by Samantha Evans
I like to think that I’m a fairly decent judge of character. Then again, who doesn’t? At this point in the game, I have tried to surround myself with the ‘right’ kinds of people, those who tell me how it is, albeit gently, who know my weaknesses and don’t exploit them, who look out for me when I may not be looking myself. Alas, this superb judgment is not a talent that I was born with. It was honed as I weathered embarrassment, disappointment and betrayal over the tumultuous years that comprised late elementary and high school. How many times can one be duped by the captain of the hockey team? If you want an exact number, I will refer you to a box of diaries that are the unofficial anthem of my 17-year-old self. At least I was better at sussing out the 18karat friends from the brass. Many humiliating evenings and one amazing friendship-turned-relationship later, I decided to stop being a hard rock when I really was a gem. Years later, I created my own rite of passage to adulthood by telling the hockey captain where he could stick his puck.
Fast forward to the day you run into your fallen hero, on the street/at the bar/ at so and so’s place when you are hopelessly unprepared to confront the situation and the emotions which crash in on you. The 20 feet between you two is a vacuum of memories; you watch her sleep; she counts the tears as they flee down your face, but you shrug it off like it was a story you once read, not the story of your own life. Because after all, how well do you ever really know someone? You think you know what you’re in for, then- wham!- your new crush has two other girl Fridays, the guy who said he’d never hurt you is riding the town bicycle and you have chlamydia, but no answers. If only penicillin could cure all of our poor decisions. It’s excruciating watching a friend drift away, worse still to watch her self-destruct. It may be difficult to love him for who he is now, but it’s near impossible to love yourself when he was your raison d’être. The lesson here of course is to know yourself before you let someone else. Build your empire around another’s castle and you are sure to watch your dynasty crumble before your eyes. Few pearls of wisdom managed to outlive the landmine that was the seventh grade. Those that did are priceless. Stay gold, Ponyboy, stay gold.