Blood in the Monongahela

An Experience with a Friend

For Better or For Worse

By Max Troiano

"The truth is, unless you let go, unless you forgive yourself, unless you forgive the situation, unless you realize that the situation is over, you cannot move forward."
~ Steve Maraboli

     Friends who encourage you to do more help you to be more, for better or for worse. My newfound friends over my past three years Fenn have done just that to me. It took a year and a half or so for me to find the groove of things with them, but it had all neatly fallen into place by Halloween of last year when Max Merhige invited me over to his house along with four or five others. I didn’t know what was going to happen, but I knew from the start it was going to be different. It was a slick dark night, the kind of night where every light shone off the wet pavement and the trees still slowly dripped with the afternoon rain. I softly pulled up to the house and got out of the car, the doorlight casting a weak glow onto the grass. I tentatively stepped in the door, and we were off.
     Max Merhige, Max Libby-Grantham, Will Simon, Nathaniel Pynchon, Ethan Rich, and I sprinted around the questionably grippy pavement, nearly sliding into telephone poles and each other as we tried to be the first to get the candy bars. There was no plan, I was completely out of my comfort zone, and I was without a doubt having the time of my life. My friends bring out the best and the worst in me, inspiring me to both confidence and recklessness, on the one hand invigorating and on the other worryingly flippant of the consequences of our actions. I will never again be the fearful boy with a head stuck inside a book that I was at the start of my time here at Fenn. I have only spent three years, a small fraction of my life, with these people, and for better and for worse will not spend much more time with them. But that time which I have has undoubtedly changed me — and for the better.


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Rory Kennealy

I liked when you said There was no plan, I was completely out of my comfort zone, and I was without a doubt having the time of my life. This has a lot truth and sometimes you have better times with your friends when you are out of your comfort zone.

Sean L

I was about to say the same thing as Rory but he beat me to it. Saying how you were completely out of your comfort zone was fun to read because you also say how you are having the time of your life. This shows that in order to feel like your having fun or to feel that sense of adventure you need to go out of your comfort zone. Great job.

Nick Brady

This was a fun story to read, and I liked how some of Steinbeck's writing trickled into yours with the expertly described light rays in addition to bolstered imagery about the night, asphalt, and so much more that complemented the piece rather than detracting from it. And, it wouldn't be a Troiano piece without me learning a new word, so "flippant" is the one for today :)

Max LG

This was truly one of my favorite times as well, and this experience was a great one. The way that you described the rainy night in many different ways was nice. great job Max!

Colin Soukup

It’s great how close friends can be, and that they can inspire confidence and make you feel at home.

Will S.

This is an amazing piece Max! I love you the way you depict yourself throughout the post. As someone who was there, I can tell you that you described the night in perfect detail.

Eli Zahavi

Sounds like a fun time! I always love Halloween. Great writing and nice job

William O'Malley

It was good to read about how your friends brought you out of your comfort zone and helped you open yourself to a whole new version of you, something that friends can do like no other. This was a great story all around.

Oliver Ali

I really enjoyed reading this piece, Max. It is full of great words like tentatively recklessness, invigorating and flippant. Your imagery is not only high in quantity, but also in quality. I 100% agree with Nick in that your writing is a lot like that of John Steinbeck’s. I can almost see the “slick dark night” because of the vivid imagery that you used. Great work.

Yoni Ghansah

Friends always have a knack for helping you do more in life, and it seems life you have a fun time in Halloween. You used great imagery technique, and you manage to use the correct words for the right settings.

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