The next day at school, Jerry called me aside. We stood together, watching silently as the crowds filed past, laughing and joking just as they did every day. They had no real worries. Their problems consisted of what they were wearing, how their hair looked, what others thought of them.
They were lucky.
Jerry looked at me simply for a long time. I stared back at him, studying his face. He looked as though he had aged a lifetime in the past four months. His eyes were sad, and there were black rings circling them. His face was lined, his forehead permanently creased in an expression of sorrow.
He'd gone through more than anyone should have to go through.
Finally, quietly, he said simply, "I believe you."
I nodded wordlessly, and we exchanged a glance that said more than words ever could have. It conveyed all the pain we had felt, everything that we had gone through, and it united us. From that moment on, neither of us would be alone anymore. For nothing brings two men closer together than shared pain.
Oh, the pain we have shared.