I walked down the hall towards my classroom. John had sent me a dozen white roses to mark my first year teaching. I remember thinking that life is fantastic. I have a noble job. I have wonderful friends. I have a beautiful child. And I have remarkable students. I walked down the hall and heard several comments on how beautiful the pure white roses were. I tilted my head in and inhaled slightly. The beautiful fragrance tickled my nose and I smiled again. He is so thoughtful.
I was lost is thought when I felt a bump. I struggled to steady the large vase. I looked back and noticed Amber. She is an average looking young girl who will be a beautiful woman. When she smiles I see all of the goodness that she has to offer. She is always the first to help a student when they are struggling and the last to leave, because she is helping the teacher clean up. She is in the Choir as well as being on the Girls Volleyball team. She never says a bad word against anyone I think how proud her parents must be.
“Amber. Honey you need to be careful to watch where you are going. I almost dropped everything.” I said. She turned around and looked at me. I stared back. Something is different, I thought . Her hair is not as neat as it usually is. She is not wearing any lip gloss. Her shirt is wrinkled. And if I am not mistaken it looks like she has been crying. I looked again at her eyes and wait for her to respond. “Sorry Ms. K” She turns to walk away.
“Amber.” I said again.
She turns towards me but avoids eye contact. “Yes, Ms. K.”
“What is going on?” I asked. I know that something is wrong. Amber never looks away to avoid a conversation. She will just tell you she is too busy and make plans to talk later. Her noncommittal response concerned me “Look at me Amber. . . I know you. You know me. Do you really think I will let this drop.” She looks up and a single tear runs down her cheek. She stands there staring into my eyes. The look is so haunting that I press the issue. " Why don’t we go to my room and talk." I start to turn and I look to see if there is a response. Nothing. No movement, not a flinch. “Amber, I need you to come with me.” I said more firmly.
" I can’t. I need to get to the counselors office. Can I come by after class?" I responded with a yes but knew she wouldn’t come by. She turned to leave and I noticed the shrink of her shoulders.
Quickly I said, “Amber. Wait. I need to tell you something.” She turned and looked at me with her vacant eyes. “You are one of the most beautiful spirits I have ever seen. You radiate goodness. I want you to know that what ever you are going through I will understand. God will understand.” I knew that I was pressing my luck. To mention anything about God is wrong in a public school. I didn’t care. I felt that I had to get my point across. “God loves you . Your parents love you. I love you. One day you will look back and know that this day was special.” I reached out my hand and gently touched hers. I noticed how cold she felt. I sent up a silent prayer. God help Amber. Help her to see how good she is. “I want you to have these.” I placed the vase of perfect white roses in her hands. “Remember you are as beautiful and precious as these roses.”
Her vacant eyes looked back at me and she gave me a slight smile as she turned to leave. For some reason I felt a deep loss. I turned and began to walk to my classroom “God, Amber needs you. Please let my words have meaning. I fear she will need them in the days to come.” When I got to my room I looked around and saw the bare walls and I felt a sudden chill. I reached for the last of my boxes and cleared out my room for the summer.
School started back in August and I wondered again about Amber. The third day of school I walked into the teachers lounge. There sat the most beautiful vase of white roses. “Oh, look.” I said. “How beautiful. I wonder who’s they are.” I said as I tilted my head into breathe in aroma of the beauty.
“They are yours” someone said. I looked quizzically at the card on the table and took it to read. It just said Thank you. But there was a short letter on pink paper and it read. “Dear Ms. K, Thank you for saving my life. That one act of kindness allowed me to feel hope. It opened my heart and my mind. It gave peace me. I looked at the roses and saw its beauty. I had a plan that day. A plan to kill myself. My parents were out of town and I wanted to die. You showed me that someone does care. I called my mom and told her my plan and we talked and prayed about it. I never would have told her if it wasn’t for the roses. You see I just couldn’t let them die. Just like you couldn’t let me die. You were right that day was special. It was the day that I realized God loved me and I loved him. Thank you.” Tears were streaming down my face. I never saw Amber again. But every time I see white roses I think of her and the day God saved her life. It was a special day.