This I Believe

Hannah - Briarcliff, New York
Entered on June 1, 2007

The Apple of My Eye

I believe in eating all the way down to the core of the apple. To me, there is no doubt that the quirky sourness of the fruit’s innards is one hundred percent worth the initial discomfort felt as my teeth meet the seeds. Some people are content, resigning themselves to the simple pleasure of the outermost layer of the apple. They don’t even know what they’re missing.

The best apple I’ve ever tasted was one that on first bite, tasted mealy and overripe. I had been tempted to discard the offensive food; though I had only taken one bite of the external- had only given the poor apple one chance based on initial judgment only. I nearly gave up on that apple.

My best friend Rebecca was that apple. When I first met her in my bunk my first summer at camp, as a nine year old, I was immediately disgusted and afraid. Her right hand shook uncontrollably, her hair was one enormous knot, her teeth were clearly not brushed, and she had remnants from lunch hanging around her mouth. I saw the way the other girls reacted to her, and followed suit. I used to snear at her as she limped by. Rebecca Litt was not someone who you were friends with willingly.

I wasn’t put in a bunk with Rebecca again until the summer before I entered high school. It was an awkward time for everyone; braces, bras, frizzies, and boys tortured nearly the whole age group. I groaned when Rebecca first entered the bunk. I couldn’t believe I had to live with that messy girl again. Her right hand totally freaked me out.

The environment of my camp is such that each camper is essentially forced to give people second and third chances. Sharing quarters with Rebecca every day, I learned that her hand spasms and her awkward limp were the result of a serious seizure she had had when she was seven years old. Her mess was a result of her inability to properly use her right hand, and her nervous behavior was because people had forever made her feel self-conscious. I unwillingly felt myself grow compassionate towards Rebecca. She was a truly kind and brilliant girl, and as I began to open up to her, to dig deeper, I learned we had a lot in common.

Four years later, Rebecca is the only person I tell absolutely everything to. When we are together, I am truly capable of living in the moment. We laugh together, cry together, and are messy together. If I had not been made to delve deeper into Rebecca’s core, I would not have the life-long friend with whom I share my fondest memories. I will never again give up on anyone, any apple, based on the first taste. That one sweet apple has changed my whole life, and I am forever grateful.