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I lugged my backpack into the house, leaving my violin at school on accident. I heard voices arguing and closed the door behind me. Jane was back.

Her black hair was extremely uneven- strands of hair that were ten inches long were next to three-inch-long strands. She held a pair of scissors in her right hand and was snipping at her hair so viciously that I wasn’t sure if she would puncture herself first or break the poor instrument. I tried to slip past unnoticed, but of course, Jane’s hazel eyes immediately spotted me.

“He told me to do it, Dad! Why would I try to kill someone? He’s the juvenile delinquent that’s out of control, not me!” she screeched at her father.

I pondered the irony of the scene- Jane was the one that was angry and out of control, not me. I had just happened to walk through the front door without getting in the way. But who was he going to believe? Jane, of course. No one ever listens to me.

“Is that true, Alex?” Mr. Browne demanded.

“I don’t know- you tell me.”

“It was a yes or no question, Alex. Is that true?”

“Of course not! I don’t even know this girl! Why would I tell Jane to kill her?” I was sick of being used, sick of these accusations, sick of life in general. I wasn’t just going to stand back and take it anymore. I had had enough.

“Of course you would deny it, Alexander. You just don’t want t have to be put in jail like me, do you?”

“Be quiet, Alex. don’t lie to me. Jane would never do such a thing. You should be put on trial.”

“No, don’t- I think that putting him on the streets for a while will be sufficient.”

“I agree- six months, Alex.”

“What?!” I yelped. This was absolutely ridiculous. I’d gotten kicked out for one month, a month and a half, but never half of a whole year! Why was it that all my plans backfired? Why was I so horribly screwed up?

“Make that one year,” he amended, flashing a malicious smile in my direction. I saw that he would only double my sentence if I argued more. I gave up- on persuading him, on myself, and on life overall.

“Fine,” I snapped, walked off, and debated heavily what to do next.

-the next day-

Well… this was it. I had nothing left- that sentence was just the last straw. I couldn’t let people just use me like that. I was so sick of it. I hated life- I hated this. I hated myself. My mistakes- yes, I have made mine- they’ve cost me dearly. On top of always having to rebuild and pick up the pieces, I’ve lost all hope and will. My violin was at school- and it would stay there. If my mom cared, she could get it herself. I was done with life.

I gazed at the busy street, running through the very center of town. A cool breeze whipped through my hair, and I told myself to enjoy it while it lasted- because there wasn’t much time left. The dire situation certainly wasn’t easy on my nerves.

What the heck. Hadn’t I had enough of this sick life already? I was a messed up person- there was no denying that. No one would miss me- in fact, no one would even notice. I was better off dead. Why didn’t I just end my life already?

I took a moment to study myself. My hair, bleached to my own sense of perfection, blew wildly around my face as the wind increased. I bit my lower lip in thought, knowing that my dark brown eyes had bags beneath them. I hadn’t cried- that was so beneath me now. I had changed- I was a man now. When I had looked at myself in the mirror before departing, I had seen the hurt and pain in my own expression. That was certainly quite frightening.

Today, I wore a black shirt (bought from some store named Pac-Sun or something) and skinny jeans that a lot of girls had seemed to get a kick out of at school the day before. It was sad that I had to resort to bleaching my hair and wearing odd clothing to get noticed for… oh, two seconds. I’d done my best- it wasn’t working. I didn’t know my class rank yet- they must have sent it when I wasn’t home or to my dad’s house. Whatever. I was probably somewhere in the middle- I always was with anything else in life.

My tennis shoes were white with lime green laces on the right shoe and red laces on the left. It was a strange combination- and the only shoelaces that I actually had. I’d found them just kind of lying around the house, and I had to wonder why my life seemed to just be one huge soup of mess that never seemed to end.

I was going to end it now, without further delay. I stepped forward with each thought, a step closer to the destination that I had chosen. This was it. Step. It was all over. Step. It would only be a little pain- pain that I was definitely man enough to handle. Step. Life sucked and I had no idea what came next. Step. I didn’t care- about that, or anything else, for the matter. Step. This was the end.

Without knowing it, I had wandered into the middle of the street- seemingly by accident- and I was so ready. I smiled for what I knew was the last time and saw a car coming with my peripheral vision. Time doesn’t actually slow down- I’ve figured that out. It’s just the drama of movies. But everything happened so, so fast.

The black car- that matched my shirt and the rest of my life- was headed towards me. Although the driver attempted to swerve, I knew that he couldn’t do it on time. I didn’t care if someone else had to die for my mistake- I was being selfish now. But the driver was a complete stranger. Ethan wasn’t.

“Alex!” I had forgotten about Ethan- that he would be here. “Alex, look out!” I heard him yell before I was blasted off my feet. One moment I was planted firmly in the middle of the road, the next I felt the concrete scrape my entire back and gasped at the pain. Somehow, I had been thrown back onto the sidewalk. I got up immediately and stared at the scene before me.

Ethan’s head and chest were both bleeding. All the commotion on the street stopped, then resumed as people got cell phones out and gathered around. No one noticed me slip in and grab the piece of paper sticking out of his pocket. His words only mocked me this time.

For me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

If I should live, I won’t live for myself, but for others. If I die, I don’t have to stick around anymore. It’s a win-win situation that I should live by.

April 7th.

Well, that was it. Death was a good thing. And someone did care enough about me to sacrifice himself to die in my place. I felt so unworthy, so dirty, so corrupted. I might as well have stabbed Ethan myself. Seeing him lie there and bleed in my place made me feel uncomfortable. He must have really cared about me- but I hated him for not letting me have what I wanted. I could be gone by now. But he had to play a hero.

That was what Ethan was to me- a hero. He’d saved me in countless ways- and paid the ultimate sacrifice. No one had ever cared about me so much- no one. I shouldn’t have done that. That was my biggest mistake of all.

As reporters swarmed the area like ants attracted to sugar, eager spectators piled around, and I took the opportunity to flee. A flash went off in my face, but it was too late to do anything now. My back was starting to sting- I hoped that I died from stupid infection. That would definitely be preferable…



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