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Weed, Boogers, and a Whole 'Lotta Other Stuff
So there I was.
My friend H whispering into my ear about a guy just five feet in front of me. I didn't even know his name. However, I did know him by reputation. He was a drug dealer, a drug user, and a drug to the safety and health of our school. And he was making a deal with an innocent, poor kid. I didn't even know him name.
I pushed H aside as her eyes grew wide with terror, and I tapped the guy's shoulder. He looked at me with bloodshot, baggy eyes. "Get lost. I'll talk to you later," he told his customer. The kid nodded and scurried off. The guy turned his gaze back to me. "What do you want?"
I didn't exactly know how to respond. H had said that there was a rumor he had marijuana in his backpack at school today, and a teacher had almost caught him. Almost. He seemed to be a polar opposite of me. He didn't care about school and thought of it as an opportunity for his "business." I was a student body officer and someone completely against recreational drug use, wanting to help those who have fallen into addiction. I cleared my throat and asked what was most appropriate at the time, "What's your name?"
"P," he said. (Names have been retained for privacy.)
"Oh," I responded. "Well, P. I think you're a great guy. You're really smart and cool. And, uh, I think you're way to good for drugs. Just saying. Haha."
P's coughed a dark cough and glanced around. "What did you just say?" His pupils were narrow and sharp, like an animal being forced into a corner. "I don't do no drugs. You don't say that kind of stuff just anywhere."
I cleared my throat again. "Um. Yeah, well. I just want you to know that even if you, uh, don't do drugs, you're smart and could be smarter if you tried. You're a really, uh, nice guy, P. So...yeah. Bye!"
I turned around and did not look back. I looked for my friend H, who was no where to be seen. I eventually found her behind a corner, hiding. She gave me a look that said "You're dead." "Why'd you do that?! Are you crazy?! You don't even know who he is! You can't go up to people and say things like that!"
And I never got to again. P was arrested the week later and sent to a correctional school in our town, called B. B was notorious for holding all the juvenile delinquents and dregs of the student population of the town. The school system made it so that a student could come back to the "normal" schools if he/she showed progress in changing character and morals. But no one ever did. Once you were in, there was no coming out. P would be surrounded by people like him, if not much, much worse.
I refused to believe I had done something wrong; however, I did know that I had jeopardized the safety of me, my friends, and my family. If P had been a much more volatile, violent person, he might have lashed out at me or called his fellow drug dealers to make sure I never talked to him again. I began to forget about P just as everyone else had--until I found out a bit more about him that I would have been better off not knowing.
P had been raised by very abusive parents, generous with the hand and eager for the bottle. He didn't want to go home and would turn to the darker part of town to hide away. Drugs were his sanctuary, to escape from his everyday life even for a few minutes; when he came out of his stupor, he would be back home, unable to flee the darkness of his life that wouldn't let him go. P hasn't heard "I love you" recently. P hasn't heard "Good job" in a while. P hadn't heard that he is actually a really, uh, smart, and, uh, nice guy who is too good for drugs. And I told him. It wasn't fair that I was able to enjoy life and enjoy school while P hated every moment of it. He deserved a chance too. To choose a different crowd of friends. To take advantage of his education. To turn his life around and make the most out of it. The people at school only seemed to bring him down more, placing into some sort of social class that can't be encouraged or changed. The peers and the pressure only reinforced that P would be a failure and would always be a failure. Was I the only one who believed he wasn't? If not even P can stand up for himself, who can?
So here I am. Society telling me that I had done something very, very wrong.