It was when I was in grade 5. One afternoon, my class was discussing the plan for the upcoming end-of-the-term party. We listed all the games we wanted to play, decided who would facilitate the party, and the order in which we would do each activity. As was customary, “the teacher’s concluding remark” was added at the end of the program.

While looking at the written program on the blackboard, suddenly, a rebellious impulse ran through my body. I raised my hand and stated boldly.

“I think the teacher’s concluding remark is unnecessary,” I said. “It will spoil the party.”

It was meant to be a joke. At the time, our teacher was relatively new to the class, and we had not yet established a solid mutual relationship. A hint of distrust was simmering in our daily interactions, and miscommunications were frequent. And yet, for some reason, I thought that this comment would strike as funny and lighten up the mood.

That was a mistake.

The moment the sentence left my lips, the whole class burst into laughter, which immediately died away as our teacher stood up.

“Do you really think you can say such a thing?” He thundered. “I cannot believe it. Of all the people, YOU! I’ve never expected that from you!”

The whole class went silent. It was so silent that I could have heard somebody’s hair drop.

Our teacher was really upset. He went on to say how what I said was a mean act and that I was lacking in thoughtfulness.

In the back of my head, I knew I was the one who did wrong. I was upset that my words hurt my teacher’s feelings. Then, I also felt hurt to be called lacking in thoughtfulness. It did not feel right to be labelled as such after a single mistake.

All of this racing though my mind, it was hard to pull myself together. Before I knew it, tears welled in my eyes.

“Hey, don’t worry,” a gentle voice came from the seat in front of me. My classmate had turned around in his chair, looking at my tearful face. “Don’t give a crap about what he says.”

He was one of the rebellious ones in the class, but his heart very kind. His supporting words in the battlefield did not help me stop crying. More tears streamed down my cheeks. Our teacher must have been so upset, because he still kept telling me how my action was hurtful while my head bowed down in remorse.

“He’s talking nonsense,” my friend continued in a low voice, but not low enough to be inaudible to others in the room. “No need to take him seriously.”

His kind words were appreciated, but I knew our teacher had a point and what I had said was mean. I also hoped that my friend would not make our teacher more angry by siding with me.

Finally, after what felt like eternity, both our teacher and I calmed down. His voice became more normal and I stopped crying. The class was dismissed for the day.

“I won’t forgive him for making you cry like this,” my friend declared as we both stood up. My eyes were still red from crying, but a small laugh escaped my mouth. “Never!”

It felt strange to be laughing after such a deadly thunderstorm. But I could not help laughing. That was the power of my friend’s little rescue, something I will always remember.