The Four Way Test and Me

Rotary Club of Pismo Beach / Five Cities
Kara Scott, Third Place
Grade 11, High School Division
Mrs. Hoover , Arroyo Grande High School

To be honest, I have never even heard of the Four Way Test. About
three days ago my literature teacher assigned the class an essay on
it. It was a mandatory assignment that I didn’t even plan on writing. I
have always questioned my actions, of course, but never in this way.
How was I supposed to write a past experience on something that
never happened? I wasn’t going to make it up, and I’m not a very
good writer. I just figured I would get an alternate assignment or
something, until last night. I was put in the perfect position to put
these questions to use.
I am sixteen years old and I usually consider myself to be a fairly
responsible person. I wasn’t getting along with my mother last night
and I was feeling trapped. I needed to get out. A couple of guys
called me and invited me to a party. Now, I’ve never really been the
partying type, but when I realized that nothing exciting was going to
happen that night, I accepted the invitation. Once we got there, a
dark-haired girl introduced herself. Her name was Jennifer. I shook
her hand and told her that it was nice to meet her. She immediately
asked for my ID. Nervously, I informed her that I didn’t have it on me.
I told her she had nothing to worry about and that I was definitely
eighteen. All I wanted was to have a good time, yet I felt very low and
disgusted in myself for lying to her.
I asked myself, “Is this the truth?” No, I’m sixteen years old and I’m
a junior in high school. I get good grades and I do my chores. I
wouldn’t be caught dead at a party, but I couldn’t tell her that. She
handed me a cold beer out of the bathtub, which had been filled with
ice and a couple of twenty four packs. I started to drink it, though I
hated the dry, tart taste. Then I questioned myself again, “Is this fair
to all concerned?” Of course not, I am a minor at a party with people
over the age of twenty-one who I have never even seen before. I was
putting not only myself in a bad position, but everyone else also.
Then, a guy that was at least six years older that I am, sat by me. At
first, he asked me to do things I wasn’t comfortable with, but I wasn’t
paying attention so he started telling me. I assured him that I didn’t
want to. He kicked everyone out of the house and told me to dance
for him. I said no countless amount of times, but he insisted. He
yelled at me, and asked me why I even came. He wouldn’t leave me
alone, and then he pulled me off the couch to make me dance. I sat
back down and thought, Would it build good will and better friend-
ships?” No, the only kind of person you are going to meet at a place
like that is somebody you don’t need to.

Finally, I got up, but not to dance. I grabbed my cell phone so I could
ask my boyfriend to come get me, though I knew he’d be disap-
pointed. The man took my phone and wouldn’t let me leave. I
pushed him back, pulled my phone out of his hands, and headed for
the door. He tried to grab me, so I yanked my arm back and hit my
elbow on the wall behind me. I opened the door as fast as I could
and slammed it shut as I stormed out. As I walked away, I knew ex-
actly the kinds of things he was saying about me. I sat on the curb
out front, where I could still hear the shaky sound of his intoxicated
voice, and the bass of the stereo in the background, shaking the win-
dows of the house. The music was so loud I almost couldn’t hear
myself think. I slid my phone open to dial my boyfriend’s number
when I remembered something. I still had one question left. I picked
at the rubber on the bottom of my shoe and I thought, “Is this benefi-
cial to all concerned?” Yes, there was no doubt in my mind. I knew
at that moment that I needed to do at least one thing right for the
night. I dialed the number as fast as I could until I heard his worried
voice on the other line. I waited in the cold, midnight breeze when he
pulled up in the driveway. I didn’t tell him what happened, and he
didn’t ask. He knew I didn’t want to discuss it. As I got out of the car,
I kissed him and told him how much I appreciated it. I snuck inside
and slid into my bed. I was disappointed with myself, but I learned
from my mistake. I woke up this morning feeling nauseous, but I
couldn’t miss the bus. I drug myself out of bed and threw on some
clean clothes. Now I’m sitting here, as tired as ever, writing this es-
say in Saturday school, a well deserved punishment.

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