In our lifetime, we meet hundreds of different kinds of people. The same people that we encounter, has a great chance of staying irrelevant and a stranger to us. However, there is also a probability that the people we meet become our acquaintances, friends, and even enemies. The people that we remember for the rest of our lives, and might even look up to, are the ones that make a tremendous impact in our lives. They are the people that help us shape our attitudes and character. These inspiring people may come as a football star, a parent, a great speaker, a movie star, and even Chuck Norris. However, there is an old saying of "tell me who your friends are, and I will tell you who you are". This quote is significant because friends and friendship plays a key role in one’s formation. As a young adult, I have made lots of friends, and lost just as much. I was lucky and blessed enough that I met one of the most influential people in my life, John Paul Flores II.
John Paul "Papa Son" Flores II was a character. He was young, energetic, free-spirited, and happy. There was not a single dull moment around him. Whenever I was in middle school, John Paul was the class clown. If he wasn't laughing or smiling, John Paul was probably out to get you laughing with him. In my previous catholic school, bringing cell phones to school was treated as if it was a mortal sin. It was almost vile and evil just to possess one! They were strict and stern when it came to that specific rule. Unfortunately, John Paul became a victim to the "if I see your phone, it'll be taken up" rule. What made it more unfortunate was the fact that the old English teacher, Mr. Behr, was not renowned for student forgiveness. He was one tough English teacher. Instead of being upset, he nervously handed his phone to the teacher, smiled, and sat back down. Everything was back to normal, or so we thought. Then, suddenly, his phone “accidentally” goes off. It felt like time slowed down as the loud and dirty rap song rang across the classroom. The horror of my old English teacher’s face was just priceless. He scrambled as he tried to unlock the drawer where he had kept John Paul’s phone. Surprisingly, instead of bursting in anger, he and the rest of the class blurted a huge laughter. The incident was absolutely priceless. It was as if the strict persona that my teacher was noted for ceased to exist. Only John Paul Flores II was capable of overcoming the tough cell phone rule by “accidentally” playing a dirty rap song and embarrassing my poor English teacher.
John Paul was one of the most caring people that I knew. We all know that middle school is a major climax in our lives. It signals the end of childhood, and the beginning of adolescence. John Paul was there when I thought my life was completely over. He was there when I first broke my heart. The experience was rather unpleasant. Losing a girlfriend of one week was like the end of the world for a young lover boy. Yet, as I poured out my emotions to John Paul, I remember him telling me that “Life isn’t easy bro. But, it’s all on you whether you stay down and broken hearted, or you move on bro. Just remember I’m here for you”. To this day, I still remember that conversation that I had with him. At a young age, he was already capable of saying such wise words. He really was caring because he never left my side when I needed John Paul.
Even though life is full of happiness, it is also full of sadness. As I was just getting to know John Paul, he was suddenly taken away from me. John Paul passed away just two days before 7th grade ended. He passed away on June, 3, 2009. The question that’s always bugged me is “Why did John Paul do it?” Why did he decide to suddenly take his own life? When he died, I could only think of the words he just told me months earlier. He told me to never give up and always stand back up.
After months of thinking, I’ve realized the lessons that I have learned from this tragic incident. In a way, John Paul has taught me to be more caring and more understanding to everyone, especially my friends. He has taught me to be more caring because everything is not always as it seems. Everyone, including myself, is guilty of pretending to be fine. Since the tragedy in my life, I have become more caring and observant when it comes to my friends. Although I am sad that John Paul had to leave so soon, he will always be treasured in my heart. He will forever be my best friend.