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I grew up having more than the average kid. My parents bought me nice clothes, stereos, Nintendo games, mostly everything I needed and wanted. They supported me in everything I did. At that point in my life I was very involved with figure skating. I never cared how much of our money it took, or how much of my parents' time it occupied, all I thought about was the shiny new ice skates and frilly outfits I wanted. Along with my involvement in soccer, the two sports took most of my parents' time, and a good portion of their money. Growing up with such luxuries I began to take things for granted. I expected things, rather than being thankful for what I had and disregarded my parent's wishes, thinking only of myself. Apparently my parents recognized my behavior and began limiting my privileges. When I didn't get what I wanted I got upset and mad at my parents somehow blaming them for all my problems. Now don't get me wrong, I wasn't a bad kid, I just didn't know how else to act. I had never been exposed to anything less than what I had and didn't realize how good I had it.
Regina Maywack lived just down the road from me. Before 5th grade I never knew who she was. As the year progressed we got closer and closer. Regina was extremely talented. She was, in my mind, a genius; she loved school and always did well. She was also blessed with athletic ability. Something I respected since most other kids we knew weren't involved in sports. No matter what day it was I always went to school knowing that Regina would be there with a smile on her face. It seemed as though she didn't have a care in the world. There were days I would show up mad at something my parents had done, or at something that hadn't gone my way, and she would just look at me with those honest eyes and tell me to be thankful for the good things.
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I didn't find out until almost two years later that Regina had not died in an "accident". Her mother beat her to death. I wonder how many people cringed upon reading that sentence. The majority of people in our society, ignorant and self absorbed, will choose not to believe it and will brush it off as if it is no big deal. And that is the reason so many children are abused. People are too afraid to speak out, to dirty their hands with someone else's dirt, so they disregard it and walk on, telling themselves it isn't happening. Perhaps if everyone had gone through the same experience, they too would have some compassion.
I only wish that Regina were still alive today, even just to see who I've become, all thanks to her. It's terrible that it took the life of my best friend to get me past my selfishness and thanklessness, and although I am so grateful that I have become someone better, it isn't worth the price I paid. I would give it all back in an instant to have one more day with her.