Never Be the Same Again!

Rotary Club of Pismo Beach / Five Cities
Akash Salam, First Place
Grade 7, Middle School Division
Ms. Duarte, Paulding Middle School

It was a beautiful morning; white, fluffy clouds drifting carelessly
across the blue, bright sky, morning birds chirping as they got ready
for a quick breakfast, tall trees covered by leaves upon leaves. Won-
dering if the day could have been any better, I walked through dew
covered grass and looked at the guys getting ready to play kickball.
Little did I know that this perfect day would turn into my worst night-
mare…. “Akash! Hey, Akash! Join our team, dude!” cried a voice
from the kickball field. I jogged the rest of the way and joined the
three players.
“I get Akash,” cried William with a lot of enthusiasm. I strolled over
to William, who gave me a high-five, and stood beside him. William
was my best friend from second grade on. He always stood by me no
matter what and was an all around great person. He was almost a
foot taller than me and weighed nearly 220 pounds (no offense to
that), and was a terrific friend to have.
“Fine! You can have him,” Jack said, showing anger. “I get Steve.
Come on, Steve!” Jack was by far the meanest maniac in the 6th
grade. The guy was legendary for trash talking and picking on kids.
With a sad expression upon his face, Steve walked over to Jack, who
gave him a back-breaking slap on the back.
Kickball wasn’t the most interesting sport in our school, not even
close. 6th graders were more interested in social life, you know…
girlfriends and boyfriends. William and I always enjoyed kickball, but
didn’t like it when Jack was involved in any way. And the idea of two-
on-two didn’t appeal to us either.
“You go first, Akash”, William requested with a small smile. That’s
what I liked about William. He cared more about his family members
and friends, than himself. I jumped on the batter’s plate and waited
for the pitch. Jack pitched the ball with all of the power in his entire
body. The ball came at me so fast, that I couldn’t position my legs
correctly. Still, I managed to kick the thing past Jack and toward mid-
field. Instantly, I ran toward first base, but noticed that the ball was
already thrown by Jack and reaching Steve, who stood on first waiting
for the ball. I sprinted but the ball was catching up to me. I slid,
touched the base, and looked up to see if the ball made it as well.
Steve was clutching it in his hands with a confused expression.
“You’re out, Akash. Get off the plate and join your losing team.
Here, give me the ball, Steve!. “You lose, sucker!” Jack screamed. “I
wasn’t out! I made it before Steve caught the ball!” I protested.
“Yeah, right! Get OFF, Akash. You are OUT!” roared Jack
“No, I was safe!” All of a sudden, Jack threw the ball right at me,
aiming for my legs, but he missed. Gritting my teeth, I rushed toward
him and pushed him. Jack slammed into the ground with an earth
shaking force. Everyone froze. Everyone was silent. Everyone was
shocked. Everyone was a …witness. I was shocked myself, for do-
ing such a horrible thing. Terror came to me when I looked at Jack.
Much to my amazement, Jack was up on his feet, clutching his stom-
ach with his left hand, while his right one pointed directly toward me.
“NO! Jack don’t. I’m sorry….” I couldn’t finish the sentence as
Jack punched me right in the stomach. He then aimed for my head,
but I dodged him and attacked with a kick right at his wounded arm,
followed by a strong blow at his head. Seeing that he didn’t go down,
I closed my fist and struck a blow at his neck. Jack instantly fell to the
ground, face first. Blood came gushing out the cut that my kick made
in his middle finger. Jack forced himself up, and with a disgusted ex-
pression on his face, whispered, “You’re gone Akash, out of this
school!” He rushed toward the school office, trying not to fall over.
“Akash…why, why did you do that pal? You might get suspended
or even expelled!”, William said with a sad and disappointed tone.
He came over and rested his hand on my shoulder. I didn’t move, I
couldn’t move. What have I done? Fighting at school! What if Jack
told on me? He surely will. How will my parents react to this horrible
incident? I couldn’t think about it anymore. My stomach hurt. I be-
gan to sweat and felt extremely dizzy.
“I…I don’t know William, I don’t know what to do. I better go, don’t
wanna be late for class”. With that, I hurried toward my classroom,
leaving William behind. As soon as I reached my class, I was told by
my teacher to head to the office. She had a disappointed and
shocked expression on her face. Surely, I was being sent to the office
regarding the fight, but what would I do? I have never been sus-
pended or expelled in my whole life, heck I didn’t even go to the office
for anything bad at all. As I walked through the deserted hallway, I
thought to myself if this was the last time I would be walking through
this hallway, smelling the cookies being baked in the cafeteria, hear-
ing the chatter of the kindergartners, or see my school.
Upon entering the office, I noticed that Jack was sitting on a chair
with bandages all over his hand and an ice pack on his head and an-
other one on his neck. The principal, Mr. Norveka, was looking at
Jack with a sorry expression, but not anger. When he finally noticed
me, Mr. Norveka commanded, “Akash, sit.” Suddenly his expression
changed; it became irritated. “So, let me get this straight,” Mr.
Norveka started, “Akash, you purposely punched Jack …” “Sir, I…”
I tried to defend myself, but didn’t have any luck. “Don’t interrupt me.
Akash, you punched Jack in his stomach, then kicked his finger, and
finally elbowed him on his head. You realize this is illegal at school?”
questioned Mr. Norveka. I had to think of something that would get
me out of this, but what?
“I didn’t hit, punch, or elbow Jack! He’s lying, Mr. Norveka! I would
never do such a horrible thing to anyone!” “Then how do you explain
the cuts and bruises?” challenged the principal. Without looking at
him, I answered, “It was William, sir! William is the one who did it! I
swear!” I had to do something to save myself and blaming seemed
the only option. “William? Is that true, Jack? Did William hit you?
You told me Akash did it!.” “WHAT!? No, no, Akash did this to me!
It was Akash! Tell the truth you liar! Don’t blame your best friend,
William!” Jack shouted.
“You’re a liar, Jack! You are just blaming me because I’m better
than you at sprinting, and you want to get me expelled! You know
William did this!” I exclaimed, trying to be as confident as I could pos-
sibly be. “Stop it, you two! I’m calling William and I’m going to get the
truth.” I felt dry to the pit of my stomach. Will William tell him the
truth or the lie?
When William saw Jack and me, he lost the small amount of color
in his face. He made eye contact with me, but not for long. “William
sit, please.” Mr. Norveka explained everything. After a minute of
dead silence, William finally replied, “I didn’t do it.”
Tears rolled from his eyes as he spoke those few words. He tried
to hold the tears with his fingers, but couldn’t manage. “So, Akash
did it?” Mr. Norveka questioned, looking at me with an I-knew-you-
did-it-expression. Jack quietly snickered. William didn’t have a re-
sponse to this. The poor boy looked as if he had been slapped in his
face and then humiliated in front of millions of people. William, you
may leave,” the principal finally requested. William left, without look-
ing at me or anyone else. Suddenly I started to cry. “I am so disap-
pointed in you, Akash. You hurt someone, and then you blame it on
your best friend, thinking you can get away with it? Jack, you may go
back to class.” Jack stood up, glanced at me with a grin, and left.
The principal asked, “Akash, why?” I didn’t answer. I felt so sad
that I wanted to disappear from the face of the earth. “You will be
given a 5 week suspension.” The principal began calling my parents.
. My life completely changed after that incident. Completely. My
parents were so shocked and disappointed that they didn’t talk to me
that day. The following morning, my mom cried so much, it seemed
as if her son had died. My dad was almost the opposite. He was
extremely furious. I had to avoid him at all costs. The following days
were the worst in my entire 12-year-old life. I stayed in my room,
kept quiet and read books, coming out only to consume dinner and
lunch. My parents never talked with me anymore. I have never seen
them act that way. They were just so…so disappointed that it was
unbelievable. When in my room, I sometimes heard them say, “What
will happen to him, what’s the reason for us to live?”
As the following days passed, my parents became normal again.
Well, not like they once were, but normal enough to talk to me. I had
lost my old parents…I so much wish I had them back! And my
friends? Well, there were none. William, who used to come over to
my house every single day of the week, never showed up again or
called or played with me online. I had lost my best friend because of
a lie, a horrible lie. My other friends never contacted me. They went
on with their lives, forgetting the once great Akash. The word
“friendship” disappeared from my vocabulary.
My neighbors didn’t have different opinions about me either. My
parents were secretive about my suspension with my relatives, so
they didn’t behave as badly After the five dreadful weeks, I returned
to school. It was the last thing I wanted to do, but I had to because of
my parents.
School was much, much worse. William had moved out of the city.
Jack had changed and became a “good” guy with friends appearing
everywhere he went. My teachers were awful to me; they knew what
had happened and didn’t appreciate it at all. My principal ignored me.
Not that surprising.
As days passed, I learned that my fight with Jack did something that
caused the whole school to suffer. Our school, Guilevia Elementary,
was given awful scores on behavior control. I don’t know if our fight
affected the decision, but I was sure that it had an impact on it. Be-
cause we fought, the school suffered. I felt miserable.
Did I tell the truth to the principal? I lied, causing my friendship to
collapse. Was it fair to all concerned? The whole school and
neighborhood suffered miserably because I battled in a stupid fight for
no reason whatsoever. Did it build good will and better friendship? I
lost all of my friends and don’t know if I’ll ever have a friend once
more. Was it beneficial to all concerned? Beneficial? It was the
worst possible incident that ever occurred to Guilevia; a student caus-
ing all this trouble to get away from a small suspension! Even a thief
stealing goods wouldn’t be as bad. I did all that. It was unbelievable!
As I lay on my bed that lonely night, I didn’t know if I was ever going
to have a future, friends, or family that cared for me. I had betrayed
everyone. I didn’t know if I would ever become normal again, but I
did know that my life would never, ever be the same ….

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