Melanie, the young lady who sat across the table from me at dinner was extremely engaging. I don't remember a thing about our conversation, but I do remember that not only was she willing to listen to the mindless ramblings of a dorky high school kid, but she left me with the impression that she was genuinely interested and genuinely enjoyed our conversation.
Since she wasn't involved in every skit during that evening's performance, Melanie was able to sit down frequently and during intermission. She chose to spend much of this time with me, talking to me or describing to me what was going on on stage. Her last words to me that evening, and ever, were words of encouragement. I never saw her again.
I left the school with a heavy heart. I felt that, in those three short hours, I had made a good friend. I knew enough then already to realize that good friends aren't easy to come by and should be valued when they do. I also knew that in all probability, I would never see her again. In a very short time, one person had created an impression that has lasted eighteen years and shows no signs of diminishing. I will always be grateful to her.
This whole incident begs a question. What lasting impressions have I made? How often have a few well-chosen or poorly-chosen words had a profound affect on someone I knew for only a short time? If one person's kindness could have such a lasting effect, then it stands to reason that my attitude, my actions, my words, my deeds, could have an equally lasting impact on someone I might meet in passing. I hope that the positive somehow manages to outweigh the negative, but, just as Melanie will probably never know the effect she had on me, I will probably never know the true effects of my interactions with others.