In eighth grade I felt that friends were the most important element for maintaining life. Not food, or water, not even air. It was having a group of friends. Now, of course this is just like all thirteen year olds. So, this statement is not ground breaking, but in junior high it was. When I was thirteen, I had a weird collection of friends. This circle; however, did not include the most important person in my life, that being Kyle Harris. He was, and I was completely sure of this, the perfect example of what I needed in a friend.
In life, you do not need to bring up in conversations how smart you are. As in, how much education you have received. People do not need to know your diploma status. These things are self-evident. If you have a Masters in the Social Sciences this knowledge will gracefully glide across the table. No one needs to be beat in the head with a diploma. This also holds true for being a friend. Friendship, or being a good friend cannot be forced. Well, it can, but it never ends well.
This was the case of Kyle. From Fall until early Spring I struggled to enter his realm of friends. Although Kyle and I would occasionally hang out, and I thought we had fun together in the eighth grade level of buds; I spent countless amounts of energy blending in with his other friends. I acknowledged they were way above in my social standing, but, boy did I try. There were many times I begged my Mother for new cable knit sweaters, as Kyle’s buds had already seen the twelve I had. Every move was calculated on how I could force my person into group social situations. I was sure that Kyle and I were solid, but yearned for him to put a good word for me, so I could join their table in the lunch room. Still I sat with my collection of freaks in a six-month old knock-off Ralph Lauren sweater.
On a freezing March morning I approached Kyle as he sat with the friends. I tried to push into the group and be part of the conversation. This was met by couple of other guys quickly telling me to beat it. As I accepted their advice I attempted to remain cool and wander off. This is when I overheard Kyle say “yeah, he hero worships me. It’s annoying. I can’t get rid of him.”
And this is when I first learned about being a friend verses being a good friend. It is the actions taken by someone you trust when you are not around. I never talked to Kyle again. The funny thing was that he never missed it, missed my friendship, and never approached me. The funny thing was, within a week that group of guys I sat with lunch noticed how much more fun I was to be around. The rest of the school year was pretty memorable. Hanging out at the mall, going over to friends’ houses. Just enjoying the short time I had until the end of eighth grade.