“I can do that, too!” Noah yelled after me, stumbling over the rocky path.
“No you can’t, kid. Your legs are too small and you don’t have the same motor control I do.” I kept walking, waiting for someone from Noah’s family to grab him. They didn’t. “Wait up!”
“Ugh, go back Noah!” I yelled at him, “I didn’t give you permission to come with me!” If only that would stop the toddler. Noah kept marching towards me, grunting as he struggled up the tall steps. He was panting. “See. I can. Climb this. Too.”
I shook my head. “Noah, you’re already exhausted. We’ve only moved about 4 meters from where we started. Call for help, and go back.” I should clarify that he’s actually 7, not any younger. He certainly acts like a toddler, though. Despite how unfriendly I’ve been to my cousin from day one, he still thinks he can appeal to me and make me like him. The kid needs to get used to disappointment.
He caught his breath after a few seconds. “See, I’m just fine. I’m not tired, my legs aren’t even scraped!” I sighed, and sat down on a rock.
“I’m not going anywhere with you, Noah. You’re going to get hurt on this trail.” I told him as firmly as I knew how to.
He sat down next to me. “Then I guess we’ll just sit here then. I’m okay with that.” I sighed once more.
“Noah, where do you even get this determination? You’re just so stuck on this idea of pleasing me, and I don’t get it. What do you have to gain?” I held my head in my hands.
He just gave me a weird look. “What do you mean? I thought friends did things together.” I shuddered inside. Friends? “I just trying to be a good friend.”
I held my breath. Noah waited in anticipation. I exhaled. “Noah, why do you think we’re friends?” At this point, I was actually curious. Who told him we were friends?
He shrugged. “We’re cousins, and cousins are supposed to be friends, right? I thought that family was supposed to stick together.” This didn’t surprise me. It was the same thing my parents told me as a kid. That was a long time ago, and things have changed.
I picked up my head. “Alright, Noah. You think we’re friends. But what if I told you you weren’t my friend?” Noah laughed.
“No, we are friends. That’s how families are. You’re my family, so you’re also my friend.” There wasn’t a doubt in this kid’s mind. Honestly, I kind of respected that. Everything was so certain to him.
“Fine, Noah. You win. We’re friends. As my friend, I would appreciate it if you let me walk up this trail alone. Okay?” I looked at Noah.
He shrugged. “Okay. I’ll go color while I wait for you.” Then he left. That was it. Did he just win the battle? I was determined to get him away, and he was determined to be my friend. And he left by his own choice. It was that easy.
I got up and started hiking. Is the world that easy for him? Does he just think everyone is his friend? I sat down after a little while. I remember when the world was that easy for me, too. I remember when I thought that the world would be my friend. Now, I’m just some angry teen who doesn’t want anything to do with anyone. When did I lose the light in my own eyes?
I looked down the mountain. Noah was totally content with everything. The only things he looked for to make his life better are material things that he doesn’t need. He’d gladly just wait for me, no matter what it takes. I wish I had that kind of motivation.
I shook my head. I stood up and made my way back down the mountain.