It was two years ago, when my best friend, or at the time, my to-be best friend, Nancy, was sitting two seats behind me on a bus ride to Mt. Hood. My friend Drew was sitting beside me playing video games on his new iPhone 4, while I was pretending to sleep, wishing I could play as well. My to-be best friend was behind us chatting away with five girls and a couple of guys from the popular click, while I was pretending to sleep, wishing I had the guts to talk to them. I envied them deeply. I thought their lives were amazing. They probably never stood alone at home hoping a friend might call them up to have a play date, but I did not know. I did not know that Drew was being bullied for being rich and stupid, while everyone was nice to me. I did not know that Nancy was having extreme family problems on top of her parents’ divorce, while my family members all loved each other and I had a great relationship with my brother and sister. It was that year of 2014 that I learned that I was not the only human in the world, and that my life is as good as it can be. I learned that I should be thankful for what I have in any moment and time in my life.
One year before, in 7th grade, I was what I would call weird. At the time, I did not really understand people and how their minds worked. I thought I always needed to be the center of attention to be considered “cool”. I did not notice the boys and girls lurking in the corners of the class watching me as I made a joke or pretended to fall over to be funny. They were nothing to me. They were merely visitors to my traveling circus show. I thought they were the audience, or the background. It was only in the next year that I noticed and respected them as real people in the real world, as oppose to them being uninteresting side characters in the book of Finn Lawless.
After one hour and forty-five minutes of tiring and harsh travel on the bus to Mt. Hood, we arrived. As our bus consisted only of kids from our school, we all stuck together against the push and pull of the ski-crazy crowd of 8:00AM. Our whole group somehow ended up being one of the first groups to go up the mountain. On the four-person ski lift, I had Drew on my left, and coincidentally, Nancy was on my right. It was awkward, to say the least. To put it simply, I was downright scared of her. I had no idea what horrors she could do to me in the social world with all of her popular friends. So for the first hour or two of skiing, I kept to myself. To my surprise, on one of the lifts up the mountain, Nancy spoke my name. We talked. We talked up the ski left, and down the slopes, we talked. Replacing the monologues of previous chapters with a rich dialogue. Though it was only small talk, I believed we had a connection. It was the first time in which I ever felt like I had a conversation without thinking about what I was going to say before I said it. I was no longer the self-conscious, attention-seeking Finn I had been the day before, and despite our social and personal differences at home and at school, Nancy and I became friends.
As Nancy and I became closer, we started sharing secrets that had been rotting in the endless pit of our hearts since they were first conceived. She told me about how bad her situation was at home. She told me about her father not accepting her lesbian sister, about her having to share and manage the time with which she spent with each parent. Then it hit me; the unknown plot point that everybody turns page after page to read. Nancy was only one in 4 billion girls in the world, and I thought to myself, if her life was bad, what about the other billions of girls in the world or even the billions of boys? Did they have the same problems? Did some have it worse?
Nobody could truly answer me these questions, so I made my own assumptions that in the end, turned out to be somewhat accurate. I assumed that If I had met Nancy out of the millions of girls in Oregon, or out of the billions of girls in the world, then there must be others struggling with their lives as well. I soon realized that everyone has strengths and weaknesses, and ups and downs in their lives, and that nobody has it the same as me. I have to judge others from an unbiased point of view if judge at all.