Losing My Friends to Weed

When I turned 14, my childhood friends started smoking marijuana and forced me to choose between weed and our friendship.

by Jamel Salter

I had a lot of friends in East Flatbush, Brooklyn who I grew up with. Growing up together made us very close—until my friends got too close to weed.

Before that happened, we were always together. We’d go to movies, parties, the park, and if we didn’t have anywhere to go, we’d stay at one of our houses and play video games.

Even though we were close friends, we still had our little arguments. But when we argued, Dave would get in the middle and try to stop it. He was like the official peacemaker of the group.

Dave had the best sense of humor out of all of us. He was always telling jokes. That was one of the best things about hanging with them, you always got a good laugh.

But one day, when my friends were about 14, they made plans to put money in to buy some weed.

Should I Say Yes or No?

I didn’t want to put any money in because I didn’t want to have anything to do with weed. I thought if I didn’t put any money in they would say I couldn’t smoke and I would pretend I was disappointed. But they got enough money to go through with it and said I could smoke anyway.

Someone had to ride his bike to go get it. I live on 54th and the closest place to buy is on 19th, so he had to ride 35 blocks. (The things people do for drugs!!)

We were at the park when they started smoking it. One person lit the blunt, took a puff, and passed it around. I was in total shock because I had read and seen about drugs on television and here it was right in front of me.

As it was going around I was thinking to myself, “What should I do? Should I say yes or no?” I looked at how my friends were reacting after they smoked it. Since it was their first time, everyone coughed hard after they took a puff.

I sat at the end of the line, hoping that they would finish the blunt before it got to me or that someone else would turn it down so that I wouldn’t be the only one who refused. Neither happened, and I found myself being handed the blunt.

“Chill yo, I don’t want any.”

“Take a puff son, it’s mad nice.”

“If you don’t smoke, you’re a herb.”

“You can’t be a mama’s boy the rest of your life.”

I got so tempted that I actually took it in my hand. But I knew that it was a choice between smoking and keeping their friendship or not smoking and keeping my health. I came to my senses and just passed it on.

“You really are a herb.”

“You can’t hang, mama’s boy.”

Changed by Weed

When they finished smoking, they started acting like fools. They were hitting each other and cracking stupid jokes. Seeing the way they acted made me glad that I didn’t smoke. The next day everyone was talking about how bad they felt in the morning. You would think that would make them come to their senses and stop, but they just started making plans to get more.

My friends have been smoking for a year now and it has changed them. They always look like zombies. Their eyes are always red and halfway closed. They have bad tempers and they are always ready to fight.

Especially Dave, now he has the baddest temper of all them all.

A few weeks ago we were at the park playing basketball. Dave had the ball and when I tried to steal it from him, I slapped his hand by accident. He got highly upset and started yelling at me.

“Why the hell are you fouling me?”

“It was an accident, and I don’t know what you’re getting mad about anyway,” I told him. “It’s all a part of the game. If you can’t deal with it, don’t play.”

Dave tried to punch me but missed, then the others held him back and calmed him down. This surprised me because Dave was always the peacemaker before he began to smoke pot.

My friends and I always used to play against other blocks in basketball, and I always started. I didn’t hear about a game for a while but I didn’t worry, because I figured my friends would tell me when they were playing. Then one day I called Dave to see what he was doing and his mother picked up.

“Hello, this is Jamel. Is Dave there?”

“No, he isn’t, Jamel. He went to the park about a half-hour ago.”

When I got to the park I saw them just finishing playing 51st St. I got upset because I always started and now, because I don’t smoke weed, they didn’t even bother to call me. (By the way, they lost.)

Hard to Say No

Not being close to my friends like I used to be makes me think to myself, “Maybe I should smoke it just one time. What’s the worst thing that could happen to me?”

Then I remember the way that they were acting the other day in the park and I just forget about it.

You might be wondering why I don’t stop trying to stay close to them and make new friends, but it isn’t so easy to lose friends you’ve grown up with.

I keep trying to talk them out of smoking, because I don’t want that stuff to make them sick. But they just laugh as if I’m stupid and tell me to mind my own business.

I wish our friendship could go back to the way it was before, but I don’t think there’s any chance of that happening while they keep smoking. I used to think that they were true friends, but now I know that it was just a game.

If not smoking is the reason why I’ve lost my friends, then I’ve been cheated. It’s hard to believe that the difference between friends or no friends comes from one little blunt.

I wish our friendship could go back to the way it was before, but I don't think there's any chance of that happening while they keep smoking.
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