Overflowing Heart: Part 1
The thought of high school and the remembrance of one of the greatest friend quartets that ever existed always brings a smile to my face. The teenage years can be tricky, but I was blessed to have them and to have kept them through thick and thin in all the years that have passed. I am a blessed man at the age of thirty five. The most special of happenings between us came when we met the person that made us that quartet, Mike. Before I give anything away, allow me to take you back to tell the story of that life changing week.
Lunch time was our favorite hour of the day. We got to hang outside and socialize and be the goofy selves that we were. One day I saw a young boy sitting on a bench reading. The “new kid” status is always a tough one to get past. How is he so comfortable all alone? The curiosity killed me. My friends joined in to see what I was glancing at.
“What’s the point of talking to him Nick? He won’t like us!” challenged Leon.
“Yeah, Nick. We have our group and I just don’t think he fits in. He is a brain and a dweeb at that. Besides, all we need is us three. Why add anyone?” added Trace.
I wasn’t macho enough to tell those two, but sometimes the way they disliked change bothered me. I had befriended Leon and accepted his pessimism. He had remained a depressive soul no matter how much happiness found him. He hated change, and it took him forever to welcome Trace.
Trace felt as leery about change as Leon, but in the opposite way. He had always been a snob and was set in his ways. No amount of convincing could sway him. The only reason he came to like Leon was because they both saw anyone who was different from them to pose a threat.
Suddenly I was pulled away from my thoughts as the boy walked over, a notebook and a pen in his hand.
“Hi, I am writing a response essay for Mrs. Clark’s Sociology class, and I was wondering if you could help. I’m Mike.”
“Sure, what do I need to do?” I replied.
“The prompt is ‘Do You Feel Like Life is Half Full, Half Empty, or Otherwise and Why?’ You don’t give me the answer right now. When you go home, think about it and choose one, and write out why you feel that way. I’ll write the essay based on the answers I get. I only have my response so far. I need more, but no one else will help. It’s due by next Monday,” he said.
“That doesn’t sound too hard. I think the guys will need to think about it, but I’m all for it! I’ll give it to you Friday on the bus!”
“Thanks a lot!” Mike replied.
As he walked away, I turned to find Leon and Trace sitting at a nearby picnic table.
“What did he say?” asked Leon.
“He is working on an essay and wants us to help. Pretty cool idea if you ask me.”
Trace and Leon took the paper, read it, and thought for a moment.
“Okay, I am interested. But only this once. I’m curious to know what his answer is. And what he said to you,” Leon said.
“He didn’t say anything. He just told me about the assignment,” I said.
With that, the bell rang and everyone went to their classes. As the end of the day came with haste, I was anxious to get home that night and write my own response. After my homework was finished, I sat on my bed and wrote out words that I had wanted to pass on to Trace and Leon for so long; the honesty was raw and refreshing. I hoped that my friends felt the same as they wrote their responses. I wondered if they had half agreed to help as a way of trying to get Mike out of their hair. I felt more confident as a writer in place of being vocal about how I felt:
Life for me has always felt to be half-full. I am young, and have many dream, but I feel as though what I have is not enough. I am a happy person. I just know there is more to life than what is seen, and I sometimes feel let down by those I am surrounded by. I try to be positive, but feeling boxed in at times leaves me feeling half full. I don’t have faith in materialistic things and I was always raised not to be judgmental. The world and the people in it, even those my age, fall into those patterns and it is unfair because you miss out on so many great chances to meet people you might like in life. I think of the friends I have because I know their hearts need help. A lot of souls need enlightening. I don’t want to exist as just half full. I’d love to be more. I could not choose half empty because I choose to view things in a positive light, though I feel a lot of the time as though something is missing. I come from a wealthy family, but I want something more. I want to try something new for once. What is there other than what I know?
I got up from my bed and tucked the paper away in a folder. I was looking forward to seeing if the guys had done their part. I had told Mike that I would have everyone’s papers by Friday, after all. I never saw Mike until it was time to get on the bus in the evening; he was in a lot of advanced classes and none of us had the same classes.
I wondered if at least Leon would have his paper with him to give to me by then…