Kathy sat in math class, feeling better than she had when she walked into school that morning.
Her pencil lead broke, leaving a slash of gray metallic lead on her paper.
Kathy sighed audibly and thought, Well, I guess not everything is suddenly going to be on my side.
She looked through her bag and mumbled to herself, "Come on, come on..."
"Shh!" The teacher scolded her.
Damn, I don't have a sharpener. Kathy thought.
Out of the corner of her eye, Kathy saw someone's hand reach across the aisle and place a sharpened pencil on her desk.
Kathy followed the hand until she saw the face of its owner; Tae-Hyun.
Without a word, Tae-Hyun smiled slightly and directed her attention back to the math teacher.
Kathy stared at Tae-Hyun for a minute. Then, Kathy's eyes grew wide.
"It was you." She said.
Tae-Hyun looked at Kathy and said, "I beg your pardon?"
"Miss Parker, Miss Nam, please be quiet in class." Mr. Rooney, the fat, grumpy math teacher said sharply.
Tae-Hyun glanced at him and said, "I am sorry, Mr. Rooney."
"M-me too." Kathy said.
Mr. Rooney glowered at the girls and turned back to the blackboard.
Kathy longed to talk to Tae-Hyun now, but she didn't want to be scolded again, so she kept quiet until the end of class.
When the math class was let out, Kathy pushed through the other students to get to Tae-Hyun.
Kathy came out into the hall and said, "Tae-Hyun!"
Tae-Hyun turned around, "Yes, Kathy?"
"Did you... Were you the one who..." Kathy said.
Tae-Hyun waited patiently for Kathy to finish her question.
"Have you been putting things in my locker?" Kathy said, "Like the apple, and..."
Tae-Hyun nodded and grinned, "Yes, you have got me. I did put that in your locker."
Kathy studied Tae-Hyun with interest and said, "But... Why? I've been awful to you. Why would you help me out?"
"I really did nothing very big if you think about it. You remind me of a girl I used to know. She was bullied a lot in grade school and no one ever was there to comfort her." Tae-Hyun said, turning to leave. She smiled at Kathy over her shoulder and added, "Sometimes it is just the small things that count."
Kathy watched Tae-Hyun walk down the hall. She hadn't thought it was possible to feel worse and better than before until now. Part of Kathy felt better because she now knew who had been giving her the gifts, was grateful, and had apologized to Tae-Hyun. But part of her felt guilty for having been so mean to such a sweet person.
Well, Kathy thought, Today, lost three enemies and gained a friend.
Then, Kathy smiled.