If there was one thing I learned from science fairs–besides learning how to properly record my data–is that friendships require forgiveness. It may seem implausible and absurd, but during the science fair two years ago, I had finally learned this valuable lesson of forgiving. I would often dwell upon this memory and smile, wondering how we had still won that science fair. My teammates were my two close friends, Daniel and Raymond. Everything went smoothly at first; we made lots of progress in experimenting and gathering data.
But I didn’t feel too happy when Raymond and I meticulously worked on measuring sets after sets of data, Daniel was searching for pictures of potatoes on the internet. This didn’t happen once, but it occurred almost every day. Maybe I should have expected this to happen, but I lost all patience to deal with our teammate who did close to nothing to help us. That was when my frustration took over and I ceased talking to him. I had no idea that not talking to him would put me into an overwhelmingly awkward situation.
It was the last day to work on the science fair, and Raymond had regrettably left after doing a majority of the work with me that afternoon. I was left with Daniel, who worked silently except asking the occasional question once in a while. He knew | was infuriated at him. The day had gone by almost too quickly, as the sun started to set, bobbing below the horizon and dyeing the skies blood orange. The evening prayers sounded from the floating mosque nearby. I’ve still got so much work left, and I have to finish it all up in this awkward situation?
I asked myself, slightly regretful of what I had done to Daniel. I continued pasting paper onto the display boards for the science fair, sitting far away from Daniel. “Should this strip of paper go here? ” Daniel asked quietly. I glanced at the paper and nodded, avoiding conversation. He would then sigh deeply and continue working, and I felt pangs of guilt deep within my chest. It’s alright to do this, just don’t regard any feelings. Focus on your work, not him. I told myself repeatedly as I continued sticking the bits of paper onto the boards.
Only later did I find myself facing dilemmas that did require asking him a question. “Which one do you think looks better to you? ” I questioned, avoiding to look at him. Daniel studied the two pieces of paper and held out one of them to me. This can’t just go on like this, can it? I asked myself. Maybe I do have to forgive and forget. The evening went on in awkwardness and silence, the entire project taking another hour to finish. “We’re done now,” I stated with a little smile that faded quickly. What else was I supposed to say? “Okay,” Daniel replied with reluctance.
I felt even worse at this point, and I felt more inclined to apologize. I didn’t want us to be this way because of my anger towards him. I hated how we barely talked and didn’t dare to say anything to each other. I should have controlled myself. I regretted even doing this in the first place. Funny how | changed my mind in the few hours of working with Daniel. “Are you going to go now? ” | asked slowly, afraid to even hurt him even more. He nodded at me and stood up, walking to the door. Peter, you can apologize. Anytime now. I told myself while unlocking the door for him.
Alas, I couldn’t bring myself to apologize yet. I just didn’t have the courage yet. The two of us waited for the elevator stiffly, not a single word passed between us. We’re friends, aren’t we? Then why am I still doing this? Did I even think carefully before being angry? I asked the question again, distracting me from everything. The elevator dinged. I snapped out of my thoughts and entered the elevator and shut the doors as Daniel stepped in. I took a deep breath. “Daniel,” I started saying without looking at him, “I’m apologizing for giving ou the silent treatment because of something as petty as a science fair.
I’m sorry for not giving you a chance to work and do what you wanted to do. I’m really sorry for ignoring you until now. ” The words flowed out like water as if breaking the blockade of my anger and frustrations. “I was wondering when you’d even speak,” Daniel replied with a smirk, “I’m sorry for not doing my share of the work. Really. ” “It’s okay. You did do things. In the last minute. ” I grinned as I replied to him, and with a single act of forgiveness, the cloud of awkwardness disappeared.
The elevator doors shuddered open once more. The night sky greeted us with its slightly humid air and halogen lights that lit up the darkness. “You know, if you’re ever going to do this again, do warn me. I need to be prepared,” Daniel joked, nudging me in the ribs. Both of us had learned a valuable lesson that day. I still have the certificate from that particular science fair and it always reminds me of how I risked losing a friend in the process; but most importantly, I learned the true value of forgiveness in a relationship.