There was this little boy at my elementary school named David. He was a year older than the rest of us, and was also a year bigger. Back then, a year bigger made a large difference.
David wasn’t the smartest in the class, but he was certainly the biggest and the loudest. His parents were very rich and influential, so there wasn’t much that anyone could do about it.
One day during recess, I showed everyone a jade pendant that I told everyone had been given to me by my grandmother, who died when I was four. I told them that my parents had decided that I was finally old enough to hold onto it. I was very possessive about it, and refused to let anyone touch it or closely inspect it.
Towards the end of recess, I cast a furtive look around and smugly slipped away from everyone in order to play with my pendant.
Unfortunately, David saw me, and followed me to where I stood near the school, underneath a window.
“Hey, what’s that you got there? Let me see,” he sneered and held out his hand.
“No, I can’t,” I protested. “It’s very important to me.”
“Aw. Don’t be such a stuck up. You should share with everyone,” he said, and snatched it from my hands. I stumbled and crashed into the wall behind me.
“Hey, what’s wrong with this thing? It’s broken,” David exclaimed.
My face was shocked. I immediately snatched back the broken pieces. “H-how, how could you?” I sputtered. “Why would you break it? It got it from my grandmother,” I cried.
David put up his hands. “Hey, it’s not my fault. I got it like that. If you would have shared in the beginning this wouldn’t have happened. It’s your own fault.”
I cried, not heeding his words. “Why? Why?” I repeated. “I would have given it to you. I would have done anything to keep it safe,” I sobbed.
The window above me opened. The principal stuck her head out and glared at David sternly. “What is going on here?” she asked. She looked at me crying underneath her window, and her eyes narrowed.
“I’m going to have a talk with the both of you. Come to my office now,” she commanded.
We both went into her office, and sat down in front of her. “Now, won’t you tell me what’s wrong?” she asked gently.
I gave a frightened look at David. I rubbed my head lightly where I had hit it against the wall.
The principal glared at David. “It’s okay. I don’t need to hear it. I’ve already heard enough. You will be interested to know David that the incident which just happened occurred right under my window. I heard everything,” she told him sternly.
She turned back to me. “Are you feeling okay?” she asked. “Why don’t you show me what broke."
I gave a frightened nod, and a tear ran down my face. I showed her what was left of the jade pendant. “My grandmother gave it to me,” I whispered.
Her face softened. “Why don’t you go down to the nurse’s office? I’ll tell her to make you some hot chocolate.”
I nodded and left.
I later heard from the teachers gossiping that David’s parents had been called to the school, and the principal had told them that David had pushed a fellow student against the wall and left a large bruise on his head; she also told them that David had broken a precious family keepsake.
David’s parents had immediately called their lawyer. The lawyer had called my parents and offered to pay for my medical bills along with my school tuition if they wouldn’t sue and agreed to keep it quiet. The lawyer then reached a similar agreement with the school. Little David was transferred to another school. I was treated extra nicely by all the teachers.
After I got home from the hospital, I got a call from my grandmother. “Expect a nice present in the mail soon dear,” she told me. My grandmother loved to send me gifts.
After I took the call, I went and threw the broken pieces of the pendant in the trash.
“What’s that?” My father asked.
“Oh it’s nothing.” I replied. “Just something I got in Chinatown. It broke when I was playing with it.”