Enemies Forever?

July 8, 2011
“I don’t know if it’s worth it anymore. He’s gone. Jay’s gone.” He said, with his head buried in his knees.
I smelled of his deep Hollister cologne. I was sitting next to an eighteen year old I had never expected to see cry. Let alone one I ever expected to have a normal conversation with me.
It was just like any other Sunday, or at least I thought it was. The plan of the day was to go to church, do homework and go to Infusion youth group. Calming down Chad wasn’t on the list. Chad was the ‘newer kid’ who everyone immediately fell in love with; well make that everyone except me. He was a little on the shorter side, with long, dyed reddish brown hair, and he had his ears pierced. All in all a guy who had every girl he met wrapped around his finger.
I was two years younger than him. As a result, he often used my age as a way to insult me. He said things such as “go get your little preschooler friends to play with you” and “did you enjoy nap time in school today” with a little pat on the top of my head. He quickly turned all of my friends against me. I labeled him distinctively my worst enemy.
“I don’t know if I can do this anymore. I can’t trust anyone the way I trusted Jay.” He whispered looking up from his knees. J.T had begun to play guitar quietly. The area we were sitting in smelled in Chad’s Hollister cologne, my American Eagle perfume and burnt popcorn. “His birthday would’ve been tomorrow. What am I going to school? And again at work? I can’t do this Tiff. I just can’t.” He said as he looked me straight in the eye with his deep colored eyes.
I didn’t know what to do. I felt clueless. Clueless about him, his intentions of coming to Infusion, and about him knowing my name. There, in the moment I felt as clueless as a pet that’d just been abandoned by its parents. I had no idea what to say from there, what to do, what to expect from him. I knew nothing. Sitting next to him, I simply put my arm around him and let him weep on my shoulder. There was of course, the extremely annoying voice telling me to leave him there alone, that I shouldn’t have cared. After all, this was the jerk who called me a preschooler his first week at youth group, and also claimed that I shouldn’t have any friends because I was too young. But I couldn’t have left him. I couldn’t. Chad very likely had committed the same crime Jay had. I knew I needed to help him. Just because I may not have been directly affected by his crime, I knew plenty of other people who would’ve been.
Chad told someone a few months prior that he had been injuring himself and had plans of ending his own life because he felt worthless. He smoked and drank on the weekends, which didn’t help his case at all. In fact, it made it much worse. Jay had the plans of committing suicide and he carried them out by over dosing on his antidepressant drugs. Chad found out the next morning that his best friend was dead because Jay’s mother called him simply to say that Jay was found dead. Finding this out made Chad feel alone. Even more alone than he had previously. He told Jay everything that happened in his life. I knew that Chad needed someone, a person to talk to that he could trust. Simply put, a friend. I was going to be that friend whether I liked it or not. Sitting next to him, I heard him let out a soft cry, “Why me? Doesn’t anyone care?”
“Of course we care. You’re a major part of Infusion. Without you, youth group wouldn’t be the same. You’re the original class clown. Before you there wasn’t one. You’re the social bee of everyone one here. You float from group to group so easily because everyone likes you. I don’t float from group to group because only a few selective people like me.” I answered, surprising myself at the sincerity; J.T. continued to strum a sweet melody on guitar as Chad wept onto my shoulder.
Tears flowing down his face, he said “I’ve lost everything. My best friend’s gone there’s no one I can trust the way I trusted him. I can’t retell my story to everyone just to see who’ll stay and who’ll leave me again.” He looked up at me with innocence in his eyes. “I can’t.”
“You haven’t lost everything, Chad. You have everyone here. Tara, Kelly, J.T, Lisa, Cecily, and everyone else. Including me. I’ll always be here for you if you ever need anything. I’ll be here whether you want me here or not. I replied. He smiled at me with an innocent smile that I had never seen from him before.

We stood up and walked back to the rest of the group. J.T was just beginning to start his lesson titled, ‘Running the Race of Life’. I glanced over at Chad. He simply looked up at me and smiled up at me with that innocent smile. We both sat down in the black couches to listen to the rest of the lesson.

A few months later, I was going through some of the same things that Chad had been. I was dealing with depression, losing some of my best friends though they weren’t dead I felt abandoned by them, being used by a guy who had no intentions that lead to good for me. I felt like my life was over and worthless, just as Chad had. I was doing things deep down that I knew I shouldn’t have been just because I didn’t know what else to do. One Sunday morning he showed up at church and he came up to me and said, “Everyone here believes in you. You have so many friends and people here who care about you. You may feel like you have lost everything, but you haven’t. You may feel like you have no friends and that everyone’s out to get you in some way, but they’re not. You have me. You always will. I’ll be there for you whether you want me there or not.” He smiled that innocent smile he had when I first told him that. He had given me the same speech I had given him back when he felt abandoned, alone, worthless and depressed. He knew it would mean a lot to hear him say it. Not only say it, but to mean it in the way that he had.

From then on, I realized and began to believe that enemies don’t have to stay enemies forever. Sometimes they can become your best friend. In this case, Chad and I have been friends for just under a year. I tell him everything, major and minor events in my life that have grown to shape me, my beliefs, my personality and my friendships. This was an experience that I’ll never forget. Not just because I got to know one of my best friends for who he is but because it taught me that judging one can really affect the likelihood of becoming friends or trusting in other people. Especially when you need someone who’ll always be there for you through thick or thin. My once worst enemy, is now my best friend and I wouldn’t change that for the world. Enemies don’t have to stay enemies forever.

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