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I don't think I've ever been in my "quiet place". I was one told that I resemble a valet service because I've been through a lot. I just hate how everybody looks at me like a good boy. But then of course, I don’t bring all of the horrible problems in public.
But a quiet place for me would be a place where I could sleep with both eyes closed. Where I wouldn't have to feel the cold steel press up against my belly from the gun that feels to heavy for my hand, but big enough to take out Shaq if I had to. To be honest, I really didn't like guns, I just used them when I was in the kind of trouble that I thought I might not get out of.
That life was out of school though. And even though I hated the agony of listening to lectures, my hand cramping from gripping the pencil too tight, and dealing with girl drama, I would kill to be there.
To bad I had to once.
I remember it like it was yesterday, in fact it was. Something told me that tiring morning at six a.m. that I was going to have to pace pretty fast if wanted to go to school alive.
He wasn't that much bigger than me, but he was a lot heavier. I don’t blame him for trying to rob me. Who wouldn’t think they could try and take advantage of a 17 year old that looked like he was 16, tall, lanky, and had glasses? He had another thing coming.
In school, I was Greg Anderson, the funny mascot. I don’t even know how I got the gig, I think I volunteered. I’m such an idiot, but if I kept me off the streets for a little bit longer, I'd do it in a heartbeat.
Speaking of heartbeats, I wasn't very good at getting with girls. Don't get me wrong though, I had a lot of girls that were friends but not very many girlfriends. I guess that could be a good thing. I'd hate to put someone that I cared about in that much danger. I couldn't imagine someone blowing my head off right in front of the girl whose last words to me was, "I love you too."
Sometimes I wouldn't even leave school if I felt that there was going to be something wrong. When I was younger my father taught me how to pick locks. He taught me for my own safety, not to be breaking into places and just to do what I want. Now that I think about it, I know why my mother always told me that I reminded her of him so much. He tried to be good but trouble always found him. I guess he passed his "trouble finding him" skills along with me. I miss her. I really need to go and get some white tulips and put them on her head stone, she'd like that. As for my dad, I was with him for the last hours of his life. We were at the hardware store looking for some special flathead screwdrivers. It was really easy to get a Chevy Tahoe to start with one of them. We were out of luck though. As we were walking out of the store I saw the look on his face as if he saw a ghost. As a matter of a fact he was supposed to be dead. Dad shot him maybe a week before. I knew what was going to happen, and I dreaded it for months after I had found mom on her bed bathed in blood from vicious stab wounds. Tears raced down my cheek as I looked up at Dad. He handed me his wallet and said, "I love you with all of my heart. Don't ever take no crap from anyone. Now run!"
I ran hard and fast. I personally thought I could run fast for a fourteen year old. I heard gun shots go off while I raced to who knows where. I never looked back.
My first initial thought was to steal a car, but I had no wire cutters with me that day. So I ran all the way to a place where I knew I would be safe. Her name was Becca.
I've known her since we were little. She's about the only person that actually understood what I had to put up with growing up. She knows I got beat and how I sometimes couldn't eat. If I was in desperate need, she was there.
She lived about a mile or two from where my father's execution took place. It was dark by the time I got to her house. As I approached I couldn't really remember which window was hers, so I just went to one and knocked softly. There were no lights on in the house but two cars were there. After knocking a dim light filled the room and the curtain opened slowly to the right. I got lucky. She looked at me and smiled, then signaled me to the back door. I smiled back and felt a little amount of relief.
After tip-toeing through the kitchen and passing her parents’ door, she led me into her room.
She had a small bed made for me on the floor next to her twin size. The pillow was pink with white poka dots all over, I chuckled to myself. "It's been a while", I heard her whisper. “I’m guessing you've been out of trouble until today. I'm sorry for what happened to you father, he was on the news." I nodded and went to lie down. Her whisper faded as I drifted off into an almost quiet sleep.
It must have been a couple of hours that I had been asleep before she woke me. It felt like I had barley closed my eyes. I forgot where I was for a second as I gripped my butterfly knife that was held in my hand under the pink pillow. "Greg, you have to get up. My parents are about to be up. Are you okay? You look like you just had a nightmare." "My life is a nightmare", I whispered as I rose. "You can come back later if you want some breakfast", she said. But I shook my head. She understood. I went out the back door and the sun was beginning to rise. Daylight.
Being at school wasn't so bad, I was already a senior, this was my last year, and then I'm out in the "real world", how much realer can it get? I'd been over to Becca's only two times since my dad died. I think I was doing pretty good as for getting into trouble. I had an English class with her for a while, but some idiot had to test me and I had to rough him up, he didn't press charges but the school changed my classes. I see Becca in the hallways sometimes. Who would have thought of all the stuff she helped me through?
Graduation day was coming up, I never thought I was going to go this far. When I would lay my head on my desk from being bored listening to lectures, I would dream into the past. So many shots fired, so many sirens blast, so much hate, hardly any of it got to me. Yea, my mother and my father are gone but apparently it was there time to go, I was still here.
Walking across the stage made me feel invincible. No shots going off, no sirens, no hate, just me. I wonder if it was all luck or just fate. I looked all around me as I walked across slowly, Becca was crying, but she looked happy. A tear rolled quickly down my cheek and into my smile.
This feeling overcame my body while I was walking off, very briefly, for that moment which felt like a life time, it was quiet.