Mark Twain once said, “Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel which has crushed it.” But isn’t it understandable that in some instances, this is simply too much to ask? Let’s hear 13 year-old Mateo Cordero’s remarkably wise thoughts on the subject.

My summer had been ruined, like a door was slammed shut. It managed to happen so quickly. Although I felt fine, I wasn't. I knew that I would be scarred on the inside and out. After that, everything was unclear, scary. I felt lost. Flashing blue and red lights, questions, questions, questions. Comforting words, a warm blanket, and sorrys, sorrys, sorrys that weren't enough. You can't change something that has already happened. 

When we first started to have to stay at home, I had an epiphany, and that was that I was going to need something to get me through this. I tried so many things: drawing, cooking, baking, writing, and I even tried video games. And then I found it: biking. I biked miles and miles every day after that. Each day I came back with new scars and new stories to tell and tricks to show. Late after a long day of biking, I convinced my sister to come out. Outside there was a kid looking at his phone turning back and forth, searching for something.

We started walking down the street, and then someone shouted at us. We turned around and I saw the same kid that was wandering around our block earlier, but he was with six other kids. They came up to us and asked where Dexter Park is, even though they clearly knew it was right down the street, in their sight. We pointed them to it, and I headed to show my sister the cool bike trick. We walked away, and they followed us, asking us questions, and kept going on. They asked to ride my bike again, and I said no because of germs. Then one of them pushed me off the bike, mounted it, and took off, screaming as he grabbed it. The rest of the kids kicked and punched me while I was against the fence. I heard the rings of my bones slamming against the fence. My bike was stolen.

The next week, my scars were nearly healed, but my bruises still ached. I went biking around the neighborhood, and saw the same kid that had beaten me up just a week ago. I nodded to him and smiled. To this day I still smile at the person who left me with a foot long bruise on my back. That’s because I believe in forgiveness. Sorrys didn't let me move along. Forgiveness did.

Mateo Cordero is a student at the Gordon School in East Providence, Rhode Island. He lives with his family in Providence.