“Old Friends”

Over the years I have had many friends of all different kinds. They come and go, and, as they say, you never truly appreciate something until it’s gone. Many times I get closer to a friend only to be told that they would be moving away or switching schools. And once they leave me in Fountain Valley I make sure to remember the best moments I had with them, and even if I can’t remember everything about them, I make sure that I remember the lessons they taught in the months before they left.

Photo [CC-by-2.0] 2007 by Topan Permata


When I was younger and my brother was in middle school he had a very close best friend. From what I knew the two were a mischievous duo, once buying a case of root beer and shooting it all over our backyard. They had that devious “bad boy” quality that I had kind of admired, and I didn’t really consider what else happened that I never saw. 

As my brother progressed on to high school he seemed to begin to make a change, realizing that his old ways weren’t going to fly in his new world. He joined the school choir and there he found a wholesome family he could relate to and have innocent fun with. Some of the friends he made back then still are friends with him today, and yet less and less I would hear a mention of his old best friend in any of the fun high school tales he would bring home to me, though I never really questioned it.

I later on heard from my brother why I stopped hearing about this guy; my brother had cut him off as he had noticed his own best friend was a bad influence on him, and he only noticed when the pair went off to high school. His best friend started to vape, and slowly began to dabble with drugs as well, showing my brother what he could’ve become had he not changed at all. So now, I only admire half of the original duo.

Photo [CC-by-2.0] 2015 by Ted Van Pelt

“Oh Brother, Brother”

Back when I was younger, there would be many instances where you’d be drawn into a room and find me and my brother, with me usually in tears. Looking back on it, I can’t tell if it was he or I who was the instigator the most often. All I do know is that I had the playing card of being the youngest, so he always ended up being painted as the bad guy. Being the youngest always came with that privilege. That kind of privilege that lets you get away with certain things. Certain things I wish I hadn’t done so as to avoid remembering them now.

Looking back on it, that initial relationship between us allowed us to become close as time went on. Because back then we were a little distant. And going from being a little distant to being close had much more of an effect than say if we were to always have been close. I think so at least.

Photo [CC-by-2.0] 2019 by Niall Bell


One fateful day in second grade I was running back from the school’s field to go return to class from recess. I spotted a kid, maybe two years older, who ran and swung off of a bar slightly above head level and appeared to have flown a few feet in front of him. And so the next natural thought going through my head is that I too have to attempt this feat. So I adjusted my path and headed towards the bar.

Suddenly there were bunch of kids were surrounding and I had this sharp pain in the back of my head, but when I tried getting up I felt really dizzy from the pain all over my body and the rough feeling of hot blacktop on my back made basic tasks like breathing impossible to me, then natural instincts kicked in to try as hard as I could to start breathing again. 

I only regained my breath once the school janitor had gotten me out of the sea of curious kids and about the same time I finally felt his shoulder digging into my stomach. He laid me down on one of the beds in the nurse’s office and the cold ice packs helped soothe my sores until I was picked up. And only then when I was sitting there in pain did I realize how dumb of an idea it would be to swing off of a bar slightly above head level.

Photo [CC-by-2.0] 2018 by edgar_t


Back in middle school I used to walk to school with my next door neighbor, who’s a year older than me. He definitely wasn’t the best influence all the time, however, like when he started taking a neighbor’s dragon fruit from cacti hanging over the wall into the sidewalk. He even tried to get me to take some too, but he was eventually caught in the act and it opened my eyes to some of his wrongdoings. 

One incident in particular stood out to me that really separated me from him. He had come up with this game that involved chucking a small nut across the street in front of a car in hopes for it to be crushed under its wheels. I know it’s as stupid as it sounds. All of a sudden one of the nuts I threw hits this car I hadn’t seen. I heard a panicked “OH S–T RUN” and I followed his lead. 

I turned back after a few paces while my friend fled the scene because it didn’t feel right running from this kind of thing. I found the driver at the next turn, who had turned into the block to check on his car. I apologized profusely to him, though he was really understanding and happy that his car wasn’t damaged. The difference of our reactions really defined the morality gap between us, and from there I began to follow his path less and less.

Photo [CC-by-2.0] 2019 by Joan Disley

“Unknown Sadness”

An uncle of mine was dead from a brain aneurysm. I didn’t know him though, because I’m just not as close to my Filipino side. But I didn’t have anything that day and so I went to the funeral with my parents.

When we got there I couldn’t help but marvel at the sight of the church garden. Beautiful rows of bushes led up to the side of the church where we entered. The whole church was full as if the entirety of the Philippines had come to visit. At some point in the service a slide show was put on filled with old pictures. Pictures from throughout his life, smiling with people that I recognized in the crowd, now crying. 

Something about the slideshow really got to me. I was looking at a person who was fully enjoying their life, who should have lived for another thirty odd years. But no, his life was cut short at fifty-three, and there would be no more photos taken like these on the slides, a lid that limited the wonderful memories he could’ve made. All of this emotion of a man who would never again laugh with his family found its way to my heart, despite the wall of never knowing him. I couldn’t stop myself from crying.

Photo [CC-by-NC-SA-2.0] 2011 by Michael Gabelmann

“Teacher’s Formula”

I realized early on that I was especially good at understanding mathematics. Something about the pattern and logic behind all of it just made sense. It was around middle school, when people started coming to me for help, did I realize that there was a reason behind why teachers like teaching. It was like a simple input-output formula.

Whenever I was helping a friend go over a concept or the use of a certain equation there would always be a point where it clicks in their head and they begin to understand and apply the knowledge you pass down to them. And when that euphoria hits them it radiates the best feeling in the world, not just to them, but to you as well. 

This is when I realized that I loved to help others when it came to one of my strong points, whether it was fitness or academics. It feels good knowing that you’re using your skills for the benefit of others, and on top of that you get to feel a piece of the accomplishment that they feel.

Photo [CC-by-NC-ND-2.0] 2006 by Ruth

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