What is loyalty? In his piece, Aaron Cary examines the loyalty, or lack there of, between friends.
by Aaron Cary ’13
One early October morning during my sophomore year, my friend Peyton and I were robbed. I cannot tell you the robbery was particularly frightening because, in all honesty, it was not. It did, however, make an indelible impression on my view of Peyton, and impacted my concepts of loyalty and friendship. We were the kind of opposites only found in cliché stories: I was the teacher’s pet and she the principal’s frequent, albeit reluctant, visitor. Over the years, however, our friendship grew to be unshakable Peyton wasn’t exactly the best person to be around but she was incredibly charismatic. She had a penchant for trouble.
My mother would constantly remind me, “You’re going to end up like the five people closest to you,” and my Siamese partner Peyton was a harsh reality check. However, just as soon as that caution permeated my mind I would immediately dismiss it and go right back to fighting for my friend. It wasn’t until after that October morning that I realized she would not do the same for me.
After I was robbed of all of the cash I had, I glided through the initial interrogation process with the police with ease, grateful for my safety and peace of mind. The next day, however, my father told me that he had received a call from the police station telling him that Peyton wasn’t answering their calls. He was told that if she continued to ignore them, my history would be combed through more thoroughly. I had nothing to hide, but the thought of having the process drag on and having my privacy invaded instead of receiving the sympathy reserved for victims just didn’t appeal to me, so I gave Peyton a call. She quickly struck me with a stunning, emphatic response; she would continue to ignore the calls, even at my expense. She had a history she wanted to hide, and she was willing to sacrifice my peace in order to deflect attention and maintain her own tranquility. After twenty minutes of attempting to negotiate the importance of my privacy, I hung up the phone, agonized by the crystal clarity of her stance. I knew that the line connecting us needed to be severed.
It was no easy task to completely distance myself from her. I saw her daily at school up until she was expelled, and even after that she would occasionally haunt the campus. I largely ignored her, but I made sure that I was doing it to protect myself and not out of malice.
I took a good look at those five friends closest to me. Peyton did not belong in that group and she was not the future I wanted. Do I still have regrets about losing a close friend? Absolutely, but learning how to distinguish who was going to be beneficial for me in the long term instead of a fair weather friend was the real lesson. No one has filled that fifth friend slot quite the same way Peyton did, but then again, I’m not sure I would want that.
Photograph by Jasmine Artis ’12