anxiety · childhood memories · fears · friendship · promises · school life · social anxiety · Writing prompt

A Broken Promise

A promise I made but never kept was one from my childhood. In all the years afterward where I think of it from time to time, I always feel guilty for breaking the promise because I was too weak.

The promise itself was a simple one. In grammar school, a friend of mine went to the restroom during lunch. She asked me to look after her lunchbox while she was gone. In her absence, I did not anticipate that kids from another class ended up sitting at the same table. I got up and left because I realized I was at the wrong class table. The persistent thought I had was to just get out of there because I felt intimidated being around people I didn’t know. But, I was so caught up in doing this that I didn’t think to grab the lunchbox. By the time I was at another table, it was too late to go back. I could have gone back but I felt physically unable to. The idea of walking over there and attracting attention was scary to me. I didn’t want anyone noticing me. It didn’t help how trapped in inaction I was even when a student from the original table was holding up the lunchbox as if trying to signal to whoever left it behind. I couldn’t find my voice.

When my friend returned, I did say that her lunchbox was still at the old table but was unable to verbalize why I had difficulty retrieving it for her. I knew I felt scared and nervous about having to speak up had I gone to get the lunchbox, yet I didn’t know how to actually explain verbally in words about what I was feeling and why I felt the way I did.

Since no one claimed the lunchbox at the time that my friend was away, the student disposed of it in the trash. I do not remember if my friend got it back or not. I believe I blocked out the memory because I felt guilty to the point I started to disassociate from what happened.


Prompt 128 from Think Written: Write about a promise you’ve made to someone. Did you keep that promise?

Featured Image by Drew Graham.

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