It was a bright crisp morning. I was excited as I dressed for the last day of school. I had organized a group bike ride. It wasn’t just any “last day of school”. It was my last day at Cascade Junior High and likely my last day in the school system that I had called home since 1st grade. My best friend had organized a surprise going away party just a year before when we were in 7th grade. All of my classmates had come and then we didn't move. That was a little embarrassing. But now as an 8th grader I knew that this really would be the end. We were definitely going to move during the summer but I kept it a secret. The week had been filled with convincing everyone that riding together the last day to school would be fun. I had met with some opposition, “That means that I would have to get up early!” My answer to this depended on the person. “Yes, but it is only for one day. Then you can sleep in the rest of the summer!” To another I might say, “But it will be so much FUN!” I kept a running list in my head of who had said that they would come and used it occasionally, “Well, Sabrina said that she was coming.” I found that I was pretty persuasive.
I had watched the weather forecast and talked to everyone I could think of that lived on my side of the spread out, Indiana farming community. There were a handful of friends that lived in the small town of Clayton. I knew that if I could get them all to buy in to the idea we would have a great crowd with others that would meet us from outside of town. It was all about including everyone. I did not want anyone left out. I had even delightfully invited some of my classmates that had been hard to deal with in the past. After all, it was the last week of school and my last day with them. We were all to meet at the Clayton Food Store in the center of the small country town. It was perfect weather. I had asked everyone to be there one hour before we needed to be at school. I got ready quickly. We were only allowed to wear shorts on the last day of school. So I carefully picked out my favorite shorts and shirt and put them on. Out the door I went. I quickly hopped on my powder blue ten-speed. I couldn’t wait to see my friends! It was one mile from my farmhouse to town. Some days it seemed like a lot longer. It was such a beautiful morning, the birds sang, the sun warmed the pavement and lit the sky in amazing blue. I rode fast because I wanted to get there early. Before long I could see my fellow eighth graders congregated outside the store. As I approached I noticed that Peter was there. He was so cute. I scanned the crowd for my girlfriend. Susie was already there and now I was assured that I would have a best-friend to ride with in the midst of the crowd. The group grew with each passing minute. We were all arriving on time. I was so excited to see everyone! As I rode up I noticed that there was a water fight going on. Some of the boys had brought water guns and spray bottles. My friend Julie lived only a few doors down from the store and offered me a spray bottle if I wanted to fill it at her house. I sped down to her house, turned on the hose and filled it quickly. As I started back towards the store I noticed that the group had grown. Now there must have been twenty of my classmates there. Everyone was laughing and squirting water at each other. Before I knew it, I was going too fast. With the water bottle in my hand I tried to grab the handlebar brakes, but I couldn’t. I was forced to make a quick decision: Run into the crowd with my bicycle or put my feet down to stop. Neither were good options but I chose to put my feet down. I instantly flew forward and hit the pavement in front of everyone. Peter, the boy I had a crush on, looked down right at me. He laughed and asked, “Ride your bike much?” I was devastated. The humiliation was far worse than the wounds. In that moment, it made me question if I actually did know how to ride a bicycle. My friend, Julie offered to take me to her house and get cleaned up. I was glad to leave the crowd. They went on laughing and squirting water at each other. I could not figure out how I had gotten hurt in so many places. My knees and elbow were bleeding and so were my knuckles. We went into her house. No one was home. Julie helped me to wash up and put on a few bandages. I was thankful. I was still excited about the ride to school and mindful of the time. I knew that I would have to endure a few jokes about my wreck but knew that the joy of being with my friends in the morning sunshine, riding our bikes to the last day of school would make it all worth it. We walked out of Julie’s house and climbed on our bikes and as we looked up, we could see that the group was gone. They had left without us. I couldn’t believe it. After all of my planning and inviting no one thought to wait for me. Did anyone even wonder where I was? My best friend, Susie didn’t even wait. I could not believe that now I would have to suffer all of the wounds, riding a bike alone with someone I barely knew. There was no sight of the group. They were too far ahead for a “wounded” biker to catch up. So Julie and I rode to school. I could not help thinking that I had kept her from enjoying the morning with everyone too.
Through Story Group Exploration
There is good in this story, 'Life can be a great adventure, and if you are persuasive, others will join you!' However, they will also leave you. In fact, the lie I came to believe is that they most certainly will leave you.
People cannot be trusted, because they will leave me.
I shouldn't do anything with groups unless I can do it perfectly.
People don't really like me.
The Truth: As I look back, the group of my peers had to leave or they would have been late to school. I was late and received a tardy that was waived because of my accident. My friends could not have waited for me. Many of them had not even seen the accident, they were still busy playing in the water bottle fight. It felt like they had all stood still and looked at me but in reality it was only a few. Evil continues to whisper that people don't like me. It is a lie that I continue to fight. The truth is that people do like me. Those students did like me. They simply needed to go to school on time.