Until The End

May 29, 2012
By Karol Jastrzebski BRONZE, Chicago, Illinois
Karol Jastrzebski BRONZE, Chicago, Illinois
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I didn’t always live in Park Ridge, like most people that go to Maine South; I had grown up in the city of Chicago. In the 8th grade most of my friends were planning on going to Chicago high-schools such as Lane Tech, Whitney Young, and Lincoln Park. In the closing stages of 8th grade, all my friends were talking about how they were going to have fun the following summer because it was one of the last times we would all be together. All of my friends knew that this summer would be the last time some of us saw each other so we were all kind of down on ourselves. However the last day of school was a day where the administration in our school would organize fun games and activities, such as moon-bounces, trampolines, waterslides, and many fun arcade games like the ones you see at amusement parks. So my friends and I had almost the whole summer planned out with lists of things that we could do from the pool to the beach, everything any anything that a kid could do we had written down.
When the last day at school ended I was feeling great after the “fun-day” that my school had, all of my friends were at the local park and were playing football or something. I knew that this was the start of a great summer with my friends.
Everything seemed to be in the perfect.
I decided to go home to put away my backpacks and books in my closet for good. When I got home, my mom was on the computer buying tickets for something, so I went up to her and saw a big picture that said LOT, the most popular Polish airlines that everyone uses. I was so shocked I couldn’t say anything and my mom laughed because she thought I was happy to go see my family; however I was far from happy, I was devastated. I instantly told her that I wasn’t going and she started asking why not and telling me that I should go and see my family. However I was born there and I knew my family since I go almost every other summer. This was the summer that we weren’t supposed to go. I had everything planned out with my friends, how can I just tell them on the first day of summer that I was abandoning all of our plans and leaving the country?
How could you?
I can’t imagine what they would say after all that planning we did. This would be the last time most of them would see me since we were all going to different schools. Most of them would go to smart magnet high-schools, but I didn’t have the straight A’s or good test scores to get into them. I had to go to Maine South which was a good hour away from where I used to live. My mom told me, “You have to go, your grandpa’s in the hospital” I didn’t know about this, and neither did my parents until about three days ago, and my parents didn’t want to tell me until summer had started for some reason. At that very moment I was furious at everything, from my parents keeping a secret from me to leaving my friends when we had planned for months on what we were going to do
How would you feel after all your plans get ruined?
I was angry for the next three days were that last ones I would have to be with my friends that I grew up with, and for the most my family moving around so that most of my friends that I grew to know, we just left them. From me living until Poland till second grade then moving to America and not speaking any English, so the friends I made at that school I had strong ties with because we barely understood each other, but that school was different. You stayed with your friends until night and talked to all the kids there no matter what age they were. I started to become good friends, even though I barely understood them.
I had told my mom again, but more firmly this time, “I’m not going.” She told me again that my grandpa’s in the hospital which I had forgot in my angry state of mind. I asked her what happened and she told me that he was splitting wood and a clothing line was above him and the axe got caught on it and it bounced and the sharp part hit of the axe impaled his left arm. She said that he most likely won’t be able to use his arm again, and that my grandma wanted the family to come and visit him. I was shocked to hear this and I didn’t know what to do or say. I was lost. I had a tough decision to make. My grandpa was important to me because I lived in the same house as him for so long at then all of a sudden my family moved to America and I rarely saw him anymore. Also, I didn’t want to be the only one in my family that wouldn’t go to Poland to visit him. I didn’t know what to do so I told my mom I wasn’t feeling well and I was going to go for a walk. On my way out of the door I told her again that I wasn’t going.
I met one of the first people I met when I moved to the US, a kid that was in high-school already, Lucas. He was my neighbor and my closest friend. I told him what happened and I asked him what to do since he was older and a lot more mature then me. He said that he remembers the summer before his first year in high-school he was with his friends just like I was planning on doing. He said, “Yeah, I had fun with my friends, but as I grew I met new people and had new friends, but I could never do that with my family.” I understood what he was trying to tell me. He said, “Family sticks together until the very end.”
I made up my mind, said goodbye to my friend, and went back home. When I walked in the door I asked my mom, “When are we leaving?” She knew something changed because I seemed really happy when I came back.
The next day I went to see my friends at the park. They were on the swings talking. I came up and told them everything that happened. They reacted like I did when my mom told me. They kept telling me to not go and stay for the summer.
However, I already decided.
I told them that I would get back two weeks before summer was over so we still had time to do all of our plans. They were still dumbfounded from me telling them that I was leaving. But, to me it didn’t matter, I was happy with my decision and I wasn’t changing my mind. I stayed at the park until night time and I said my goodbyes because the next day I would be packing, then I would be gone. It was a sad time but I got through it and as I was walking home I saw an entire family coming out a big car. I saw how happy they were and I realized that I made the right choice going to see my family because family sticks together until the very end.
Even now in high-school, I still see them sometimes on weekends when I can. Even though I have to drive all the way out to places like Aurora, we still make efforts to see each other, and I’m happy with the choice I made back in 8th grade because I know it was a good one. What my friend said back then was true, I might have lost some friends but, my family is and always will be with me.

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