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Guitars and Fruit Trees This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

As I walked along the San Diego streets looking for a surf shop to rent a board, I was quickly distracted by all the road-side stands. Captivated by every little trinket, I couldn’t resist wanting everything in sight. “Can you buy this for me?!” I shouted in every store, annoying my parents. As I examined a souvenir at one of the stands, a large crowd caught my eye. I hurried over, hoping to find more novelties to persuade my parents to buy, but was surprised to find something else: A middle-aged man smiled, singing beautifully as he played his guitar. I had never seen anyone so passionate for music. Being a guitarist myself, he would have to be the best I had ever seen. He strummed with such precision, the notes blending perfectly with his lovely voice. He was everything an aspiring musician could be: However, his arms had previously been amputated. As he plucked the strings with his feet, I stood there in amazement. How could this man be so enthusiastic about his work? How was he still happy, even though life had treated him so unfairly?
Life is unfair. I think most people would agree with me. Whether it’s losing a much-needed job to support a family, or losing someone very close, life is unjust. Poverty, disease, death—every newscast teems with heart-breaking stories, each concerning a person’s misfortunes. But is it safe to say that life is merely unfair and we must sit by and suffer? Is life just a heavy affliction that we must learn to tolerate? The answer all depends on how I look at it. If I went through life succumbing to every misfortune, I would say yes, life is unfair. But am I looking at the entire picture? No. I am only concentrating on the bad times, and basing my feelings only on them. I am not looking at the good times in my life. Not at the blessings, accomplishments, or laughter. Good must weigh out the bad.
At the beginning of my sophomore year, I was very uneasy. Being the first year at a “real” high school, I was worried I wouldn’t meet anyone—my best friend who I regularly hung out with was going to a different school. But to my surprise, within the first week of school, I met one of the most amazing people in my life. Her name was Diana, and she had moved down from California with her dad. By a random partner arrangement, I met her in my first hour Spanish class. As I took a seat next to her to begin our assignment, that awkward “first encounter” feeling quickly set in. I continued working, saying only a few words here and there, not knowing how to begin a conversation. I noticed Diana was trying too. She would open her mouth to say something, but would suddenly stop and quickly return the awkward, silent atmosphere. But, as she finished one of the answers on her worksheet, she finally worked up her courage and said, “So, do you have any, like, fruit trees?” We stared at each other for a moment, and both burst into tears laughing. I don’t know how, but this extremely random question sparked our friendship.
Diana and I became inseparable. Every weekend having sleepovers and staying up until 5 a.m., were the most fun times I have ever had. I couldn’t believe I had found someone to relate to: For we agreed on almost every topic. Coming up with inside jokes constantly, I would have to say we weren’t the smartest people when we were together. She became one of the few I could trust, and I knew that I would be her friend forever. Diana was the nicest person I had ever met. But unfortunately, this past summer her dad past away due to severe heart problems. When I heard the devastating news, I was completely shocked. Diana was the funniest, kindest person I had met, and it never seemed like this could happen to her. It seemed impossible. When I talked to her after her dad’s death, however, she was surprisingly positive about it. She looked forward to moving back with her mom and simply said it was her dad’s time. It was amazing how she did not let this unfortunate event ruin her life. Of course she loved her father, but she let the good aspects of her life overpower her sadness.
Carl Gustav Jung, a Swiss psychiatrist, once had a similar outlook on life: “A happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness, and the word happy would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness.” Happiness would not exist if sadness were not there to counterbalance it. Life would be nothing without both joy and sorrow. I can only decide for myself. I must look back on my experiences, and make a final decision whether life is really unfair. Then only I can try to outweigh the loss with prosperity.





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