This I Believe

Jessica - Indian Wells, California
Entered on January 9, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

I believe in taking the high road.

Close to spring break, my French teacher called me and a friend to his desk after class. We were the two top students in the class, so we had no idea what he could want. It got even stranger when he asked my friend to stand a ways off while he talked to me. Then he asked the one question I will never forget.

Had I made death threats against a fellow student?

No, I hadn’t. It was absurd. He brought my friend over and asked her the same thing. She gave the same response. Thankfully, he believed us and sent us to our next period. But it was one of the most terrifying moments of my life.

Apparently, one of the girls in my class had told her parents and my teacher that my friend and I had threatened her life. This same girl was awful to us. She did her level best to try to make us feel bad about ourselves whenever fourth period rolled around. Later, we came to find out it was because she was bothered that we were doing better in the class than she was. She could have ruined our high school career for such a petty reason. Worst case scenario, she could have ruined the plans both of us have for our entire lives. We were flabbergasted. She was unapologetic.

However, life went on. Our teacher realized that neither my friend nor I had done anything, so he didn’t bring it up again. The girl still rolled her eyes at us when we answered in class and gave us dirty looks in the hallway. Finally, spring break came and went.

First week back in class, she asked me to help her with the assignments. Just came out and asked, like nothing had ever happened. Did she really think she deserved my help when she had been mean, vindictive, and deceitful – when she could have gotten me suspended or worse?

She didn’t. But I helped her anyway. It didn’t hurt me to help her. And did I really want to sink to her level? I decided that I didn’t.

That was two years ago. The girl is still not very nice to me. There was no great change in my life because I was the bigger person. Trumpets didn’t blare and angels didn’t descend from the heavens. I’ve taken the high road other times with the same, anticlimactic results.

However, I can look at myself in the mirror and know I did something most people could never do. Honestly, I don’t believe in taking the high road for other people. I believe in taking the high road, because at the end of the day, I have to live with myself. I want to be able to say that I’m better than the girl who spreads rumors or makes up lies. And when I look at my past actions, I know that I’m better than that.