Hey Man, I'm Worried About You

One friend, one e-mail, one life-changing message.
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Hey Jared,

Thought I'd shoot you an e-mail about some stuff I've wanted to say for a long time, but I hadn't figured out how to say it. Please read to the end before deleting, OK?

It might be kinda dorky to mention it, but I was thinking lately about how you were the first person I met when we moved here. Other kids on the street just ignored me, but you let me play with your trucks in the driveway while my parents unloaded boxes. After a week, you'd introduced me to everyone on the block. You told them I was your new friend and they'd better be nice to me or else. I thought you were great. I don't think I ever thanked you for being my best friend back then. Maybe it's a little late, but thanks.

There's a point to all this. Really. And it's not just that I'm getting all sappy about this being our last year in high school. Yeah, our senior year starts next week, and, yeah, it will be hard to say goodbye to everyone. But I needed to e-mail you for another reason.

Since we've been in high school, we haven't been as tight as we were when we were kids. There's nothing wrong with that. We're into different things, and we've got our own groups now. But, some of the people you hang with—I mean, I hate to sound like your mom—but they seem like bad news.

I know when we both were in elementary school it was cool to hang around James and Scott. I mean, they were big eighth graders, right? They didn't seem so bad. But then I remembered when they tried to get us to smoke some weed with them. Scared us to death. Now I see you hanging out with them behind the baseball fields, smoking and drinking. I don't know if James is really into crystal meth, like some people say, but just what I've seen is bad enough. Those guys are three years out of high school, and they can't come up with anything better to do than stand around and harass the girls on the softball team? They might end up in jail (again, for James).

I also know some of the guys in your group brag about sleeping with their girlfriends. I've even heard some stuff about you and Mindy. I hope it's not true. Call me weird and uncool, but I believe sex is for married people only. I just see too many people from school hurt by all the mixed-up emotions caused by having sex. I don't want to see you hurt like that.

I can imagine that you're thinking right now, Who does he think he is to tell me how to live my life? He has no idea what it's like to be me. And you're totally right. I have this family that must seem like it has it all together. You have a stepdad who hates you. I'm sure you're also still frustrated about how much your mom drinks. You have more hassles than I can even imagine. Even though life's been hard on you, there are some things I kind of envy about you.

You're an awesome skateboarder, of course, and the stuff you did for art class last year was incredible. And you're so good with people. When you're in a group, everybody listens to you. You're like a magnet. I know you do a lot of stuff I couldn't begin to do. I remember even thinking in sixth grade that you'd end up more successful than me.

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