I’ve known D since the first grade. That ginger-haired grinning class clown has been a good friend to me. We have been lucky enough to have been in the same class every other year.
We were particularly close in middle school. Although D started hanging out with the “wrong crowd” (I don’t just mean kids that misbehave – I mean kids who do drugs. In middle school.) – we’re still pretty close.
And boy, is he a charmer. I can’t tell you how many girls come up to me to “ooh” and “ah” over him. I find it all very amusing. I recognize that he is handsome and a smooth talker, but our relationship makes it impossible for me to think of him in that way.
I even asked him out for my friend A. The whole thing cracked me up. She was so shy and felt like she couldn’t talk to him. I told her I’d be glad to talk to him for her. The really amusing thing was him standing there trying to figure out who I was talking about, and then remembering and saying, “Sure.” He sounded real excited to start that relationship. It didn’t last long.
At the end of eighth grade we had a graduation ceremony. His mother was all about getting pictures made of the two of us, because they planned on moving away. I joked about how I wouldn’t really miss him, so why did I need pictures of him?
I’m glad she took those photos. When I got home from the ceremony, I bawled my eyes out. I was into writing song then. I’ve always loved writing, and I now prefer prose and occasionally some poetry, but at that time I thought I would grow up to be a famous musician, so writing songs was my passion. That evening I penned a goodbye song to him. I didn’t realize how hard that would hit me.
Summer finds us at the baseball field, hanging out near the concession stand. Our brothers play ball on the same team, so we end up here a lot. I ask what’s up with him. He replies “The usual.” with a twinkle in his eye and I wink, and I know he is talking about his questionable lifestyle.
He then pulls up the sleeve on his shirt. I hadn’t noticed that he was wearing long sleeves, but now I do and find it strange because it’s so hot. Then, I see them. Track marks. I don’t know how to react to this, so I bottle up and I don’t. I just stand there.
I have taken one more step from childhood into adulthood.
As it turns out, they decide not to move, so here I am a freshman in high school and still good buddies with D. Although, he has changed. Not so much in the way he interacts with me – I can tell he still thinks of me as one of his best friends. But, he’s really into the drug scene now. He comes to school high all the time. He tries to hide it – aren’t 14 year olds cute in the way that they think they are pulling one over on you?
It breaks my heart. I sometimes think that I should do something to help him. But what can I do? I could talk to his mom, but I’m afraid she either won’t believe me, or that she will but will ignore it or make the whole situation worse.
He gets in trouble or having drugs at school, and he tells everyone that he was holding them for a friend. I am at his house during a conversation about it, and his mom is talking about choosing his friends better. She believes his lie. I don’t know why, I can see through it, but I can’t say anything.
I feel like maybe praying for him is the best thing I can do. So, I pray. I continue to be his friend, and love him as much as I can.