Oysters & Pearls This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   My life has only reached its fifteenth year of existence, but there have been many moments of hope, few of true inspiration, and even less of gratification. There has been a small number of people I truly admire, meaning that I knew them to be good people, and they knew my true self. Three of those people brought hope and inspiration to me in three different ways. And each opened up a part in me that I never knew I had. Their names were Bobby, Kristin, and Julius.

Bobby was only fourteen years old when he died, but he taught me to love this evil world. We met when we were two, he joined a gang when he was seven, and six years later, when we were still close, he began to teach me about life. Mostly the dark side, because that was all he knew. I learned it is not perfect, and that this world, and its system of justice, is unforgiving. Bobby thrived on gang life, and tried to promote peace in a time and place where anarchy once ruled. He was always there for me, and I promised that I would be there for him. Because he needed me. Bobby was suicidal, and he promised that he would get help after the New Year. Until then, I was his only hope. But one night the phone did not wake me; I was not there for him; one time was enough. A message on my answering machine held his final words. It was a good-bye, it was the last time he said he loved me, one last time he told me to live. Bobby made me love life, he opened my eves and taught me about the cruel side of life, the suffering of reality.

After Bobby died, I had a lot of trouble coping. A friend of mine from camp, Kristin, showed me that life was not evil, but good. Kristin and I met when I was ten and she was nine. We had stayed in phone contact, although we had not seen each other in three years - that is, until her funeral. She died just as she was beginning her acting career. She died in a snowstorm, after a car accident. She taught me that the world is good, for the most part, but you have to believe in the good. She thought that ignorance was evil, She died on the way to practice "Romeo & Juliet." She was the star. Juliet was not created to live.

Julius was a transsexual, he went by the names of both Julius and Julia. He died last May, at the age of seventeen, from a heart attack. He had the biggest heart of anyone I knew. Bobby introduced me to Julius when I was thirteen. When I met Julia two days later, I said how much they looked alike, not realizing that they were the same person. Julius helped me through both Kristin and Bobby's death, while Julia taught me outrageous eye shadow combinations. He helped me with my burdens, teaching me to carry some alone, so that I could learn to deal with my grief and sorrow. He always said that suicide was not a way out and would not end the pain. He wanted me to be naive again, like I was when I first met him, but the past was far behind. After Julius died, I realized that his saying, "Lots of oysters, few pearls," meant more to me than anything else. It is not whether or not the world is good or evil, but what you make of it. No one's life is perfect.

These moments of overwhelming grief left a scar that will be tender and red for a long time, but eventually it will heal, yet it will always remain. I will never forget, because that is what they wanted - to be remembered. These injuries on my soul left me with a lot of inspiration and a renewed hope for the future. The three - Bobby, Kristin, and Julius - taught me different ways to view my life. It is up to me to create my own opinion of life. And maybe, just maybe, I have finally found my lucky pearl-filled oyster. c


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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