says people change because they grow up. I’m not sure that’s the true case. They took him. Without even knowing it, they broke him bit by bit, and then built him up as someone new. Someone they
could love someone they could share. They didn’t know him. Not his family, his friends, his troubles. They laughed. But I was always there. When they turned their backs, and left him there, I
picked him up.
For years I watched his face light up, it made my dark life glow. He was tall, skinny, and awkward. He loved to smile. We hung out every day. Whenever I needed, or he needed; whenever I wanted or he wanted, we were there. There to make it better. We fought, and they were bad fights. We yelled and hit and said mean things, but we always made up.
Friends since elementary school, he was the coolest boy I knew. I was sickly and
couldn’t play, but he stayed with me. We would talk until I made him go play. When I moved away we lost touch. Years later when I returned he was just as I’d left him. We talked and played, went to
the park and ate; we were there for each other. Through everything. It was as if I’d never left his side. Still tall, still skinny, and still oh so awkward. His hair had grown, but his smile
I grew to adore him. The long hair, big brown eyes, goofy grin; he was my escape from kids at the school. When they would whisper, poke and laugh, he would comfort me and I him. But now we’re in junior high. We had to split up, and that’s how it started.
A week into school, after school, we met at the library and he was crying. They teased his height, his music, his hair. Suddenly there were mean names, labels, fights. Every day it was the same. The friends he trusted turned on him. It went on and on, and I could do nothing. I watched him cry, I comforted, I tried to keep him busy, keep him happy. I stayed by his side but that was all I could do. I tried my best to show him, we’re really not all so bad. But with all of them and one of me, it was only expected they’d win. And they did.
I sat and watched him walk away. We grew apart as he decided he didn’t need my help. He changed his hair, his style, his way. I watched his smile vanish. With each day it was harder and harder to see they boy I knew. Years went by and I stayed by his side, now on the sidelines. I’m not half as important as I was, but I stayed. He strove to be better; he got a new crowd, the one that had bullied him. I watched from a distance as he laughed and talked with them, telling crude jokes. I know it’s not the real him. He’s who they want him to be, who they made him to be.
Now flash forward, we’re in high school. It’s like a bad movie. His tormentors are his friends, his long hair long gone, and dyed blonde. And that smile that lit my days, It’s a never ending frown. He’s bored, he’s mean, and he’s high. High as a kite, telling more crude jokes and laughing at “losers”. Those “loser” kids are just the same as he was. They smile at the bullies, they laugh, they have a few friends, but I know it hurts. It hurts them the way it used to hurt him. Are you proud of what you’ve done? Of what he’s become? He’s like you, like them. He didn’t grow up; he died.
He’s that “cool” kid in the smoker circle, the one everybody knows. He went through hell and didn’t make it back. Let me tell you, I loved that kid. I knew his story, his family, and his troubles. I watched you tear him down, without knowing he was already struggling. I’m not important anymore, you are. So please, if you see what you’ve done, what you can prevent, stop it. Put an end to bullying. All of those smiling, awkward, struggling kids you tease and hate, they have friends who care. And when you tear them down and bring them back, you take away who they are, who they were.
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