When I was still a little girl in Grade 1, there was a particular corner of the playground that I used to like spending the long breaktimes. It was a small area next to the outdoor pool, and there was a sequence of several old tires half buried in the ground which children could jump over one by one like a vaulting box.
One day, I was jumping over these tires with one of my classmates. The tires were not very high even for a seven year old, and I had never had issue jumping over them. However, that day, I happened to jump too high on one of them, and fell on the ground face down.
At first, I didn’t know what had happened. When I realized that I had fallen on the ground, I started crying. My friend was equally shocked and didn’t know what to say to me.
Just then, a girl just a few years older than us came running and stood in front of me holding my shoulders and looking into my eyes. She checked if I had injured myself, and when she saw that I wasn’t physically hurt, she patted me and spoke to me in a gentle voice.
“You fell on the ground. You’re surprised, aren’t you? But, it’s okay now. You’re okay.”
Hearing her kind voice, I felt safe as if my mother had been holding me. I looked at the girl, and as she kept talking to me, I calmed down, and my crying also stopped.
Seeing that I was now okay, she smiled at me and walked away with her friend. I couldn’t find the right words to express what I was feeling back then. I just stood there, awestruck by the warmth this girl left me with.
The way this older girl made me feel safe and cared for that day has stayed in my heart.