I find it odd how one’s perspective can change instantly, especially about another person. In one moment, you may think one thing about a person, and the next, something totally different. The way that we take in life and express our opinions on a variety of different topics changes from time to time as we hear more on the topic or are exposed to the opinions of those around us. I came to a deep realization last week in my second hour physical science class that brought me to thinking of this topic. The more I think of it, the more questions and mysteries unveil before me, so I apologize ahead of time if I tend to ramble on.
There is the guy in my science class who sits one seat behind me in the next row over. I do not know his name and I don’t think that many people do, as he never speaks a word in class. He has long, dark, unnatural hair that hangs in his eyes and covers most of his face with lengthy, baggy pants, and his usual dark hoodie. Most of the time, he is found slouching in his chair with a solemn expression on his face, never expressing his thoughts or speaking to anyone. Our teacher, Mr. Potts, is constantly telling him that he is missing numeral assignments and he is never allowed to participate in labs, for he does not complete his homework.
He seems like the usual slacker who doesn’t give a care and is just waiting until he turns sixteen so he can drop out of school, right? Well, that’s what I thought too.
Reaction time was the lesson for the day, and knowing my teacher, I knew that he would have many interesting life stories to share with us that always led to questions from students. In our science class we are always falling behind from having casual conversations with our teacher that usually drawl out until the bell rings, and I knew that this was to be one of those days. Of course it was.
Mr. Potts had detoured from the main topic and had begun to talk about deer in the road as a car is coming. He mentioned that if we ever saw a deer up ahead as we are driving, we were to not swerve or stop, but to continue and run the deer over for we might swerve into a ditch or another car otherwise. This of course brought up arguing and debating from the students, with complaints of animal cruelty and such. During these talks that we share, I usually do homework or draw quietly for I concentrate the best when I am multi-tasking, and I was drawing the tattoo-style Chinese wyvern for Mr. Gifford’s possible future blog layout. The minutes rushed by as the conversation deepened and it seemed as if we were in Debate class, especially with classmates such as Maria who plans to be a lawyer later in her life.
Soon, we had trailed off into driver safety with the argument of whether or not seat belts kill more people than they save, now not having anything to do with reaction time. I listened intently as I drew my picture and I heard many classmates tell stories of crashes they have heard on the news or seen in town, expressing their views on seat belts. After I had finished drawing my picture, I sat back in my desk and continued to listen to the argument.
Just then, the quiet guy who sits diagonally back from me raised his hand to speak. It was as if everybody in the classroom had noticed that the guy who never spoke was about to speak for the classroom came to a dead silence. Mr. Potts called on the student and his voice came in a deep, low mumble. “I lost my brother in a car crash last year,” he said.
I don’t know what it was inside me, but I felt a deep sorrow for this person and was very disturbed to hear this. The moment the words came from him, the thoughts rushed through my head of how I had always thought that he was the “quiet emo guy,” yet my perspective could have been mistaken. I cannot quite put my thoughts into direct words for there seemed to be a flood of them, yet I did realize that he had a reason to be constantly quiet and unfriendly. I could not imagine my brother being killed, and I felt very sorry for the guy, however I knew that is not what he wanted. As he continued, his story grew worse.
“I am sorry to hear that,” replied Mr. Potts. “You said this was last year?”
“Yes. There was a drunk driver and he swerved into us. I broke my collar bone and my mom broke her legs, while he broke his neck.” I was surprised to see that as he spoke, his face stayed solemn and serious. It did not change in expression, nor did his eyes.
“How old was your brother?” I could tell that Mr. Potts did not know what to say.
“He was five years old.”
“And was he wearing a seat belt?”
“Yes, it was the seat belt that killed him.”
“Ah, well I hate to hear stories like that where he would have died if he wore his seat belt or he wouldn’t have died if he hadn’t.” My teacher shrugged as he nervously thought of what to say.
As this conversation carried on, I could not believe what I had heard. I thought that it would be unbearable to have my five-year old brother die beside me as I walk away alive and I felt saddened that my classmate kept a serious face. He did not express any sorrowful feelings or hurt expressions. His slouching position in his seat did not change, and his continence remained; yet I bore a new perspective on him and watched him carefully through the corner of my eye. It amazed me at how his image had instantly changed for me in such a drastic way. I am not sure if you understand what I am saying, but I find this very emotional and deep in a way. I will never think of this person the same again for now I know the secret that may be the reason to his secretive quietness and I think that it is very interesting. I may have thought that I knew all about my classmate, but I didn’t know anything about him. The world is full of secrets…