Sojourner: A Brief Look Back

By Kevin Price All Rights Reserved ©

Drama / Other


We all remember what it was like to have our first crush, to learn the value of friendship, to grow in our own confidences and to accept our regrets. We all remember what made us who we are today; the events in our lives that shaped us in more ways than one. I looked back and I wont ever forget what it felt like to become the person I am today... and I doubt anyone ever will.


People say that love could last forever. I guess the people who say that are right. I just hope it stays that way, because there is one person in my life that still hold close to my heart, even though she has a boyfriend and is thousands of miles across the Pacific. It’s tough to be away from somebody you loved for two years, never to see her again and probably not for a while or even for the rest of your life. Right now, I feel that feeling as I write, the feeling of wanting, the feeling of love… the feeling of a heartache. I wish that I could’ve expressed my love for her, since I have never felt this way before.
Two years ago, I attended Holy Family Catholic Academy in Hawaii, near the Hickem Airforce Base and the Pearl Harbor Naval Base. The year before, about 2010, it was a horrible experience. Continuing the streak of being a social outcast, I attended Moanalua Middle School. Those who say the public educational system in Hawaii sucks, it’s true. About a good 80% of the students there are really horrible. Many people hated my guts just to do so, seeing I was heavily depressed for years and being constantly shut out of the social structure there. I even took time to relax outside during Hawaiian History class, just sitting next to the door against the wall, staring out at the blue sky everyday. The experience was less than stellar. But, during that time, I did have dreams and wishes. Thankfully, those dreams and those wishes were granted the next year, even though it took me a good two months to actually get the message.

Anyways, it was about two months into the school year at HFCA, in the 8th grade. After a humiliating first month of work, trouble, and constant self-blame, I picked myself up. However, I didn’t pick myself up alone. Connor Barnard, William Finn, and Melanie Moore helped up to my feet. Connor was a smart, yet short, guy who was held back due to the fact that a medical sickness held him from completing 8th grade. He was nice, hilarious, sometimes crazy, and a great friend. William Finn was… a little different. Being in an emo state for about the first half of the school year, he was still a nice guy. He didn’t really believe in God… well, not yet anyway. He was smart in some areas and, sometimes, when it was time, he would be a very wise guy, giving some sweet advice on various subjects, like girls. Well, now that I think about it, some of his advice wasn’t that great. Then, there was Melanie Moore, a sweet, kind, and cool girl. Mel was kind, always caring for her friends. As I right this, it warms my heart so much that I could cry right now because of the great things they told me, the steps they helped me take.

However, there was one person that I held dear in that school and in my stay in Hawaii. She was, in my opinion, the most beautiful girl in the school and, possibly, the most beautiful girl I’ve ever seen in my entire life, even as I write in Yokosuka, Japan. Mikaela Hurst was that girl, a girl who always managed to laugh and have fun. She gets so many warnings from teachers when she constantly laughs and, sometimes, she gets slammed with a detention for laughing too much at the wrong time during class. However, a lot of the time, when she laughs, the teachers and the class join in because it’s too infectious. Ms. Copeland, the math teacher, usually slapped her with a detention when it became too much to handle, even though, she too, joined in the laughter. Her beauty, however, was memorizing. Her long, curly, brown hair was silky smooth, like silk thread that was woven not too long ago. Her smile was brighter than the sun over Hawaii during a sunny day. Just staring at her smile was enough to blind you if you were not too careful. Her eyes reminded me of smooth pools of milk chocolate. Mikaela was the most beautiful girl I’ve ever seen. She made my heart race every time I saw her.

Later down the road, after a slip up during band, several hard assignments, and constant worry of grades sinking, it started to really happen. It was science class in room 8A, my homeroom. Mrs. Ueshiro, the science teacher and the homeroom teacher, just finished teaching us, since we only had five minutes remaining in class. I worked hard with Melanie, Will, and Connor, working on terms and comparing and copying notes, just in case we wrote something wrong or completely screwed something up, which occasionally happened. After packing my bags up, prepping for the next class after lunch, I walked up to Mikaela and tapped on her shoulder. She turned to me, smiling.

“Oh, hey Kevin.” she said, smiling. My heart raced as I stood in front of her, standing as straight as I could so I that I would appear calm. I took a small breath.

“Hi, Mikaela.” I replied. “Can I ask you something… outside?” She nodded.

“Uh, sure.” she answered. Both of us walked outside to the hallway, next to the bathrooms and the water fountain so that no one could see what I wanted to ask her or what I was about to do.

“I want to ask you something.” I said to her.

“What is it?” Mikaela asked in reply. I don’t know why I did this, but I did anyway. I slowly knelt down on one knee and held out one hand to her. I looked into her eyes and cleared my throat and thoughts. She had a bigger smile on her face.

“Mikaela Hurst?” I asked her. “Would you like to go on a date with me at lunch?” She was shocked, in a good way.

“Kevin, I would love to!” Mikaela replied. After that little ‘proposal’, we walked back into the classroom. I approached my friends, Will and Connor. They didn’t know I was going to ask her on a lunch date.

“What happened out there?” Connor asked. “What did you ask her?”

“I asked her on a date during lunch.” I answered.

“So, what did she say?” he asked.

“She said…” I kept them in suspense. “Yes.” Both Will and Connor smiled, Connor holding up his hand, preparing for a high five.

“Nice, man!” Connor said. I high fived him after I high fived William, who smiled as well. “So, what are you going to say to her?”

“Well, I was thinking of going with the wind.” I replied. “Meaning, I would go along with the conversation.” After walking with my class down to the line, which was a little longer than usual, and getting my lunch with my lunch card, I walked across the courtyard to the tents.

The school didn’t really have a huge lunchroom, so we had tables established outside, with tents covering us from whatever kind of whether Mother Nature decided to pelt us with. And, usually, it was sunny. I thought that I would be sitting with Mikaela alone. Instead, her friends Erin Register and Jeremie joined in after she told them what I asked her.

‘I should’ve found something different to eat,’ I told myself, holding the hamburger in one hand and the chocolate milk in the other. The three girls sat across from me, my heart racing faster than ever before. Mikaela sat across from me, Jeremie sat to my left and Erin to my right. Jeremie was like a stereotypical popular girl, except she was a lot nicer than the stereotype suggested. Erin was a tall Korean girl who was also nice, but taller than most of the kids in the 8th grade, which was about only 40 something kids. Being nervous, I waited for her to start the conversation. However, it took me a good second to realize that it was I who had to start this conversation, since it was a good way to demonstrate what kind of guy I am. I cleared my throat and looked up at her.

“So, Mikaela, how are you today?” I asked her.

“I’m doing pretty good.” she answered. “How about you?”

“I’m doing pretty good as well.” I replied. I had just realized that I almost said what she just said. Me, being a pretty nervous person, I was thinking on the fly during the conversation.

“So, Kevin, what do you like to do?” she asked me. I knew where this was going, seeing that it would go back and forth.

“I like to write and draw pictures.” I said in reply.

“You write?” Mikaela asked. “What kinds of things do you write?”

“I can write stories, songs, poems, etc.” I answered.

“What kinds of stories do you write?” This was going to be tough to answer, since I kept all of my projects private. However, that didn’t stop me from answering the question.

“Well, I can write non-fiction, fiction, fantasy, basically anything.” I cleverly answered. Her smile grew bigger.

“So, why do you like me so much?” That was a question that I had to answer wisely. Messing up at this point is like shooting yourself in the foot in the middle of a dance club. Basically, it was just bad to mess it up.

“Well, I like you because you are different from other girls that I’ve met and liked before.” I answered.

“How do you mean?” she asked in reply. I had to, once again, answer wisely.

“Well, I see something in you that no other guy can see.” I told her. “I see something special, something that guys just couldn’t see because of the fact that they don’t take this seriously enough.”

“Oh, really?” she asked. “What do you see in me?” I was guessing that this was going to be a very emotional moment, especially when it came to things like this. In my head, thoughts kept bouncing around. However, it all straightened itself out after preparing my answer.

“I see a good heart.” I replied. “I see that you are an incredibly kind girl who deserves better when it comes to relationships. You deserve everything and the best of everything when it comes to a relationship and I doubt other guys can say or see that.” I looked into her eyes.

“Those other guys who just want to go out with you just because you’re hot really don’t see what I see in you.” I continued. “I don’t want to date you just because you’re beautiful and stunning. I want to date you because of the fact that you are beautiful, kind, different, and really unique compared to any other girl out there.” She started to tear up.

“Mikaela, I would do anything for you.” I told her. “No matter what.” She was slightly crying tears of happiness.

“Ahhhhh.” her friends said, smiling. “That was so beautiful.” Mikaela agreed, nodding.

“Kevin, you are so nice.” she kindly said. “But, I just got out of a relationship.” Inside, my heart kind of sunk. But, overall, it still felt good to say that to her, telling her everything about what I felt about her inside.

“Really?” I asked her.

“Yeah.” she replied. “I’m sorry. But, that was so beautiful, Kevin.” Never have I felt like this before. Happy, yet sad. Happy because I made Mikaela feel appreciated and truly wanted. Sad because of the fact that she doesn’t want to have a boyfriend right now, seeing that the last break up did not go so well, ending with Mikaela constantly being assault with basketballs. Well, attempted assaults, that is.

“Just ignore that bastard.” I told her. “He really doesn’t see who you truly are. He’s just mad because of that.” The date ended after lunch ended. Since then, I’ve felt warm and fuzzy inside. Over that time, I assured her that I would do anything for her, literally.

On the way to the library for class, I told her something that made her feel a little bit more special.

“Mikaela, I’m your soldier.” I said to her on the way to class. “Just let me know and I will do anything for you.” Turns out, it made her feel a lot better, considering the fact that a basketball nearly hit her face from that bastard who dated her and basically got dumped by. It also made her feel better, considering that I cared for her and she somehow felt a little safer.

After the date and a few months, things started to change for me. Old habits were nearly completely destroyed, thanks to the massive amounts of friends I had and the kindness of the great friends, Will, Connor, Mel, and countless others. However, Mikaela inspired me a lot more to drop these habits. Knowing that keeping these old habits was a bad idea, I decided to share them during Religion class, seeing that things were really confidential between classes, since my Religion teacher respected the privacy of class opinions and personal issues.

One class, I’ve decided to let the truth out, not only for my sake, but for the sake of my friends and Mikaela, since, like I said earlier, keeping these feelings, these memories in my head aren’t worth the trouble. After a quick session in our books, I’ve decided to share it with the class. The fortunate thing was that I was changing for real. The unfortunate thing was that I didn’t know how to say it. However, I disregarded my lack of a plan to tell clearly and told the class anyway. Since Connor mentioned depression before in a recent class, I had the idea to follow up on it to allow me to take an additional step to changing for my own sake and for my friends’ sake and even Mikaela’s sake.

“Uh, I like to share something with the class.” I said, raising my hand, taking the initiative. Mrs. Izon, the Religion teacher, smiled and nodded.

“Okay, Kevin.” Mrs. Izon replied. “What do you have to share?” I cleared my throat and tried to say it the best that I could. Everybody looked at me, even Connor, William, Mel, and Mikaela. I licked my lips, knowing that it saying this would relieve me.

“I have to say this because it’s killing me inside.” I said. “It’s been bothering me for years, including this year.” Everyone was still quiet, including Mikaela.

“A week ago, I woke up last night.” I started. “I went down stairs and entered the kitchen, filling up my cup with water from the fridge. I sat on the stool on the floor and looked up at the medicine cabinet, thinking about… hurting myself.” Everyone was still quiet. I started to feel a lot more honest.

“I got up from the stool and grabbed my mother’s heart pills.” I continued. “I looked at how many were in the bottle and I shook it. I looked at my cup and then at the bottle, wondering how much it would take to… kill me.” I could see Connor’s face, a little shocked expression on his face. I looked at everyone else. They had the same expression on their faces. I then started to finish.

“After a few minutes of thinking about my life, I drank the rest of the water.” I was nearly finished, with Mikaela’s eyes starting to tear up. “I put the bottle inside of the medicine cabinet and placed my cup back where it was originally. I said to myself, ’I have so much more to live for.’ I chose not to do it because of not only my own family, but also because of you guys.” My voice began to crack.

“You guys are like a second family.” I added. “And, some of you guys completely changed who I am today. I thank you guys for being apart of my life.” Connor, Will, Mel, Mikaela, and everyone else smiled. Mrs. Izon smiled as well, glad that I decided to open up in Religion class.

“Thank you for opening up, Kevin.” Mrs. Izon said to me. Connor looked to me.

“Kevin, we’re here for you.” he said. “I know how it feels to be deep in depression, I’ve been there.”

“Me, too.” Will added. I smiled. I looked to everyone and they smiled. They were like part of a second family, a family away from home. I was no longer a social outcast afraid to speak out and relieve myself of emotional pain.

“Please don’t tell anyone else.” I told everyone.

“Don’t worry, what is said in Religion class stays in Religion.” Mrs. Izon assured me. I was happy that was the way it was. Fortunately, class was almost over, giving me time to pack and line up with the rest, since, a lot of the time, I was last in line. After packing, I joined Will and Connor in line. Connor approached and placed his hand on my shoulder.

“Hey, Kevin, it’s alright.” he told me. “We got your back man, no matter what. We’ve been there.”

“Yeah, man.” Will added. “We’re brothers, metaphorically. Gimme a high five!” I high fived him, seeing that he was trying to cheer me. It worked. The bell rang and Mrs. Izon waited for everyone to be quiet. When everyone was, the person in front quickly left, leading us to our next class, which was Science. When I approached the door, Mrs. Izon pulled me aside from the line, allowing for the others to leave without me.

“Kevin, thank you for sharing.” she said to me. “It must’ve been hard to share.”

“It was.” I admitted. “I never opened up to anyone like that before and it scared me a little.” Mrs. Izon was proud of me.

“Well, thanks again for sharing.” she added. “If you want to talk to me, just let me know and we can so that you can feel more better, okay?”

“Yes, ma’am.” I replied, smiling.

“Okay, head to class before you’re late, Kev.” Mrs. Izon told me. I said goodbye as I left the classroom, heading to Science class. Never before have I felt that good. I felt more relieved, more alive than ever before. This all connects in a way that I never realized. Up until Third Quarter, things began to get better.

It was Third Quarter and everyone was getting fatigued due to the increased work load from all classes. By then, I was a different kid. No longer was I the loner or the social outcast. This quarter, I was Kevin Price, a friendly guy. I still had a thing for Mikaela Hurst. What made Third Quarter so significant to me wasn’t just the fact that I changed completely. One event made me more inspired by Mikaela.

It was an 8th grade race, between the boys and girls for scholarships. The boys would go first and then the girls. The winners of that race would receive that scholarship. I, being a fast runner that year, was excited for the race. Everyone in PE knew I was fast, since I sort of sprinted every time during our laps in the beginning of class.

The warm sunlight beamed down on us, the birds singing overhead. It was really bright outside and I had to squint just to see who or what was in front of me. After a slightly slow introduction to the purpose of this race, which had multiple laps, they asked the 8th grade boys to step into the field. We lined ourselves up, preparing for the race. The monitors of the race stood in the middle and near the center of the baseball field. The bright, green grass was soft and crunchy, really giving us an edge, considering the fact that the ground being softer means that it could cushion your steps. Well, that’s what I thought.

“Ready?” the official said, taking out her timer. We readied ourselves, leaning forward, preparing to run.

“Set?” My heart started to pump fast as I grew nervous over the entire thing. I thought of all of the possibilities, losing, winning, etc. As I thought about it, I became calmer, being ever so confident in victory. The 8th grade girls and teachers, Mrs. Ueshiro and Mrs. Roley, were quiet. Then, instantly, with the press of a button, the race started.

“GO!” she yelled. For me, during that moment, time started to slow down. My first step was slow, but faster than everyone else’s. I found myself passing by the guys in front, my heart starting to pound as I passed by. Then, after running several yards forward, everything was normal. As I sprinted as fast as I could, the wind pounded my face and my heart began to race fast and faster. The 8th grade girls began to cheer on their friends or the guys who they wanted to win. I looked behind me as the cheering continued, staring at the people far behind. I started to go faster and faster as I turned around the corners of the fence. I then looked at the crowd. Many of them looked at me, still cheering for their friends. I could hear my name being chanted by Mikaela in the background of the other cheers.

“GO KEVIN!” Mikaela cheered. “GO FASTER! KEEP RUNNING!” I smiled and turned it up a notch, sprinting faster and forcing myself to go the extra mile. Each step felt fluid and smooth to me as I neared the finish line. Behind me, everyone else was taking it slow, conserving energy for the final lap. I passed the line, completing my first lap.

“KE-VIN!” Mikaela continued to cheer, along with some of the girls. “KE-VIN!” Even though I was beginning to become tired, I kept running. I had two more laps to go and I kept running. However, my heart began to hurt a little bit, signaling to me to take it slow. About half way there, I slowed down, now breaking into a jog-running speed. As I neared the finish line of the second lap, two kids from my class, Keoni and Dayson, passed me. Keoni looked at me.

“Keep going, bro.” he said to me. “Don’t slow down.” I nodded and finished the second lap. A couple more kids passed me by, running faster now. Connor then passed me about a quarter of the way there.

“C’mon, man.” he said as he passed me. William told me the same thing as he passed me. I switched between a run and a slow jog as I began to tire out fast and become very tired, my heart throbbing faster. I started to run out of breath and I sort of struggled to get all of that energy back. A monitor approached me about halfway there.

“You alright?” she asked me. “Are you okay?”

“I’m fine.” I told her. “I’m really okay.” I looked at the girls, who began to worry. The cheers slowly died down.

“I’m pulling you out.” she told me.

“No, I can still run.” I replied, hesitating to be pulled out.

“No, you’re too tired.” she said in reply. “I don’t want you to faint.”

“It’s fine, ma’am.” I kept hesitating. “I can still finish this.” By now, over ten kids passed me by, sprinting and running.

“Look, it’s okay.” she assured. “You’re too tired.”

“Please, let me finish the race.” I begged. She took me over to the finish line, making sure I wouldn’t faint. I felt like I had failed. I thought I was going to win this race and get that additional scholarship. I gave it my all and I still failed. Being escorted to the finish line meant that I was on the verge of fainting, well, to the teachers at least. As we approached the finish line, the boys and girls cheered, keeping my hopes up and congratulated me for at least trying my best. I approached Connor and William and high fived them both.

“Nice job, man.” Connor said, smiling.

“Way to go.” Will added. “Man, you sprinted the first chance you got.”

“I know.” I replied, still trying to breath.

“You got to take it slow, bro.” Connor told me. “You would’ve won if you took it slow.” I knew what he was talking about. I wasn’t wise enough to know that, since I completely blasted out from the starting line like a bullet out of a gun. The sun didn’t help me, since the sunlight beamed down on us like a lamp on a desk. Now I regret sprinting all out on that race, seeing that the walk back upstairs was not pleasant nor was the walk to the other classes. What made this even so significant to me was the fact that the cheers from the girl I loved kept me going, making go faster and faster with each cheer and chant. She gave me hope and she gave me inspiration to go faster and push my limit. From then on, I didn’t slow down when she inspired me to go faster and give my 100%. After school, instead of being rewarded with a scholarship, I was rewarded with a long, comfortable, warm shower.

Later on that quarter, we got to something called ’The Big Island Trip’. This trip was to the Big Island. The island was the largest of all of the Hawaiian islands. However, the huge downside of the island was that it rained a lot more than any other island. Hell, even frogs began to take a liking into some of the towns on the island. But, the trip was focused on one of the dead volcanoes on the island, Kilauea. Kilauea has not been active for a while and is considered a dead volcano. It’s considered a great place for tourists. Along with the introductions and the long lessons during Science class about the island and the volcano itself, we had to make a custom folder to contain many worksheets to our total project when we get back. Taking notes was vital, as well as listening and experiencing a great tourist attraction and site.

During the trip itself, after flying for a few hours from Oahu to the Big Island, we settled in a military barracks. We unpacked and settled in, then being disgusted by some of the sheets on the beds. Some of them had dried blood on them or dirt. Even small numbers of bugs were found. However, it was better than sleeping outside or on a bus. There was a girl and boys section and the boys couldn’t step foot into their section and vice versa.

If I remember correctly, we visited a local shop on our first day. We brought a bunch of money, since our teachers told us to. Having over ten dollars gave me a little bit of freedom to spend it on anything I wanted. And, I was in the mood for freaking chocolate. However, each box of chocolates was about two dollars. Flavors ranged from white chocolate to dark chocolate. Me, still having feelings for Mikaela, looked at the available options. However, I had no idea what kind she liked. Rather than guess and get her chocolate that she would likely throw out the window, I had to get her favorite flavor. So, I got Will and Connor over to help me. I looked to Connor.

“Hey, Conman?” I asked. “Could you do something for me?”

“Sure.” he replied.

“Go ask Mikaela what’s her favorite kind of chocolate.” I told him.

“Why?” Connor asked. “Oh wait, you’re going to give her chocolate, right?”

“That’s right.” I replied.

“Dude, you really like her don’t you?” he asked, curious.

“Please, do it.” I asked kindly. “For me.”

“Oh alright.” Connor replied. He left the shop and walked towards Mikaela, who was conveniently sitting right outside the store. I looked back at the chocolates, hoping that I would receive an answer. Connor entered the shop and tapped me on the shoulder.

“Her favorite is milk chocolate.” I immediately got one box for me and a box of milk chocolate for her. After getting my things together, I approached the register and purchased the chocolates. About four or five dollars went to delicious, edible pieces of chocolate. After receiving my change and my receipt, I left the store and stood outside with my friends. We were joking around for a little bit until I could see Mikaela. Seeing as she wasn’t busy at the moment, I grabbed her attention.

“Hey, Mikaela, I got you something.” I told her, handing her the box of her favorite flavor of chocolate. She smiled and looked at the box.

“You shouldn’t have, Kevin!” Mikaela said, happy. “Why are you giving me this?” I had to reply in a non-obvious way. It then hit me. I used the most basic excuse in the world.

“I want to be a great friend.” I told her. “And, since you’re a great friend to me, I decided to get you these.” She looked at the box and then at me.

“Thank you, Kevin!” she replied, hugging me afterwards. I hugged her back and smiled, then closed my eyes for a brief second. Then, the teachers called us onto our buses.

“Everybody on the buses!” Mrs. Ueshiro yelled. We quickly got on the bus, chatting away as we sat on our seats. I sat next to Connor on the bus.

“I hope no one knows.” I told him.

“You know, they probably do, since you gave her something.” Connor replied. I just didn’t think about that before. However, I didn’t lose sleep over it. Over the course of the field trip, I took photos of her and of my friends, including my friend Pua’s grandfather, I think.

During a long hike through the crater of Kilauea, I was falling behind. Pua’s grandfather turned back and approached me. He smiled.

“Hello there, Mr. Price.” he said to me, kindly. “How are you doing?”

“I’m tired.” I replied jokingly. We laughed. “What a long hike, right?”

“Yeah, it is.” he answered. “But, it’s good for your health.” We both laughed again.

“Mr. Thomas, can I ask you something?” I asked.

“Sure, Mr. Price.” he replied. “What’s your question?” I was nervous about asking Pua’s grandfather for the advice. However, I felt confident he had the knowledge of this topic.

“Well, Mr. Thomas, do you have any tips on girls?” I finally asked him. He looked to me, still continuing our hike up the side of the cliff.

“Why do you ask?” Mr. Thomas asked me.

“Well, I really like this girl, Mikaela.” I began. “And, I really don’t know how to really tell her how I really feel.”

“Well, Mr. Price, you have to be confident in yourself.” Mr. Thomas began to answer. “To really let her know how you feel, you have to be confident in yourself and stay calm and tell her how you really feel.”

“What if I’m not confident in myself?” I asked him.

“Well, that’s when you know that it’s time to get that confidence.” Mr. Thomas added. “Girls require that extra confidence and courage, you know what I’m saying.” I nodded.

“To let a girl know that you truly like them, you have to be confident in yourself.” he continued. “You have to believe that you could tell her and you have to believe in yourself if you are to tell her.” Mr. Thomas was wise. The advice he gave me would later apply to a situation where I would find myself worrying about the execution of my plan. The field trip lasted about a day or two more and, over the course of those days, we saw amazing sights. At night, some of the left over lava illuminated some of the darkness at the sight. We filmed it, took pictures of it, and more. Not only that, but a long trek through the woods and our last stop at the gift shop. It was a great experience, due to the fact that we got to know a lot about each other more. It was an emotional trip, since one of my other friends, Kathryn, cried because she worried about her family. We comforted her and we made her gain some confidence back. Sharing, crying, learning, and relaxing was the name of the game on the Big Island Trip. However, even a little prank made things a lot better, since flushing the toilets led to hot water being transferred into all of the showers. It was fun while it lasted and it was an experience that I will hold dear forever. However, one moment would really make me realize an important lesson.

After a month more, it was finally nearing the official 8th grade graduation. Graduation Day was the moment of truth for us. Graduation, which was said to open a new chapter in our lives, was a big deal for us, seeing that this was our final days or weeks at HFCA. For me, Graduation would me something special. Like every other kind of graduation, rehearsals were held during and after school. We had to practice every aspect of the graduation, including our graduation song, entrance, seating, and more. Around this time, emotions started to become stronger in a positive and sad way. Some kids were heading to the states afterwards and some were heading to different countries. However, a lot of them were going to different schools, which allowed them a chance to see each other around town. By now, everyone changed. William dropped the old habit of being emo-like and, instead, started to believe a lot more in God, which was good, seeing that he had great friends supporting and a recovering life. However, what made things a little worse was the fact that Will and Mel did go out with each other, bad had some complications. But, I don’t want to start on that, seeing that it’s straying from the topic at hand. Bottom line, everyone has changed in many ways.

One rehearsal, which took place in the church and was about a few more days before graduation, we practiced our entrances, song, and ending. Things went smoothly as we started to get a hang of the order of the events during the graduation ceremony. At the end of the rehearsal, Mrs. Izon gathered us into a circle, which began with a quick prayer and an overview of our current progress in our rehearsals.

“Okay, everybody, good job.” Mrs. Izon said after the overview and prayer. “Now, everyone, since graduation is coming up, I want everyone to share their feelings. We’ll start from the right of me and work our way around.” My friends continued to share their feelings, saying thank you to their friends in class and to God for giving them the ultimate opportunity to be here today with their friends and for receiving a great education. After Connor went, who was right next to me, it was my turn. I tried to piece together my thoughts, but, I decided to wing it.

“Well, guys, I guess this is nearly it.” I started. “You know, when I came here, I thought my life was not going to change at all. I thought I would be all alone with no friends and with no hope of changing.” I began to choke up, my eyes starting to tear up.

“However, I was wrong.” I continued. “From the moment I set foot in this school, I thought that things would turn out worse. I thought wrong. I never thought that I would have friends like you guys.” I started to cry.

“I didn’t even think I would get this far.” I still continued on. “But, thanks to all of you guys, you’re like a second family to me. And, without you, my life wouldn’t have ever changed.” Mikaela, Mel, Connor and William started to cry with tears of happiness. Melanie broke off from the circle and hugged me. I cried as I hugged her. Connor joined in, as well as William and Mikaela.

“Thank you so much guys.” I said, still hugging them. It was the most emotional moment in my entire life, saying thank you to those who changed my entire life and made things better for me. What made things better was the fact that one of them really inspired me to change my life completely around and never give up. After the sharing was over and the emotions stopped, we went outside to the deck at the back at the school ,where we were waiting for our parents to pick us up. While we were waiting, I looked for Mikaela.

Mikaela was wearing the most beautiful white dress that day. I never forgot what she looked like that day in the sunlight. Her eyes twinkled in the light and her white dress reflected the light, giving the impression that Mikaela looked like an angel from Heaven. She quickly fixed her hair as I stood in front of her.

“Hey.” I said to her, smiling, wiping away my dried tears.

“Hey.” she replied.

“Mikaela, it’s been a great year.” I said. “Thank you for everything you’ve done for me.” She smiled.

“No, Kevin, thank you.” Mikaela replied. “You’ve been really nice to me.”

“Look, Mikaela, if you ever need anything, call me, okay?” I told her. “If you ever need a friend or if you need anything at all, call me.”

“If you need anything, call me as well.” Mikaela added. I stared into her beautiful brown eyes, which reminded me of pools of smooth, delicate chocolate. The sun gave the scene a dramatic feel to it, seeing that it was already sunset. I placed my hands on her shoulders as she smiled.

“You changed my life forever, Mikaela.” I told her. “You really did and I will never forget you for that.” Her eyes began to water. “Mikaela, I want to tell you something at graduation.”

“Why then?” Mikaela asked.

“Because I want to be ready when I tell you.” I replied. Her parent’s car, which was a Ford Mustang, approached the parking lot of the school, which was next to the deck. She looked at the car and looked back at me.

“Bye Kevin.” she said to me as she left for the car.

“Bye Mikaela.” I replied. I smiled as she jumped into the car. As the Mustang left, Connor and William approached me from behind.

“Hey, man.” Connor said, tapping on my shoulder. “It’s been fun.” He high fived me.

“It’s been a great year, brother.” I replied. “Come here.” We manfully hugged, all three of us. We were truly great friends and they helped shaped my life. Without them, I would have been useless. But, the final day, Graduation Day, would prove that I am a changed kid.

Graduation Day proved that I have changed. The ceremony was slow, which added to the drama, suspense and the excitement. After a few words from some of the fellow students, which brought some of my friends to tears and which made all of us smile and laugh, it was finally time to do our finale. We slowly lined up at the front of the stage inside the church and waited for the song to begin. The song we began practicing was a song that brought most of us to tears and most of us with smiles. The entire crowd there inside the church, family and friends, began to clap with the beat and sing with us as we went through each verse nearly perfectly. The beautiful combination of the pitches of each person made the song memorable. For three solid minutes, we sang to end our final year of middle school and our final year at Holy Family Catholic Academy. I found myself amazed at how far I’ve come. I’ve changed so much throughout that one year and I had help from my friends and help from the girl that I loved.

After the song, many of us went outside to meet our parents, teachers, and some of the staff. I shook hands with my teachers and hugged the principle, who admired the change I’ve went through to become a better person. However, what mattered to me was telling Mikaela how I felt. I approached Melanie, who knew where she was in the church.

“Is Mikaela still in the church?” I asked her.

“Yeah, she should be.” I quickly entered the church, going through the large crowd of friends, family, and students, only to find out that she had left early. She wasn’t anywhere as I walked around the church. I felt bad about it, since I made the wrong choice of not telling her how I really felt.

Looking back, I regret not telling her how I really felt. After an additional year in Hawaii, attending Damien Memorial School, I sent her e-mails, expressing my true feelings. However, to today, I have no answer from her. No calls, no e-mails, nothing. However, my friend, Erin Register, told me she has a boyfriend already. I don’t feel badly affected by that. I still regret not telling her. I still regret some choices that I made earlier that school year. However, I still hope to see her face again, to see that smile, to hear that laugh again. As I continue to think about her till this day, I still hope to meet her again someday. Leaving Hawaii last year in August of 2012 was something that changed me forever. However, I have never forgotten the years I had with my new friends and my brothers and sisters. I even figured out what the word, ’Sojourner’, means in this entry. Sojourner means ’temporary resident’. Unfortunately, when I think about it, I was a Sojourner in Hawaii. To an extent, I will always be a Sojourner. However, when I think about it, my feelings about Mikaela Hurst will never be a Sojourner in my heart. Neither will the memories in my head. Love will always be in my heart and memories will always be in my mind. I’m glad that I could share a life experience that forever changed me. And, I’m glad that love, for me, will never fade. I will always remember Mikaela Hurst and those who helped me change.

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