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Brett (The Great)
I head to my first period math class; my eyes partially closed, my legs in an awkward autopilot. I see a familiar face however: my friend, Brett. I take stock of him, even though I see him multiple times a week. He is short but his face attracts your attention instantly. His nose and mouth are inconspicuous but his eyes are deep and soft. They radiate with knowledge and wisdom but at the same time a comical expression fits into them. His brown hair is his most definable feature, however. He claims he never combs it and rarely gets it cut. It is no mystery why—it would be a barber’s worst nightmare. He has thick curls that spring from his head from every which way. He is walking toward me now, smiling and waving. This breaks my trance and I greet him. He walks quickly but as if he carries a heavy load, which he does, as he claims he weighed his backpack to be twenty-eight pounds. His legs sort of bend and then spring forward, propelling him along. He dresses nicely—brown leather shoes that are considerably worn but shine beside my old, smelly (black, white, gray?) sneakers. A blue lunchbox that is attached to his backpack swings laterally behind his hips like a pendulum.
Yet there is a look in his eye that I know means that he has something to tell me, something he is excited about it. His huge grin gives it away as well as his wide-eyed look that place his eyebrows higher than usual. “Second lunch,” I say and he nods. I head to math and peruse over my friend’s expression, wondering about the mystery behind his façade. I assume it is something positive from his expression and his gait; he was walking as if he were going to be crowned. My mind continues to wander as secant-tangent angles and congruent arcs begin to be pushed out of my head by my thoughts of this remarkable person...
See, the thing about Brett is he is versatile. His brain is always active and analytical, trying to read your thoughts and listening to what you have to say. If he is not conversing with someone else he is buried in a book, doing schoolwork or reading for pleasure. He has an outstanding imagination that I’ve come to know since we first met in Kindergarten and we came up with all sorts of games regarding doctors, mothers, and dinosaurs. It is this versatility that allows Brett to be so many things at once. Every day he has something new going on and he is always willing to tell you what it is.
The most memorable moment that reflects this behavior is when his little sister, Alyssa was born. “At first I was upset because I would not be an only child anymore,” he says, looking back on how he felt. “But eventually I got used to it and now I love her.” He waves his book around as he talks to emphasize what he is saying. I can see how Alyssa requires a lot of work and energy as I often go to his house and she is usually there. However I can see how he loves her, as she is always willing to converse and full of enthusiasm and life.
“A true measure of a man is the people he surrounds himself with.” These words of wisdom are from my lacrosse coach. I believe that Brett truly lives by this standard. One of the focuses of my interview was what impact others have had on his life. When I asked him, Brett agreed that his parents have been the closest people and most influential people throughout his life so far and have had the most impact on his childhood. “My parents introduced the idea of pursuing what I like and becoming an architect and actor.” I can definitely see this attitude reflected in his character as he always works hard. Unlike many of my acquaintances that take elective classes based on rumors of level of difficulty, Brett takes classes to pursue his career such as Civil Engineering and Architecture as well as Drawing. Brett is also close to his cousins, particularly John. Brett G. told me that, “John is a role-model to me—he has definitely impacted the way I dress and act.” John is three years older than Brett; he is eighteen now. John lives in Durham, Connecticut but went to our high school (he is a freshman in college now). Brett visits him in Durham annually and his parents and him go with John’s family to Maine in the summer. When I asked about his friends he told me he has a few close friends and many acquaintances. He met many of these acquaintances via one of his most prominent talents, acting.
Brett told me of the fascinating origins of this talent. Ever since he was four years old his Uncle Drew would stage home videos and Brett would be the lead. Brett has a poster in the Cave with him on it that I assume to be from one of these home videos. The Cave is his basement. Notable things in the Cave include a huge TV for entertainment; a top-of-the-line computer, as he is a technology wiz; a Lego collection of completed, partially complete, and individual pieces that must be worth thousands of dollars (Brett told me how his love for Legos was one of the things that prompted him to aspire to be an architecture); and a six-foot plastic scepter painted gold and adorned with plastic jewels and all that his dad helped him build for one of his roles in a play. Brett told me, “Acting has impacted me by improving my public speaking as well as introducing me to very talented people whom I have befriended.” Brett’s verbosity and outspokenness as well as his talent in singing, acting, and delivering lines make him a stellar actor. Brett also always seems to get roles in which he excels, many of which provide the audience with comedic relief. He was a lead role in his middle school play, Guys and Dolls, Mr. Nicely Nicely. Even as an underclassman in high school he got significant roles such as the Munchkin Mayor in the Wizard of Oz and James Throttle in The Mystery of Edwin Drood.
When second lunch finally comes around I sit down next to my friend who is calmly eating his sandwich.
“What is it?!” I exclaim, unable to contain my curiosity of the unknown expression of joy and triumph he flashed me earlier this morning.
“What?” He asks, a look of question and confusion taking over his face, his eyes now becoming pools of oblivion. I look at him skeptically and wonder if he is feigning confusion. If so, he is pretty damn good. Then again, all that comes with the acting. He remains silent.
“That look you gave me this morning,” I say, “You look like you saved someone life or won the Nobel Peace Prize or something.”
“No, I was just waving to you.”
“Oh,” I mutter. Perhaps it was just his self-confidence radiating from him. Or maybe it was just a simple smile and wave supplemented by those dramatic eyes and distinct gait that I had processed to be something much more.
“By the way I won Outstanding Performance for Drood” [the Mystery of Edwin Drood].
“Ah, that explains it. Congratulations. That was a great play.” It was the first high school play I saw, and our school's theater department is unbelievable.
The bell rings and lunch ends. I haven’t even touched my food, as the deep conversation distracted me from my lunch. I walk with Brett to his history class. I ask him what he is studying and he replies that his class is on imperial dictators. He describes an
upcoming project in which everyone gets a ruler and dresses up as him or her and they discuss imperialism. He has Elizabeth the something or other.
“[My friend] Tucker has Suleiman,” he explains.
“Mm, Ottoman empire.”
“Yeah, then there’s Akbar which is cool. My favorite may be Fredrick the Great of Prussia though.”
“Best army in history,” I remark.
“It is debatable, but he is definitely up there on the charts. Instead of sticking inexperienced recruits in the front lines like most leaders, he would stick his toughest, most battle-hardened men up front. Many a time his enemies would surrender minutes into battles.”
Brett is undeniably a very unique and talented purpose. Perhaps in the future I will see him on Broadway or in Architecture magazines. Given his persistence and optimism we may even carry through with our historical strategy computer game, Age of Man that we basically stopped in the design phase two summers ago. Perhaps Brett has been actively at work on the game, sketching game art in his notebook ever since.
Yet more important than his talents in acting and his goals of being a Cornell-grad architect is Brett’s personality. His warm and sensitive yet outspoken character makes him a great big brother, obedient son, and extremely interesting friend.