The Quadruples

Middle school is the year where making your friend group is essential to your future—whether you’re popular, a nerd, or just there. When you enter the cafeteria, a person would see stereotypical groups of friends in certain spots on the long tables as if it were assigned seats. If you withdrew from your flock, accusatory glares will follow you until you return to where you belong. I don’t know about others, but that was middle school for me and those exact stares were directed at me. 

It was fifth grade and I had a friend group of four. I’m pretty sure we were considered losers. At recess, while the other kids would play basketball, talk on the side, or do anything considered normal, we would instead use our imaginations to play out made-up scenarios, where one of us was the hero while the other was the villain in which we then proceeded on with an ultimate fight. That’s what we did, so I’m assuming when people looked at us they probably thought we were crazy and were just waving our hands around like weirdos, but in our minds we were superior. 

We called ourselves the Quadruples.

However, like every other friend group, there will always be a time where it comes to an end. 

I was, unfortunately, the one to bring about that end. 

In my mind I wanted popularity—to be honest, I think we all subconsciously do. The feigned feeling of being above others and being the center of attention. With these influential thoughts in mind, I made the abrupt decision to abandon my friends and sit at the “popular” end of the lunch table. It was a small school so we all knew each other but no one said a word at first. 

A girl finally said something. 

She turned her head, slowly looking me over, “hey um, what happened to your friends, you don’t sit with them anymore?” she questioned, her voice insincere.

“I just got into a fight with them,” I replied back. “Ohh and I’m not friends with them anymore” I quickly added. 

“Oh okay,” the girl responded, losing interest as she proceeded to ignore me for the rest of the period. 

I don’t know how long this phase of mine lasted for, but it was exhausting.

I was exhausted of the stupid talks of irrelevant gossip, the new songs that people felt the need to memorize, and the unhealthy obsession with social media. I missed our fictional games, competing over higher grades, and talking among ourselves, but most of all I missed who I was. 

It took a lot of apologizing but of course, my true friends welcomed me back with open arms. After a few laughs and tears at the whole ordeal, things went back to normal and it was never talked about again. We moved forward in life and left it in the past—although I’ll always feel guilty. 

However, as time went on my friendships evolved, causing me to become accepted into both groups and become friends with everyone, no longer wanting to be labeled. I shifted myself from only one side of the table to the center with my old friends and my new friends on either side of me. 

When it comes to friends, there’s always a moment when you finally admit to yourself that you’ve been changing who you are, not for yourself but for others. In the end, I’ve realized that just being true to myself is the best feeling in the world, and being surrounded by people who accept that, makes that feeling so much more special.