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It is very unique how time works in your life. It feels like conversations are one minute before realizing it was actually two unexpected hours. What I found was that the duration doesn’t seem to reflect from the amount of words that come out of your mouth at all. You can put closure to something so sentimental at the exact same amount of time it takes you to open a door. However, inside, the pain is completely endless and you stay awake each and every moment of the day with complete regression. Those few seconds can become one minute before your eyes. The time between words and emotion don’t usually correlate.
I would always ponder about how a few simple words can cause a lifetime of erosion to the mind; a shift in your lifestyle. One I could clearly remember is my greatest friend in the elementary, Dylan, who had a lifestyle that was relative to an endangered species. His parents were complete threats, treating him like a burden; the mistakeful face they never wanted to show to the world. Most of the time, he arrived home to find his parents gone for the night. In the morning, woken up to the sound of his parents cursing at each other and throwing glass bottles. His mother didn’t cook dinner for him, or wash clothing, or even conversate with him. There was never father-son time, but only lectures from his father that weren’t even his fault. He would wear the same cut up clothing to first class, eyes half shut from the long nights of being scared of the sounds that reflected from the streets below his apartment to his sensitive ears. You would expect someone like him to be expressive or even a bully to take away his internal pain, but he was even too exhausted to do that. Inside, he was dying for dependence.
There weren’t many people like him, and the people with more successful lifestyles were drowning him before he could take any breaths against them. Of course, I didn’t have any idea of how his lifestyle was. He was just a child with a broken heart and a depressing stature. My pity became empathy, and I couldn’t hold on any longer to the pain that I signalled from him. I had to talk to him. It was my ego; to help.
The first conversation we had is one that I could never forget. The reaction he had when I whispered “I am sorry” at lunch was one with complete surprise and skepticism. I didn’t know why I felt the urge to say those three words instead of a simple greeting, but I hated to see him get picked on for being different from the rest of us.
Dylan immediately replied as I was walking away to the table he was sitting alone at. “Only a true friend would say something like that,” he said. At that moment, I stopped walking, turned around, and directed myself to the seat across from Dylan. His words seemed to urge me to stay dormant near him and become best friends.
I remember how I asked him how home was like for him. I could tell it in his eyes he was trying to hinder his answer, changing topics as if I hadn’t said anything. I had to repeat the question for him to make it more tangible. I knew something negative was going on with his lifestyle, and I wanted to execute any plague he had that needed to be obstructed. He was the outlier of the school, and I knew it wasn’t his fault.
He managed to speak in a language anyone could grasp and understand. I could feel the emotion of the tears, as they hit my forearm that was coincidentally extended out on the table. “ I need help,” he said unfaithfully, choking on his own words. I immediately felt that pain of loneliness that he felt his whole life. That three seconds of him replying to me was a 5000 mile highway of loneliness burried within my heart. I could feel the years of him coming home to his parents absent. I could imagine the unsanitary walls and bacteria growing in the kitchen sink. I could hear the broken glass shatter as an alarm for the long days. I was completely lost in his world.
He spilled his guts. He told me everything there is to know about his home, his family, his long nights curled up in a ball shaking in terror… everything. I shut the rest of the world away even tighter every other word Dylan said. By the end, I became an outlier, and I have no remorse for that at all. From that moment on, the promise I told him forever echoes in my mind:
“We’ll get through this together Dylan. You don’t deserve this home you live in.”
Now, at college, studying for the test on the relation of Genetic Diversity and Species Diversity, I think about this moment of life again, and remember that Dylan is next to me, studying the same topic, seeming to get through the studying effortlessly. I’m so proud to call him my brother, coming through what he was to where he is now. He was the valedictorian of our class in highschool, and got in to the college for free for all the scholarships he had earned. He wants to be a history teacher, fascinated at how things could change for small decisions people make. I look back at it, and think, I made him witness history on his own. He would’ve never passed through the endeavors if it wasn’t for my shoulder to cry on or my optimism.
He thanks me all the time out of thin air. My only reply to him is “that’s what brothers are for Dylan. To make history. To make better changes in lifestyle out of only a few words of encouragement.”