This maybe, the only non-fiction story I will put on this and it’s because I truly hate writing about my life.  When I create a work of poetry or fiction I can easily create a character whose wrongdoings fall on himself.  With a work on non-fiction, the only person to blame for the downfalls is me.  Yet, this story is close to my heart and pains me to revisit but I believe I must, for what I learned in those days full of sorrow, I never want to forget.

I was part of the track team in high school, I suppose it was my junior year.  I did not fit in with the track team, not due to them bullying me or any other insidious reason; in fact, everyone on the team was incredibly nice but I never did truly fit in anywhere I went in high school.  I could never understand, why?  No one hated me, I wasn’t exceedingly weird, or at least I thought not, and most people would talk to me and some even want to hang out with me. Yet, I felt I never really fitted in at my high school.  That was until I meet Jason Vanhoose, a noble and odd young man.  I meet him on the track team and was one of the first people on the team to make me feel welcome (or at least attempted for like I said, I never felt welcomed anywhere).

Jason was older than me, wore thick glasses, quite shorter than me, and was almost as hairy as me.  He was a very religious but never bragged on his purity of soul and would help those who wanted help instead of enforcing on you.  I don’t think I ever heard him cuss, not even once.  His laugh is unforgettable, deep and lively.  He was also incredibly kind, his words were bandages and never knives.  And because of this, his personality for some people came off as odd.  This is because when everyone else was laughing at someone he would be defending them.  That never stopped him, truly a great guy in every way.

One day, when returning from a track meet, we stopped at a shop that had a Subway in it. While in this shop Jason noticed a little green fedora. I remember vividly Jason trying the fedora on and asking “how is it look?” and of course he gave his squinted eye, smile filled,  question face to us. I thought it looked great but I jokingly told him it was horrible. he said “BLARG!” which was a word he loved to say even though everyone else made it vocal that they thought it was odd.  I personally loved it.  We both laughed and I told him I liked it.  He turned to another high schooler who was on the team and asked him and another girl who was standing by.  They put it very bluntly that it made him even weirder than he already was but that’s what they thought, I personally would have put the hat back right there and then. I would have not had a second thought bout it because I didn’t like people talking bout stuff I wore even if liked it.  Judgments, though I acted as if they did, bothered me to extreme amounts in high school.  Which was odd in and of itself, because I wore colored pants in a place and time where they were not accepted so well. Sure, I could hide my shame well, but it always bothered me to hear people make fun of my colored pants, in fact, the insults blocked out the complements for me.

So, I expected for Jason to put back the little green fedora and never see it again.” IM GONNA BUY IT!” Jason blurred out right beside me. I laughed not at the hat or Jason but just because of the pure innocent excitement in his voice that just rang though my ear.  During that time in high school, very little excited me and there was even less innocence.  I remember he wore that hat all the way back to the high school that night. I remember also thinking to myself that is the last time I see that hat on his head.

The following week, at our home track, while I was stretching my legs for the upcoming meet.  I saw Jason walking down the hill to the track. Wouldn’t you know on his head, sat proudly, the little green hat. I was in shock that he wore it again despite what people had said bout him earlier.  This time I thought, well, Jason is gonna get it from someone today bout that hat, and I was right. A boy from another country made fun of his hat. I cant quite remember what he said but I do remember what Jason did. He laughed, gave his big smile to the boy and started talking to him as if nothing happened.  I was so confused at this point I thought maybe, this is someone from Jason’s past but I never found out but by the way he was acting, I don’t think they had meet before.

After that meet, I assured myself I would never in my life see that little green hat again. The very next day, before school let out, I happen to run in to Jason and I talked to him about odd things like swords and if ice could explode and he was his normal, upbeat, comical, corky, story-telling person that he always was.  I happen to bring up the hat and make the joke”Has the hat disappeared yet?” He laughed, shook his head, and said: “No, it’s in locker i’m gonna wear after school.” I didn’t believe him until track practice let out. He was pulling his car around for his sister and I walked over to say good bye and wouldn’t you know it. That little green hat was still on his head!! I couldn’t believe it at all, he was still wearing that green hat. It astounded me, I couldn’t understand that he could still wear this hat then, it dawned on me. Jason wore the hat caused he loved it he didn’t care what others thought of it, he thought it was cool so it made it cool.

Thats when it hit me, I shouldn’t care what others thought of my colored pants or the way I act or say.  I thought there awesome and I believed that I was a good person. The very next day I wore my orange pants and got my insults like I did every other day and it bothered me and I felt distant unwelcomed again. Until I seen Jason in the hall and I thought of his little green hat and how people put him down for wearing it but how he didn’t let that bend his perception on the way he looked at his little green hat. I rose my head up high and walked straight to the people making the insults and pulled a Jason and made some jokes about my own pants and laughed with them.  I felt welcomed and that I fitted in, for once, I felt like I found my section of puzzle where I fitted in.

Its because of Jason Vanhoose, I am myself and I do what I want without caring what people judged me as.  It freed me, I went on from the day and made many friends, made many people laugh, and even got a serious girlfriend.  In this story, it is easy to see that Jason was the reason for me finally becoming a happier person but sadly during that time.  I never noticed it, I never got to tell him, thank you, or say you’re awesome, I don’t event think I got to say out loud to him that he was my friend. Jason glorious life was cut short by a accident. I went to his funeral today to pay my respects and to tell his dad how much jason impacted my life. I thought on the way all the great times

I got a call a few months after all this had happened, from a girlfriend of one of my friends. Jason was in a coma, he had been in a car wreck the night before and they could not get him to wake up.  I instantly went into denial despite hearing her sob during the talk.  It took me the entire day to accpect what had happened to him.  I never thought once though that he would die, I could see him coming back to school and he would have that damn green hat on.  I can almost still see it now, almost eight years later.  He was in his coma for a few months before they decided to cut his life support and allow him to let go.  His glorious life was cut short by an accident. I went to his funeral, I rode with a few people from school to the funeral parlor to pay my respects and to tell his dad how much Jason impacted my life. On the way, all the memories of the great times I had with my friend Jason kept playing like a neverending disk on loop.  When I arrived at the funeral home, the emotions hit me, the fact that I’ll never hear him yell blarg again or see his inquisitive faces he makes any more; these thoughts tore my eyes and the tears flowed forth in massive amounts. I didn’t want to see my friend, I couldn’t see him, I told myself I wouldn’t but I thought of his courage and dominated my fears and anxieties and walked in to the funeral home.  I walked into the room where my friends funeral was being held.  I wasn’t able to go look at him until Ashley (The friend who drove me) asked me and Ethan (Another who accompanied us) to go up there with her.  I grabbed what courage I could and walked with them towards the casket.  As i approached the coffin where my friend’s body lied I felt the emotions building in me but I was able to muster up the courage to walk to his coffin. As I looked down upon him tears flowed once again from my eyes because beside my friend was his little green hat.