Friend: a person attached to another by feelings of affection or personal regard.
Deceive: to mislead by a false appearance or statement; delude; to be unfaithful to.
I made my first friend earlier this year.Not my first friend at college.My first friend ever.I've lived 18 years of my life without knowing what it is like to have a friend.The feeling was, needless to say, foreign to me at first.I didn't understand the connection I felt, I didn't appreciate the splendor and rareness of it all.It's difficult to admit, because my pride is still interfering with my heart, but I can tell you with all certainty that I didn't deserve this friendship.
Before I came to Yale, my entire life was planned out on a very strict timeline.I left no room for friends or family, thinking they would become superfluous once I achieved my goals.Writing for this paper was the first thing I had to check off my list and the events that unfolded in my quest for the Yale Daily News are shameful, to say the least.
My first attempt was rather pathetic.I walked into the Editor's office with my ego inflated by high school achievements and an unfounded sense of entitlement.I was eager to a fault, but was quickly turned down.Whether or not this rejection was based on my skills as a journalist or just a fanciful whim, we will now never know.But I went home that day not blaming myself, but blaming the Editor, who for the purpose of this article will remain nameless although I imagine you have all heard the gossip, seen the news, and read the paper within the last few days.I'll just let you draw your own conclusions.
It wasn't long after that humiliating day in his office, when the Editor discovered that I had something he wanted.It was nothing to do with me, but someone close to me, in proximity not personal relations.So I agreed to help him with the understanding that he would let me write for this paper - this paper which has been graced with so many talented writers before me, which has produced award winning literary scholars from her pages.I belonged here, I deserved a page with my name on it.So did I think twice about helping him?Not at first.
What he was after wasn't an object, though I now believe he saw her as just that.I should have stayed out of it, should have backed out as soon as I saw what it was doing to her.But I couldn't stop.It seemed so easy, such an obvious choice to make.The prize was within my grasp and the casualties weren't worth my time.But it turns out she was worth my time.In the process of throwing her in his path, I grew fond of her kind nature, the way she was able to laugh at herself, the way she never held a bad thought about anybody she met, me included.
She became my friend.My very first friend.It's embarrassing to admit, but there it is.She cared for me more than a roommate, more than an acquaintance, more than I deserved.She cried to me when she was sad, forgave me when I was out of line, laughed with me when we shared an inside joke.Yet I was still caught up in this dangerous game of deception.My original motives had disappeared, had been left beside the door of the Editor's office one afternoon when I was shown how decent human beings are supposed to behave.So why was I continuing to play her for a fool?I was scared of losing her friendship and being discovered for what I truly was.I felt as if I had sold my soul to the devil and there was no way out.
So there I was, writing for the paper I barely fought for at all, and enjoying the emotional benefits of having companions who cared about me.But, just as they should, my two lives collided in one horrible event that could have been an absolute nightmare.I've never believed in Karma before that night.I won't share the details of what happened because I've learned not to throw people under the bus just for my own benefit, but I woke up the next morning in a hospital bed that wasn't meant for me.I feel lucky to have taken that from her.She didn't deserve what was intended for her but what fell on me.She didn't deserve any of it.I woke up that morning to find that she had been waiting for me all night, not wanting me to wake up alone and scared.The guilt I felt convinced me to confess everything to her just as her continuing friendship now convinces me to share my story with all of you.
My friend was angry and hurt, but she was tired of her life going wrong without rhyme or reason to it, glad to finally have an explanation.I fled for home that very morning, wanting to escape what I had done.I didn't expect to return to school and still be able to call her a friend.But she was waiting for me at the airport, her hands on her hips, a quick and venomous reprimand on her lips, and a hug for her friend who should have known better.
I have learned more about myself and about human emotions this semester than I had over the entire course of my life.A crash course, if you will, in friendship and deception.Did I pass?No.I completely failed.I've never failed at anything before this.But I've been given a second chance, one I think we can now all agree I don't deserve.
You are probably all rolling your eyes at this, thinking about how naïve I was, how the choice should have been easy, for I am assuming most of you haven't grown up a friendless outcast.I feel as if I can now see some clarity in the world, my career path isn't the only thing illuminated.Because what good is success if you have no one to share it with?What good is a lesson learned if others can't benefit from it as well?I hope that none of you take your loved ones for granted.You may not think you need them, but I can tell you that it is a lonely life with no one by your side.I cherish the friendships I have as I work to rebuild them, an honest and sincere struggle to mend the damage I have done.
A/N:Thank you all for reading! Foreign Affairs, the third in this little Harper's series, will be posted on Friday :)