Each Kindness a short story by Jacqueline Woodson explaining how you have to enjoy the moment
One morning, as we settled into our seats, the classroom door opened and the principal came in.
this is Maya
The only empty seat was next to me. That's where our teacher put Maya.
*annoyed*why is she siting next to me
One day, while we were near the slide, Maya came over to us. She held open her hand to show us the shiny jacks and tiny red ball she’d gotten for her birthday.
it's a high bouncer.
She had a girl with her, and she said to us This is Maya. our teacher Ms. Albert said, say good morning to our new student, but most of us were silent.
One day, Maya came to school wearing a pretty dress and fancy shoes. But the shoes and the dress looked like they’d belonged to another girl before Maya. I have a new name for her, Kendra whispered. Never New. Everything she has came from a secondhand store.
And that first day, Maya turned to me and smiled. But i didn't smile back. I moved my chair, my self and my books a little farther away from her.
We all gathered around her desk and watched her drop a small stone into it. Tiny waves rippled out, away from the stone. That’s what kindness does, Ms. Albert said. Each little thing we do goes out, like a ripple, into the world.
It’s a high bouncer,she said. But none of us wanted to play.So Maya placed a game by herself.
That afternoon, I walked home alone. When I reached the pond, my throat filled with all the things I wished I would have said to Maya. Each kindness I had never shown. I threw small stones into it, over and over.
We all laughed. Maya stood by the fence. She was holding a jump rope but did not come overto ask us if we wanted to play. After a while, she folded it double, rolled the ends around each hand and started jumping. She jumped around the whole school yard without stopping. She didn’t look up once. She just jumped, jumped, jumped.
Then Ms. Albert let each of us drop the stone in as we told her what kind things we had done. Joseph had held the door for his grandmother. Kendra helped change her baby brother’s diaper. Even mean old Andrew had done something. I carried Teacher’s books up the stairs, he said. And Ms. Albert said it was true. I stood there, holding Ms. Albert’s rock in my hand, silent. Even small things count, Ms. Albert said gently. But I couldn’t think of anything and passed the stone on.
Watching the way the water rippled out and away. Out and away.Like each kindness – done and not done. Like every girl somewhere – holding a small gift out to someone and that someone turning away from it.I watched the water ripple as the sun set through the maples and the chance of a kindnesswith Maya became more and more forever gone.