girls wore make-up because they thought it made them look grown-up or beautiful. Misty wore it to hide the bruises.
On that day so long ago, Misty was wearing more make-up than usual, a lot more, in fact. She was so preoccupied with her own problems that she barely noticed Wesley, the quiet boy, as he arrived to walk at her side and carry her books to school that day. As he usually did, Wesley walked up without saying a word, and he simply reached over, took her schoolbooks and walked by her side. It was their daily routine. She wasn't sure when it began. It seemed like it had always been that way. Little did she know that today would be the last time.
She heard the neighborhood bullies yelling and hollering at Wesley from the direction from which he had come down the street. She couldn't make out their words, but bullies being what they are, she didn't need to hear. They were teasing Wesley again.
When she finally looked over at Wesley and saw the single tear, it hit her like a brick. Wesley was crying because some of the boys were yelling names at him. "What a wimp," they yelled. He didn't have any idea what real pain was. Oh sure, sometimes he came to school with bruises, but what kid wasn't occasionally picked on by bullies. Life sucks and then you die, right?
Suddenly, all the anger that was inside her exploded to the surface. She turned to him and told him he was a crybaby and a wimp. How dare he cry when she herself had to hide her own pain? Misty, the girl who knew what true pain really was, the girl who never cried, told the crybaby to go home and that she never wanted to see him again.
Wesley looked at her and said, "You deserve better."
She screamed back at him, "You're damn right I deserve better friends, ones that don't cry like babies." With that said, she stormed off without a look back.
Twenty years passed and she had never spoken to Wesley again. Something had happened that day that she could not fully explain. It happened when all the pain that she had suffered throughout her whole life had seemed to explode in that one instance.
That one tear haunted her for years. She rationalized it by telling herself that she was truly angry with herself, at her father who beat her, and at a cruel world that ignored the tears a little girl cried on the inside. And yet, a part of her was embarrassed for the way she had acted. She was truly ashamed of treating this kind young boy, who had never done anything but be kind to her, so badly. It was her embarrassment more than anything that kept her from saying a word to him. It was her very own shame that kept her from apologizing to Wesley. She saw Wesley many times over the years. He would smile in her direction and part of her wanted to smile back, but her anger and shame always made her turn away. In all these years, and with all that had happened to her, she had never cried a single tear nor had she ever spoken to Wesley.
When she was sixteen, her father had passed away, and while part of her was relieved that the beatings had finally ended, part of her was sad and confused. Her father was an enigma. She had never really understood him. One minute he would be sitting in his chair quietly, the next minute, he would be screaming at her and calling her stupid. She tried to be a good kid, but somehow always managed to do something wrong to cause him anger. No matter what she did, sooner or later he would start screaming and pull out the belt. He would punish her for being a bad girl. It was really strange, because after he punished her, he would say he was sorry. He would tell her that if only she'd done what he told her, then he would not have been forced to punish her.After this, he would hold her tight and tell her that he loved her. For a few days after those incidents, everything would be good. He would treat her extra special, and for a little while she would be happy and feel that Daddy loved her again.
That never seemed to last long. Sooner or later, Dad would grow quiet and sullen, and his anger would start again. But no matter how bad it got, Misty refused to shed any tears.
When Misty turned eighteen, she met an older man who treated her very nicely, and at first it felt like love, but in time she became afraid of his kindness. Each day Misty worried that his kindness would be replaced with anger, and soon she felt she had to end that relationship.
The following year she met a man who seemed like an angel half the time and the other half seemed like the devil incarnate. He reminded Misty of her father, with his mood swings. One day he would treat her like an angel, but the next day would blame her for everything and anything that happened to him. Having no idea why she did it, she married this man. She lived for the days when he treated her like an angel, and lived in fear of the days when his mood was somber.
Finally the beatings began. Each time they would begin the same way. For a few days things would be calm, then he would grow quiet. Misty would try extra hard to be a good wife, but to no avail, for sooner or later she would make a mistake and provoke his wrath. Afterwards, he would be very sorry and say how much he loved her. He would shower her with love and affection, but stressing the fact that if only she would try a little harder, he would not be forced to beat her.
It seemed that with each year that passed, she had to wear more make-up to cover the bruises. It finally got so bad that she had to run for her life, and then she had to start over again. Misty was afraid of men but even more afraid to be alone. It was as if she could never trust a man after what she had been through.
Twenty-five years after the last time she had spoken to Wesley, she ran into him once again. She had gone into his flower shop, forgetting that one of her friends had mentioned he was the new owner. She had already picked up the flowers and headed for the register when she realized her mistake. There behind the counter, and looking at her with a tear in his eye, stood Wesley.
Misty was totally confused, there were no bullies here, why was he crying now? She began to get angry with him again. She looked at him and said, "I don't understand why you cried then, and why you have a tear in your eye now, it just doesn't make any sense."
Wesley looked at her with a smile slowly creeping onto his face as he said to her, "The tear wasn't for me, the tear was for you."
Misty was shaken by his words and began stammering. "For me, why?" Wesley took her hand into his and the quiet boy who was now a man, looked into her eyes and said, "I love you, I have always loved you." Upon hearing his words, Misty began to cry. For the first time since she was three years old, tears began to well in her eyes. In a voice that was barely a whisper, she heard herself say, "But why were you crying, was it because of the bullies?"
Wesley answered her gently, "I wasn't crying for my pain, I was crying for yours."
When Misty asked how he had known about her pain, Wesley's response was simple, "My mother, she wore a lot of make-up too." Suddenly, Misty understood everything. Wesley's bruises weren't from the bullies, they were a gift from his father. Wesley had not been crying for himself. Because he saw her wearing heavy make-up, he had known what was happening to her. After all these years, she finally realized that his tears had not been for himself, they had been for her. Wesley's final words on that fateful afternoon so many years ago finally came to her. Wesley's last words had been, "You deserve better."
At this point, Misty fell into Wesley's open arms. She cried for what seemed like an eternity, letting all the pain and anger that was inside her flow like a river. Afterwards, Misty thought about all that had happened and looked into Wesley's eyes. She found herself overwhelmed with love for this man who had cared so much for her and said, "Wesley, you were right about something." He gave her a questioning look. Misty continued, "You are right, Wesley, I do deserve something better." Misty and Wesley were married a year later and lived happily ever after.
MORAL OF THE STORY
No matter how bad you feel and no matter what anyone else says, if you have goodness in your heart, you deserve something better.
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