Paige Wagner - Grade 9, Centerville High School
Rumor Has It
William Faulkner, author of the novel Mosquitoes, once said, "Talk, talk, talk; the utter and heartbreaking stupidity of words" when describing the brainlessness of gossip. Those who talk about others in such a foolish way are bound to suffer retaliation. And so when I overheard two people talking rudely about a friend of mine, I stepped into the conversation.
They had been criticizing her attitude and even went as far as to evaluate her appearance and the way she dressed, but didn't even manage to do so quietly. I could hear them mocking her from halfway across the crowded room. I have always been a strong willed and defensive person, and the way they had been talking about her enraged me. A wave of emotion, anger or even just simple decency, pulled me over to the pair. I asked them to stop talking about her like that; she wasn't here to defend herself. This is not your fight, one had said to me. I told her that didn't matter, I thought it was incredibly rude that they would talk about someone that way. Both of them rolled their eyes and walked out of the room together, but thankfully they had stopped talking about her. Just as I turned to leave, I spun around and ran into the exact friend whom they were gossiping about. She looked up at me with tears welling in her eyes, muttered a quiet "thank you", and gave me the tightest hug I'd ever experienced. It's crazy how just a few simple words can have such an effect on an individual. I walked out of that classroom with a little bit of bounce in my step, knowing that I had made an effect on someone.
Humans are more complicated than any other organism that has ever prospered on this earth. Some see the good in the bad, whilst some see the bad in the good. There is evil and charity in all of us; yet we must learn to access and act upon our own goodness. Reflect on your actions and improve upon your own character in order to support the slowly collapsing society around you. Don't assume that your words will not greatly affect someone; everything you say will reflect upon you. As a great author named Donald Miller once said, "When you stop expecting people to be perfect, you can learn to like them for who they are."