So one day in 6th grade, which now is four years ago, I was sitting in Social Studies class, feeling slightly miserable.
You see, at that age, the desks are arranged in groups and not in rows. For reasons unknown (perhaps my teacher was feeling cruel) I got stuck sitting with two boys that I heartily disliked. One of them I don't think I ever learned his name, but he irritated me. The other was named Colby, and I only know his name because at the time I was quite attracted to him, though everything about his personality was a turn off. In the extreme.
Because these two boys were not my friends, I was sitting there quietly and diligently doing my work while they discussed God-knows-what. I probably wouldn't have been doing my work if I had been sitting with my friends, who were on the other side of the room having a grand old time. I don't know at what point I started listening to Colby and Other Boy, and how this topic came up in the conversation, but it did, and this is something I've carried with me ever since.
For reasons unknown, Colby said that if he was homeless and living on the street, he would kill someone and confess to the murder. That way, even though he'd be living in jail, he'd be guaranteed food and clothes and a place to sleep every day. Other Boy heartily agreed. I believe I said something along the lines of 'really?' or 'seriously?' to put emphasis on my disbelief. This is the most vivid part of the memory - the moment, after asking this, and seeing both Colby and Other Boy nodding vigorously. I think at that moment I just shook my head at them in such a way to make it known I though them fools. But these couple of minutes conversation has stuck with me ever since.
I don't think they'd do it. They were both bad kids, who grew up to do drugs and skip and fail classes and just generally cause trouble and think that they're the coolest of the cool. But I don't think, faced with the option, they'd commit murder. They'd run, thinking that they're wusses, hating themselves for 'chickening out', but they wouldn't. They're not that evil, not that type anyway.
But the fact that they could so easily say that has driven me crazy. To take the life of a human being is something I cannot fathom. That is a person, someone with hopes and dreams, with plans and a future, someone who could change the world in the most positive way they can. That is a person, someone with family and friends and children and pets and people who will miss them and need them and maybe end their own lives because of the end of the prior. That is a human, with blood and cells and organs and skin. And the fact that you can speak of just ending something as magical and perfect and fantastic as that, purely for your own gain? That is the cruelest, most horrible thing you could possibly do, to a point where those words don't even do it justice.
Dear Colby and Other Boy,
You probably don't remember me, or the moment that I speak of. That's okay. Sometimes when I call forth the memory from the depths of my mind, Other Boy has red hair, and other times is brunette. I don't mind that you don't care about me, because I don't much care about you. But I wanted to tell you something.
It's taken me many years to come to this conclusion, but I am confident in my choice. I stand by it, and my strong morals.
I would rather die on the streets, alone and cold, starving, homeless and in pain than take the life of another human being.
And that's the goddamn truth.
Lots of love,