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Chase What Matters
February 2nd 2007
I can’t comprehend what this day means to me. It will forever be lodged in my mind. It started out like any other day. I woke up, put on my jeans, Green Day shirt, and Converse shoes. I was out waiting for the bus at 6:00 am sharp. Walked on the ordinary school bus and said hello to the same bald, old, cranky, bus driver and plopped myself in the same first seat on the bus.
The one thing engraved in my mind and different from everyday is meeting a girl. A girl that has brown eyes that sparkled with excitement, hair that’s gelled in the back so it sticks up in the back and side-swiped bangs hanging over one eye. Whenever I see her I am intoxicated by her smell. A smell so sweet, so seductive, a smell that is so familiar yet so strange. Her name is Alyssa Dobbs.
Every day that I saw Alyssa, I wanted her more and more. When I saw her today I instantly smiled, she was wearing her black and orange color guard windbreaker and black pants. I instantly smiled. She walked over to me and her smell was getting stronger and stronger. She smiled at me causing my smile to get bigger. As we came closer she ran and gave me a hug. She stood back and we started talking. We walked to my locker through the crowded small hallways. She had to grab the back of my shirt to avoid us getting separated. We weaved in out of the people. The hallways were like rush hour traffic. The orange lockers went in whirls as I zoomed passed them. When we got the red, dirty carpet hallway the traffic was gone. We walked half way down the hallway to my locker. She leaned against the locker next to mine and just stared at me smiling. I couldn’t help smiling back. Whenever she just smiled at me for no reason my stomach felt like it was coming out of my mouth.
“Hey what are you doing tonight?” Alyssa asked as she laid her head against the locker.
“Nothing I don’t think,” I answered with a little suspicion in my voice, “Why?” “Well, I was wondering if you wanted to come and see the color guard show at the basketball game tonight.” She than looked at me with mischief in her eyes, “You could see me spin on a flag.” When she asked me my heart jumped. At that moment I knew what I was going to do.
I went to the game and I saw her dance. I did not take my eyes off her. When she was done dancing she came and sat in the bleachers next to me. Since, I am really only able to express myself through music I took out my mp3 player and gave her an ear phone and played “Only One” by Yellowcard. At the time that Yellowcard played the chorus and said ‘You’re my only one’ I asked her if she would be my only one. When I asked this butterflies that were in my stomach, flew into my throat. As soon as I got the words out of my mouth she exclaimed. “Hell Yes!” and wrapped me in a long embrace. I closed my eyes and I indulged myself in her sweet aroma. I kissed her. It was a kiss I will always remember. A kiss that is still imprinted in my mind. When the night was over and she had to leave, I felt empty and alone.
March 17th 2007
My parents and I have had many problems in the past, but nothing tops what happened this particular day. The past few weeks, my parents have been smelling cigarette smoke in the upstairs bathroom. They automatically assumed that I was the one responsible instead of my brother. I always loathed the smell or the thought of smoking a cigarette, but that didn’t matter to them. Not to mention my parents also noticed that I was shaking more than usual. I tried to explaining to them that I have been drinking a lot of caffeine, but they concluded that I was on drugs.
Now today, I went to a track meet during the day bringing my normal attire, my black and orange uniform, water, granola bars, tape, and it is all stuffed in my green army duffle bag. My parents dropped me off at the school with smiles on their faces. I had a good time at the track meet. I did fairly well. I took second place in pole vaulting.
When my parents came to pick me up I knew right away that something was wrong. The van was quite. An awkward silence like someone just got in serious trouble. At that point I thought it was my brother that was in trouble. Trying to break up the silence that constantly sends chills up my spine, I asked, “Guess how I did at the meet?” My dad turned around, looked at me with a cold stare that always made me want to die, and snapped, “Shut up! I don’t want to hear you!” At that moment I felt so much rage and puzzlement. What did I do? I thought of everything that I could have possibly may have done for my dad to be searing mad at me. I looked at him and he pulled down his mirror and was staring at me with those menacing eyes. His goatee and mustache just made him look like he was willing to kill someone. His stare was more terrifying then when he found porno in my room.
When I got home I ran up the stairs to room. When I came closer to the top of the stairs I saw my mattress lying on the half wall. I slowly turned the corner and saw my door was open and everything I owned was on the floor. My posters were ripped down from the wall, my bed was dismantled, my drawers were open and clothes thrown everywhere the only thing that was not lying on the floor was Candy, my electric guitar. At that very moment, there are no words that are able to describe the rage, the pain, the hate, I had in myself. I turned around and saw my mom standing there looking at me with her beady eyes, buck teeth, stringy greasy hair. She tried to sound nice but I was not fooled, “Go into my room, please. Bring your duffle bag.”
I reluctantly picked up my bag and walked down the hall into my parent’s room. On the bed was some of my stuff that I tried to hid from them: a hunting knife, CO2 cartridges, lighter, trading cards that I was banned from, and my money that I had stashed away. I couldn’t hold my emotions in any more. I screamed at my mother, “What the heck did I do? You ransacked my room for a reason that is beyond me and dad seems pissed.”
“Well if you would tell us the truth every once in a while we wouldn’t have to go through this. Now give me your bag and turn your pockets inside out.” She threw my clothes out of my bag and inspected the pockets on the bag. “Where are your cigarettes? Where do you stash them?” She shouted these questions at me and I threw the granola bar wrapper that came out of my pocket on the floor and stormed out and slammed my door and locked it. I picked up my mp3 player and put my headphones in and sat in the corner and blasted my ears out. I cried for a brief moment; then I reached under my desk and pulled the knife I had taped under my desk and cut my wrists for the first time.
September 15th 2007
I have declared my independence from my parents. Nothing has been right since they ransacked my room. My dad has not talked to me since that happened. I have taken refuge to my girlfriend, Alyssa. We have been together for 7 months now and she has picked me up every time I have fallen. Her hand outstretched to offer me comfort and love. My parents have grown to dislike her. They say she is a bad influence on my life. Of course, me being a teenager, I disagree. After they ransacked my room I lost all trust in them. My mom and I have been getting into arguments, not just arguments but heated discussions. I no longer eat dinner with the family. My dad and I always make sure that we are never in the same room. All of this is because they refuse to believe that I am not on drugs. They have almost permanently grounded me, so when I want to go somewhere I have to lie about it and sneak around. I joined cross country to be with my friends and Alyssa. I quite soon after, when my mom found out, we had another argument and she took Candy away from me. I was crushed. At that moment I loathed my mother.
When she left I immediately grabbed Candy out of her room and walked out of the house. I did not know what to do, but I had to get out of here. I called Alyssa and she came to pick me up. She embraced me in her arms. With tears in my eyes I took the whole scene in. I hopped into her car and we went to her dad’s house. Her dad was out that day at the indie races. I explained the whole argument to Alyssa and then she decided to put in my favorite movie, Back to the Future. I kissed her than I looked into her deep compassionate eyes and I knew she loved me. I opened my mouth and said three words that I will never regret, “I love you.” She looked back at me and said with the voice of an angel, “I love you too.” That day we shared a moment that will forever be embedded into my memory. Right there, in that house, us wrapped around each other. This was the first time I ran away.
November 4th 2007
After I came home from running away I was under strict watch. I had to eat with the family, stay in the living room when dad was home, participate in the family activities, and my cell phone got taken away. I believe it is because of shock. I believe that my parents did not believe that I would run away. My dad still did not say a word to me. The day that he did I wished he didn’t.
The whole family was sitting around the table eating dinner. I wasn’t that hungry. I had a little bit on my plate. My mom told me to get more food and I refused. My dad got up and yelled at me. “Go get more food. You should respect your mother and do what she says. She is the one keeping you in the house.” I got up to and snapped back, “I am not freakin’ hungry, okay. You gonna shove it down my throat?” He ran over to me and grabbed my throat and pushed against the wall. He looked at me with hurt in his eyes, “Get out. Get out of my damn house. I do not want to see you here again.” I pushed him away and I walked upstairs and grabbed my guitar. My mom was yelling at me not to go. To stay. I walked out the door and I headed my way down the street. At first I didn’t know where I was going to go. I didn’t have a cell phone and my girlfriend’s house was over 30 miles away. The only place that I could thing of was to go to the place that I felt most safe at, school. I started trekking my way to the five miles to school. That night, I slept on the roof of the athletic storage shed.
November 9th 2007
After I had slept that night on the shed, the relationship between my parents and I seemed to have gotten worse. They forbid me to see Alyssa which in turn caused me to disrespect them even more. I was not going to give her up. She was my only escape, I loved her and she loved me. Friends started to describe our relationship as we were each other’s drugs. Nothing else matter. As long as we had each other and nothing happened to the other we were fine. We had to see each other every day or we would go through withdrawals.
The Notebook, as we called it, we had started a couple months after we started dating. We would write how we felt and share it with the other. We would write poetry and little stories to each other. This notebook was extremely dear to us. It was more than a notebook that had words in it. The Notebook showed us that we trusted one another, that maybe we will get through the tough tides and have a future. No one but us read that book. We made sure of that. It was either in her hands, my hands, or locked up.
I came to her locker, dialed the combination, and there was the Notebook. Black, glistening, (only to me) looking special. I took the notebook off the top shelf and noticed there is a red bookmark on a page. I open up the Notebook to the page.
I love you. Three small, amazing, simple words. Their meaning however is too big to grasp. It stands for more than just the love of an individual. To truly love somebody is to pledge your very being, willing to sacrifice your heart and soul for another. I love you soooo much. You can’t even dare to argue that point. To deny that fact is to deny that you love me. And I know that you love me.
So please smile. It makes me smile. And say “I love you.” Because I love you.
After I read her note and for the last time I sincerely smiled. I felt so warm inside when I read this I felt all was right. I held the Notebook dearly through 4th hour.
Then at lunch everything changed. I was sitting at my normal table with the same friends as always. This time when I came to sit down I knew something was different. They looked at me kind of like they were hiding something. “What’s up everyone? What the matter with everyone? You all seem so… out of it.” Then I got the news that I did not want to ever hear. “Alyssa is cheating on you with Josh.”
Josh was this guy in my Chemistry class that is a real dork. He always wears sunglasses, has these ugly gloves that are leather with no knuckles or fingers. I knew that Alyssa and Josh are friends. I also know that he liked her, but I did not think that he was stupid enough to try something.
When I heard this I did not question it like I should of. A word that would describe my anger…there was none. Nothing seemed to matter at all. Not my schooling, my sisters, nothing. I stormed out of the cafeteria and walked to my locker. I was in such a rage that I didn’t even notice that the hallway was empty for once. I kept thinking to myself: it is over, it is over, I am gone, and I have nothing.
When I got to my locker I saw her books on the top shelf. I threw them on the floor and grabbed my jacket. I slammed my locker and walked down to the end of the hallway and barged through the glass doors. Some friends were saying something to me as I walked outside but I didn’t understand a word that they were saying. I started walking down the block. When I got halfway down to the school driveway I stopped. I sat on the curb and cried. I cried out of sadness, rage, fear, and because I felt alone. The one that I have been with for the past year, the one that held her hand out every time I fell was no longer there.
After only a few minutes of crying I got up and my thoughts were blank. I just wanted to die. I wanted my life to end at that moment. I walked into the street and stood there hoping someone would hit me. Nobody did. They just slowed down and went around me. This only enraged me even more.
Finally giving up I walked onto the sidewalk across the street from school. I started walking away from the high school then I heard someone calling my name. I turned around. It was a person I really didn’t want to see. It was Josh. He came over to me and I just swung as hard as I could. I heard a satisfying crunch as my fist landed on his face. I saw him grab his face as I walked away. After that punch everything seemed to be better. I still felt my stomach boiling, I continued on my walk and as I walked I started thinking rationally. We were dedicated to each other. Alyssa would never betray me. I started feeling guilty about throwing her books.
I decided to go and retrieve her books. When I walked into the hallway where my locker was, it was empty no books. I knew right away that they were in the office. Not thinking I started my way to the office. I walked into the office and I saw a police officer. I asked the secretary for the books, but she said the officer wanted to talk to me.
“Are you Chase?” the cop asked me. I couldn’t help but snicker. The cop was a big cop. He looked like a cop that indulged on one too many doughnuts. His black hair was even slicked. “Yes I am. What does it matter?” I knew exactly where this was going.
“A boy came in here claimed you just assaulted him. Come into the office we can talk about it.” Not wanting to I went anyway. He opened the door to the dean’s office in the back. The office had a musty, nasty smell. This office was the typical office you pictured when you were kid. Even with the principal sitting at the desk with his fingers entwined. The officer closed the door.
“Now are you going to tell me why you punched that kid?”
“No not really, personally I think it is none of your business,” I started to feel the rage again as I thought about why I had punched him.
“It is my business as an officer. You know I have to report you?” I took a look at the cops face as he said this. It was serious and a little pink. I looked at his gun on his hip.
“Ya know what I don’t care. I don’t care what happens. I just want out of here, kay?” as I said this I realized how small the office was and really wanted to get out. “I only came for the books,” then I realized that I threw the Notebook. “If I can’t have the books I at least want the Notebook.”
I started to walk toward the door. I opened it I heard the cop say stop but I didn’t. He jumped in my way and I pushed him out of the way. The next thing I know I let go of the rage that had built up over the past year. I felt my elbow fling back and hit the officer in the face. He desperately tried to take me down to the floor. I just kept trying to hit him again. I then got a punch right into his stomach. I felt someone grab me from behind. I pulled my way out of his arms. But by the time I got out, the officer grabbed me. Then they tackled me to the ground. I started to pull myself up and I heard the officer yell at me to stay down. He tried to hold me down but the rage in me was stronger than he was. I felt more weight on me and I couldn’t get up. Then I felt my arms being pulled out from under me. I felt the cold metal of the cuffs touch my wrists.
The officer stood me up and sat me down in a chair. “Now are you going to tell me why you punched that kid?” I looked at him and said, “No. It doesn’t mean anything to you. Now just shoot me so I don’t have to kill myself later.”
“I have to call the hospital, now. I have to report suicidal ideations whether they are true or not.”
“I don’t care.” He turned around and took the walkie talkie off his belt and mumbled something into it and I heard, “Okay, be right there.” He turned to me and started questioning me, “What is your mother’s name? How can I get a hold of her?” I didn’t answer him. He looked at me with a serious face. “I have to check you for any dangerous objects, okay?” No answer. He pats my pockets down nothing. He reaches into my back pocket and pulls out my wallet. “I want my Notebook,” I tell him coldly. He just looks at me.
Another officer comes in; this one is skinner and is bald. He kneels down to my level. He looks at me and I look back at him. His eyes are softer than the other officers. “Your mother is here. Do you want to see her?” I can’t believe he asked that. Of course I don’t want to see my mother. “No,” I say with no feeling behind it. “Well, we are going to put you on the stretcher.” Some paramedics come in with a stretcher. “I am not going anywhere till I have that Notebook. The skinnier officer looks at the medic. The medic says “Sure let him have it.” “What does it look like?” I tell him what it looks like. He goes out and grabs the Notebook. They wheel me out and I go to the hospital.
I spent over a month at the hospital. They diagnosed me with severe depression. They started me on anti-depressants and an anti-psychotic. The whole time I was there I refused to see my mother and father. My grandparents came to visit me; they wanted me to come live with them. Alyssa came a few times and I loved every moment.
The psychiatrist did not see any improvements over the first two weeks. He gave up on my case and they transferred me to another hospital. I told the hospital what they wanted to hear and I was out later. I did not go home to my mother though. The day I was supposed to get out my mother came and told me that I wasn’t going to come home today. She has given up on me. I was going to live with my grandparents. She gave me a hug and said sorry. The next day my grandpa came to pick me up. We started our five hour journey to their house.
On January 28th 2008 Chase was found in his room. He had committed suicide. The Notebook was found shredded under his body.