I will just tell you, right off the bat, that this story is based on real life. Stick around, I need your input at the end.
Severing the Friendship Ties
Matt clutched his paper lunch bag tighter between his fingers. He hated lunch, mainly because he never knew where to sit.
And it was the only time period in the day when he had to endure Lance.
Matt stepped behind a group of teenage girls and kept a few paces back from them as they entered the lunchroom. Maybe Lance wouldn’t find him today. Maybe he wouldn’t have to listen to Lance’s loud voice or put up with this immature attitude.
He lifted his head a bit to look over the girl’s shoulder in front of him. So far, so good. The girl, sensing him behind him, glanced back and gave him a disinterested once over.
Matt flashed a lop-sided grin and moved past the girls and toward a table at the edge of the lunchroom.
The noise was deafening. But even though it was loud in the lunchroom, it was nothing compared to Lance’s boisterous antics.
He gingerly sat down and opened his bag. He smiled. He loved the lunches his mom packed for him. They were always full of good stuff. He pulled out a crust-less peanut butter and jelly sandwich, Cheez-Its, a can of root beer and a baggie stuffed with mult-colored Twizzlers.
His favorite candy.
He popped the tab on his can and looked around. He didn’t really mind eating lunch by himself. It was a welcome relief from his day – it gave him a chance to unwind and de-stress a bit before he tackled his afternoon classes.
He released a long, soft sigh and ripped open his sandwich. His fingers dug into the spongy bread and his smile grew. He loved the frozen peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, especially when they were soft and gooey. He lifted the circular sandwich to his lips when he heard it.
Lance’s voice, calling out his name.
In the middle of the lunchroom.
People began to twitter in amusement and turned their heads trying to locate him.
Many found him. And to Matt’s utter horror, so did Sarah. The girl he had been in love with since 4th grade.
He sighed and slowly lowered his sandwich, his appetite dissipating into wispy smoke.
“Matt! Dude! I’ve been looking all over for you.”
Matt didn’t answer.
“So, what’s up?”
Matt very calmly, and with precise movements, pulled out his book with one hand, and lifted his sandwich with the other.
He took a generous bite and was chewing quietly when it happened.
The temper tantrum.
“What the heck? Why are you ignoring me? What, I’m not GOOD enough for you?”
Matt tried to ignore the stares from his peers, but he knew they were looking – and laughing.
At him, most likely.
“I DON’T LIKE BEING IGNORED, MATT.” Lance crossed his arms and openly pouted.
Matt took a breath. He kept his eyes trained on his book and though he appeared outwardly calm, his heart was hammering so hard in his chest he felt light headed.
“You’re embarrassing me, Lance. I’ve already told you. I don’t want to hang out with you if you don’t learn to control yourself. I’m right here,” he glanced quickly at the boy, “you don’t have to yell.”
“WHO SAYS I’M YELLING?”
Matt just looked at him with raised eyebrows. He shook his head and went back to reading. The words wavered before his eyes and he had no idea what he was reading.
He never thought he would ever think this, let alone mean it, but he was actually looking forward to going back to class.
And away from Lance.
Matt? Is MK. Lance? Is MK’s “friend.” We’ll continue to call him Lance.
Let me explain …
We are now into the fourth day of the school year and MK is miserable. Not because of his teachers, his classes, or even his peers, but rather because of one lone boy – a boy he’s known since second grade.
This boy has always been loud (and in my opinion, obnoxious). And MK has always rolled with that loudness and seemed to like this boy and liked to hang out with him.
Until this year. Apparently, MK has done a bit of maturing over the summer and he no longer finds this boy quite so amusing. In fact, this boy is still stuck in grade school, apparently, because MK tells me that a lot of kids are now making fun of this boy and his loud voice and overly-dramatic gestures and attitude.
In fact, MK sort of thinks the boy acts feminine – if you catch my drift.
But that’s not even the real issue (though that makes him uncomfortable). The real issue is he’s not sure how to handle this. He’s tried talking to the boy, “Dude, you’re embarrassing me. Cut it out.” And the boy gets all bent out of shape, raises his voice and just causes a scene so that it’s just better to endure his behavior than try and confront him about it. (And yes, MK has tried to talk to him privately, but it still escalates into a problem, from what MK tells me).
MK’s other friends are too freaked out to be around Lance, so they avoid him, leaving MK holding the embarrassment. MK doesn’t know what to do. He doesn’t want to hurt this boy’s feelings, he’s tried talking to him but Lance doesn’t seem to get the message.
MK is now thinking about emailing the boy – maybe Lance will actually LISTEN to what he has to say instead of making a scene and getting all defensive.
What would you advise your son to do if you were in my shoes?
EDIT: MK and his friend talked on the phone last night. He told the friend that he’s under a lot of stress this year with all of his music activities and he doesn’t have time to stress about his freinds’ behaviors. I was very impressed with how he handled himself – he was very mature and understanding, “I know you’re like that … I understand … but this is how I feel.”
I don’t know if anything was resolved but it was a very proud momma moment – we are really raising this kid right. It’ll be interesting to see how this kid handles the “truth.” Hey, if you don’t have honesty, then what do you have.