“If you have a candle the light won’t glow any dimmer if I light yours off mine.” ~ Steven Tyler
Friendship can be the most powerful light in a person’s life. High school sophomore Amber Newberg has yet to learn this. Introverted and guarded, she doesn’t make friends easily. She is in the Air Force Junior ROTC program at school, using it as a step towards building her future. Besides struggling with her best friend graduating, she expects this to be just another year.
Enter Shane Grafton. When the two are thrown together as partners in chemistry, a friendship outside of the classroom ensues. Having felt like an outsider as a result of his own upbringing, he’s someone she feels comfortable with. As their bond grows, Shane is able to pull Amber out of her darkness, but can’t get her to see what their relationship could truly be.
In a moment of courage, Amber decides to put her heart on the line. However, she quickly learns how fragile one’s heart can be. Can she open her heart again to the possibility of being hurt? Or will she shut herself back down and miss out on the friendship of a lifetime?
Once again she tries to look away, but I stop her by putting my hand under her chin and hold her in place, facing me. The air around us has changed. It’s like there’s a radiating heat around us, a tension that can’t be broken through. I am not sure what it is, why I feel it, or what it means. She softly responds to me with just a simple, “Okay.”
I am paralyzed in place. I can’t move. I am afraid if I do, I’ll spook her. She just said she’d trust me not to hurt her, to keep her safe. There has never been a more important moment in my life. I know that her simple ‘okay’ warmed my heart in a way it’s never been warmed before. I don’t know why my life has gone the way it has, but if this is where it brought me, I may be able to come to grips with it all.
She starts fidgeting and I realize I still have my hand on her chin. I can’t even tell you how long we’ve been frozen like this. I drop my hand and stand up. Holding my hand out to her, I say, “Come on. Let’s find something fun to do.” She doesn’t immediately take my hand, but she visibly relaxes.
After a short moment, she puts her hand in mine and allows me to help her up. She is wearing a huge smile and I know it mirrors mine. Her hand feels perfect in mine, but unfortunately, it doesn’t stay long. She drops it and asks, “What are we gonna do?” She is looking around, trying to figure out what I’ve got planned.
“Do you need to go home and check in first? I don’t want you in any trouble.” If she gets into trouble at home, I won’t be able to spend time with her. I know being around her makes me feel happier than I have in a long time. I want to spend as much time with her as I can so this feeling won’t go away.
Lisa lives in sunny southern California with her wonderful husband and two teenage children. Her husband is a teacher and high school coach, daughter is a dancer, and son is a soccer player. Between everyone’s activities and schedules, Lisa works as a substitute teacher and fills her free time with books. She loves to read and recently was inspired to write. Writing was always something she loved, but never had an idea of where to start. Now that she’s started writing, there’s no stopping her.