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Choose Good

Choose Good Choose Good

Tatum Ziembo, fourth place

“Tomorrow is the first blank page of a 365-page book, write a good one.” — Brad Paisley

“Make good choices!” “Behave!” We’ve all heard it. From parents, teachers, heck even your 87-year-old neighbor lady that calls you your mom’s name. I sometimes struggle to make good choices. I failed to make a lot of good choices when I was in seventh grade.

It was the first day of seventh grade. We had an assembly like we do every year. I was walking to our section of bleachers when I saw an unfamiliar face. I walked up the bleachers and sat near her. Three minutes later we were comparing schedules. She was in my fourth hour. Our principal gave us the yearly speech, and we went on with our day. Fourth hour came around and she was already there. She motioned for me to sit, so I did. We talked for the whole hour. I ended up sitting with her at lunch. Days went by and we were best friends.

That weekend I went to her house. We did homework for a little bit. Soon her phone started going off. She looked and saw that she had a Snapchat notification. She went to reply to the boy who had asked her if she wanted to meet at the park. She told him that I was over. He replied with, “Oh cool, bring her with.” Me lacking quite a bit of common sense said, why not. When we got to the park the boy wasn’t there yet, so we sat. Shortly after we sat down he showed up. All three of us talked for a while. We got up and started walking. We walked around the Millpond. The boy said he knew a spot in the woods. The two of them went to the spot while I stayed on the trail.

In September, it started at that. It progressed from there. Not in a good way either. One day in October my friend, her boyfriend, an eighth-grade boy, and I were walking home. We would always take Angel Flight to get to Main Street. We were by the bridge on State Street, and her boyfriend took a Juul out of his pocket. I got nervous. I had never even thought about vaping. The world of Juul’s was irrelevant to me. The three of them started “hitting the Juul” and blowing the smoke in my face. I told them to stop because I didn’t like it, but they wouldn’t. They said things like “Oh come on, chicken.” “No one will know.” “Did your mom raise a baby?” They kept telling me to try it. I knew my mom would smell it on me. I didn’t budge. Then my friend told me she would start rumors about me if I didn’t do it. Bad rumors too. I looked at her boyfriend who was holding the Juul hoping he would say something, but he didn’t. She shoved the Juul in my face forcing me to do it. I took it from her hand and quickly “hit” it. I refused to swallow the smoke, I breathed it out as fast as I could. I wanted to cry. I hated myself for giving in.

Suddenly my future flashed before my eyes. What if my parents found out? I would have to kiss figure skating and softball goodbye for starters. After that we went to her house, it was right up the street, so it was a short walk. I said that I was just going to walk home.

When I got home I showered right away. When I got out my mom came into my room and asked what we all did. She only thought it was my “best friend” and I. I said that we watched TV and did homework. Later that night my heart was racing and I couldn’t sleep. What if she knew? For sure she would be disappointed, or would she understand? I didn’t want to risk it, so I said nothing. May came around, and I had witnessed my “best friend” do so many bad things. I couldn’t take it. I had a giant weight on my shoulders. I cracked. I told the vice-principal everything. The Juul’s. The weed. The sex. Everything. I told him every bad thing she had done since we’d been friends. Not even an hour later rumors were flying and everyone was saying that I had snitched. I tried to stay positive and deny it as the vice principal said. It took everything in me not to break down and cry. I stayed strong. That night was a different story though. My “best friend” started texting me furiously. Asking if I had snitched and why. I stopped responding to her texts, so she called me. I declined the first one and told my dad. He took me to the downstairs living room and said to call her back. He took his phone out and recorded the whole conversation.

The next three weeks were hell. She did her best to threaten me and break me down. She wanted me to know that she was as angry as a person could possibly be. I tried to deal with it and ignore it. Heck, my dad even told me some sassy comebacks. Nothing seemed to get her off my back though. Until eventually the cops told her to back off, then she did. In life we never lose friends, we only learn who the true ones are. She was not a true friend. She was a toxic mistake that influenced bad choices.

What I’ve learned from my seventh-grade year is that you need to surround yourself with good people. If you surround yourself with people who pressure you into doing everything badly, you will break and do whatever it is they want. When I was surrounded by people that made bad choices, I made bad choices. My bad choices did end up getting me in trouble with the law. If I could go back, I wouldn’t change a thing though. I learned from my mistakes. Had none of it happened, I wouldn’t be the same person I am today. Mistakes are key to life as long as you learn from them. As long as you don’t repeat your mistakes, and if you learn from them, you’ve got life in the bag.

My law of life is to make good choices. Learn from my mistakes and choose good things. Good friends. Good choices. Good attitude. Good everything if possible. By choosing good you are setting yourself up for a good future. Choose good.