Andrew wonders what it would be like to be one of those people who didn't count; if he didn't show up for school...if it made no difference. One-Shot.
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High school was a weird place. I started high school when I was thirteen years old; seemingly early because I had a late birthday in October. Even though I was a young gun in an army of weapons, I still made my way through like a cannon. I fit in quite easily with the people that I attended school with, almost like I was a duck in water.
A lot of people craved that ability in their freshmen year. It's the one vital year in a high school career that can make or break a person. It defined one's status on the 'totem pole'; it determined whether a person would be popular or a loser, whether they'd be a bad or good student, whether they were involved or uninvolved. A person's first impression was what stuck in everyone's minds for the long four years to follow.
I was one of the 'lucky' ones; I managed to make quick friends with a lot of the bigger and cooler boys, I went through four girlfriends, and I made four sports teams. I was the most valuable player for the school rugby team. I won junior level homecoming king. I had nice clothes, cool stuff, and a great image. I made fast friends with all of the 'important' people and I instantly claimed my status of 'the' guy to be a Shermer High School.
People expected a lot from me. They expected me to be the guy who would determine whether or not someone was 'good' enough for our clique. I was the guy that decided where to sit in the cafeteria, or whose seat we stole on the bus. I was always the one to make the choice of which girl was 'bangable'. Because of me, a lot of people were put down, hurt, angered, or labeled 'loser' throughout high school, whether it was an indirect or direct play from me.
There were times that people were humiliated by my friends, and they didn't even know that it was actually me behind it all.
I wasn't really that type of person that would sit back and pre-meditate things like that. Hurting someone else for the hell of it wasn't exactly something that was on my mind. I had more important things to think about like scholarships, girls, and competitions. The problem was the pressure that I felt from the people around me. They expected a fearless leader and heartbreaker out of me.
That wasn't who I really was.
The people who were really close to me - like my older sister - always told me that I made a better hero than a villain. It was funny because I would have much rather preferred it to be that way. Instinctively I would have loved to jump to someone's defense and save them from unnecessary humiliation, yet those ever glowing eyes around me everyday made me do otherwise.
I was a walking, talking machine around those people; someone who I really wasn't.
Deep down inside I always knew that about myself. I hated that very aspect about myself, but because I had the all-American family, the athletic talent, and the popularity, no one ever saw it as a bad thing. They would always laugh and cheer me on no matter what I did. No one had ever confronted me about the way I acted or the things I said, and it made me wonder just how evil a place the world really was. Why was it that people - especially those people who were considered 'important' - condoned such actions from kids? Was that the way that America wanted its generations to be brought up?
I loathed myself for it, but continued with my ways until I met this guy. He wasn't anyone special, really, but he was the only person who ever had the guts to say to my face just how much of a prick I really was. It was the only time that someone had ever said it out loud and that hurt more than any teasing or prank could have ever hurt.
Sadly, I only had one response for him: you don't even count. I mean, if you disappeared forever it wouldn't make any difference. You may as well not even exist at this school.
Someone had finally felt the same way about me as I did, and the only cowardly thing I could do was hide behind that cool-guy wall that I had. Worst of all, it made me realize that that cool-guy wall was the only thing that I had going for me. It made me wonder what the people who 'didn't count' had. Surely, they didn't have that same sort of peer pressure that we had. Of course, everyone goes through peer pressure at some time in their life, but was it ever as bad as it was with the hungry sharks that were the 'popular' crowd?
I always wondered what it would be like to be one of them. To not have people chanting my name when I entered the gym, to not have high expectations from other students, to not have my family expect so much; what would it be like to have people not even acknowledge my existence?
Would it be so bad? Refreshing, maybe? Or would I miss it?
I think after all the nasty deeds that I participated in during my high school days; I wouldn't have deserved it back even if I did miss the attention. There were so many times that I wondered just what would have happened if my first day of school had gone differently. If I would have eaten lunch with the dorky looking kid in my science class instead.
I think that I would have liked to eat lunch by myself sometimes. No one would be there to steal my food and comment on how much my body needs the carbohydrates. I think that if I wouldn't have had to work out so much, I would have had much more time to enjoy my academic studies; then I could have gone to college for something that I really enjoyed.
I could have lived my entire teenage life doing what I really wanted to do; dress the way I wanted to dress without spending so much time in the morning making sure that I looked alright. I could have joined any school club that I wanted, as well as hung out with whoever I wanted - whether they were popular or not.
If I would have known then what I learned over the course of my high school career, I think I might have gone a different route. As much as I wanted to hurt that boy's feelings by telling him that he didn't count, in a way I kind of envied him for that. Who knows, maybe I would have been friends with that boy from the beginning. Maybe it would have changed the way the other students' (I shit on) way through high school. Maybe more people would have actually liked me for me. Maybe I would have had the chance to be that hero deep down inside that I knew I really wanted to be.
I mean the one I knew I really was.
Who knows, maybe things would have turned out for the better had I just been invisible. I know I would have less weighed on my mind. I wouldn't have been the machine that was created of me.
I envy that boy.