Insignificant.

Please do not leave your valuables unattended.

A tear in my eye almost fell when I read that sign at the coffee shop where we had our breakfast right after that race we did for a good cause.

The race was set 5:55AM, but you and I arrived an hour early. You told me that somehow you need to fill your empty stomach to have the energy to sprint the track.

My eyes gazed at the area, where a number of sprinters are already gathering, but I didn’t see any signs of an open food stall. I motioned to run outside that cordoned section. You followed me and in no time, we saw a fast food store. I was about to run that kilometer gap but you objected as you pointed to my watch. I gazed around the area again to look for a nearer food stall. But when I looked back at you, I was surprised you weren’t there anymore.

It was exactly 30 minutes before race time. I decided to stay at where I am, thinking you went looking for open food stalls, too. Or you went to the rest room somewhere near. Or you were just playing hide and seek with me.

Twenty minutes had passed and still no signs of you. I started to panic. I was already pondering of not joining the race, thinking you were nowhere near and that I need to find you, since your mobile phone is with me.

It was 5 minutes before the gun signal when you gave me a ring using an unknown number.

“I am here at the assembly area, where have you been?” you asked.

I dropped the call as I was already teary-eyed, realizing you left me behind just to be at the cordoned section in time for the race. I ran to the assembly point as fast as I could to be there before the gun signals the start of the sprint.

I ran with all my might and finished the race, but I didn’t get an award. However, I did get something more significant than that.

As I sipped my brewed coffee over breakfast, I tasted a bitter sweet realization:

Valuing someone so much is not an assurance that you are valued the same.

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