October 11, 2007
Age 12 at the time
In the middle of my fourth grade year my family moved to small town Idaho. I got made fun of from the very first day. Naturally, I made friends with the only person geekier than I was. I tentatively sought approval from my peers--got rejected, of course. I was the new kid. This didn't truly bother me until sixth grade.
At the beginning of the year I had one friend - the only friend I'd had for the past two years. Jon M. He had a horrible temper with everyone but me. His family was poor and couldn't afford things like toothpaste, so his teeth were awful. He was the shortest kid in class. He was so very smart, and a naturally talented flute player. He taught me how to play checkers, and how to pump your legs hard enough on the swings to achieve Warp Speed 9.
Sixth grade was the year I lost him.
For some reason, the girls in the class took pity on me. They tried to make me over, make me "cool" just like them. I could hardly believe it. I was finally being accepted! The only problem was, they told me I couldn't hang out with Jon anymore. In fact, I had to make fun of him just like they did or else I wouldn't be a part of the group.
Peer pressure is one of the most horrible things on the planet. I caved in. I became one of the bullies. I made fun of Jon. I still remember the look on his face when I did it. It killed me. I couldn't believe I'd done that to my one true friend.
The next year, when we started seventh grade, I wanted to apologize to him. My eyes constantly roamed the halls, looking for my friend, but I never saw him again. His sister told me he was being home schooled because he "didn't have any friends at school anymore."
I will never forget my friend Jon, and how I lost him. I work every day to be kind to people in the hopes that someday I will be able to forgive myself.