Friends in High Places

March 24, 2011
By , Cedar Hills, UT
It was a warm summer evening; the sun had just begun to set, and the world was a beautiful orange glow. The air was buzzing with the sounds of lawn mowers cutting the long, green grass. All of the kids were all so happy; they let out cries and screams of excitement as they played long games of tag, and the occasional kick the can. The sun, the grass, the screaming kids; all signs that the long school year had come to an end, and the start of a brand new summer to spend.

I was twelve years old, standing at a total of five feet three inches. It’s true, not very tall. I had the habit of looking up to my classmates with jealousy, and a little anger. I lived in the golden state of California, and had lived there ever since I was five. It was my home. I lived with my mom, dad, and little brother Tyler.

I always looked forward to the summer, especially this one. To me, summer was the only thing to keep me going in school. Each new school year I’d think to myself, “Just wait, summer is almost here.” This was the start of what I thought was going to be the best summer of my life. My friends and I had planned for months our summer plans, and the day was finally here to follow through with them. Beach trips, bowling allies, miniature golf courses, you name it, we thought of it. We were going to do it all, that is, until we met the new kid down the street.

His name was Michael, and he had just moved from Connecticut a week after school got out. Michael was an interesting kid; he liked to do some different stuff than the kids in our neighborhood were used to. The truth is, Michael smoked. Smoked before school, after school, and even tried once during school. And how did that end up? One month suspension; went on his permanent record too. Michael and his family then decided to move to California to try and start anew. That’s when I met him.

We were playing a game of kickball, and Michael had decided to join us. At first Michael seemed to be the funniest, most awesome kid we had ever met. He could kick the ball like he was a pro athlete, run extremely fast, and could tell a joke as good as the next guy. Michael quickly became the neighborhood favorite; everyone, including the parents, thought he was a good kid.

One beautiful, bright Saturday, we had planned to take a trip to the beach, and of course we just had to invite Michael. We had planned this trip since the last week of school, and we were pretty excited. We took the long trip to the beach, passing the beautiful scenery of large, green elms that left the air lingering with the smell of pine. We got to the beach, and were almost instantly hit with the salty smell of the sea. The waves were perfect, the sun was bright, and the bright blue water was just breathtaking.

We were setting up our spot on the beach in almost the most prime location; right in the middle of the warm sand, and a good ten feet from the salty ocean. We were unpacking our things when I saw an unusual, rectangular box inside Michael’s bag. I checked and saw Michael and the others at full sprint towards the breaking waves. With the assurance that I had time to check the box, I pulled it out, and flipped it open. The sight almost horrified me; inside the box was a brand new set of cigarettes. I was shocked; I sat staring in amazement what I held in my hand. The kid who was almost an idol to us all, was keeping a box of cigarettes in his bag; the thought was almost too much to handle. It was almost impossible for me to put the box back, and apparently, I was there for a while because I heard the sound of someone sprinting full out towards me. I regained enough consciousness to turn and watch as Michael dove off his feet and knocked me to the ground. I sat there amazed as I saw him rip the cigarettes out of my hand and slid them back into his bag. He then turned to me; his face was a raging bull about to charge. He then said in a soft, but angry voice, “If you tell anyone about this your dead.” With complete shock on my face, I just laid out under the warm sun, on the warm sand, unmoved.

From that day, I lost all respect for the kid I once thought was an idol. Michael didn’t talk to me after the incident and never did from then on. I once tried to convince myself to tell his parents, but to no avail. I thought if anyone was going to tell them, it had to be Michael himself; this of course never happened. As the school year started, Michael still hated me, and would glare at me as I passed him in the hall. One day, I actually tried to talk to him, but he made the excuse of not wanting to be late to his next class. I have always thought from then on not to judge anybody on first appearances. The truth is, you will never really know how a person really is on the inside; remember the most important thing in choosing friends, choose them wisely.

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