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A tense moment sparks a meditation on friendship

Friends. Friends whose shouts are the reverberating crash of ocean waves on a rocky cliff, slowly sanding down its rough edges in the way that we shape each other. Like the slow ascension of water as it marches up the steady inclination of a beach. Those are my friends.

I stand still, watching a distant world whiz by me. The world moves around me without noticing my presence. My head spins. I hear a shout echo around me, but I am unable to discern its location.

Suddenly, my world comes into view. A wooden patio bench with a glossy metal frame stained from the numerous foods spilled on it. An opaque wall with the silhouettes of people on the other side like a Halloween jack-o’-lantern. I share a brief smile with my distorted reflection, but soon I feel the tension in the area rising like the unavoidable sparks of a future wildfire, and my instincts kick in.

In the moments that my back was turned, something terrible has taken place. I look back on what happened with the discerning eyes of an eagle. A broken plate, potatoes on the floor, two angry kids, and one authoritative figure. A single result. A single result that had to end this way—shattered work, waste, anger, and authority. Thoughts about a reasonable explanation fill my head like an ocean about to overflow, but one stands out like a red balloon in a monochrome movie. I hold onto that idea like a mountain climber grasping onto the side of a mountain with a single hand, waiting for the time when the howling winds will die down. A thorough search for an explanation commences until one is found. The kids, deflated like two flat tires, regretfully describe the cause with an apology brewing in their mind. I stand there, my original idea reinforced with the steel of command. We talk for an hour. A whole hour, until we settle the issue and prepare to leave it in the waiting hands of the past. For a brief moment, we all share a look, and a realization crosses our minds the way sunlight gracefully prances across the lush fields of vegetation. We share a smile. My friends, even though they may cause trouble, will always figure things out.

Oliver Cho
Oliver Cho, 12
Hillsborough, CA