- Summer Guide
- College Guide
- Author Interviews
- Celebrity interviews
- College Articles
- College Essays
- Educator of the Year
- Personal Experience
- Travel & Culture
- Current Events / Politics
- Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking
- Entertainment / Celebrities
- Love / Relationships
- Movies / Music / TV
- Pop Culture / Trends
- School / College
- Social Issues / Civics
- Spirituality / Religion
- Sports / Hobbies
- Community Service
- Letters to the Editor
- Pride & Prejudice
- What Matters
A single day can change your life
Today, like everyday, I sit staring out of the window watching the world pass me by. I pull my knees up to my chest as I look at the clear blue sky and the houses off in the distance. This is the closest I will ever get to freedom; curled on my bed barely a foot away from fresh, crisp air.
Its brown walls surround me like a cardboard box. I feel like they are pressing against me, leaving no room for me to breathe. The wrinkled clothes are strung across my room, leaving only fragments of the smooth dark hardwood floor. It reminds me of the chaos in my mind, but I can’t find the energy to sort it all out.
My bed is my sanctuary, high above the clutter; it offers its comfort with its homey smell and the soft blankets that wrap around my body like a warm hug. I lie there and stare at the ceiling above me. Images start to appear out of its textured surface like clouds in the sky. As I make out all the shapes, my mind drifts off and I fall asleep.
The next morning I am awakened abruptly by the piercing relentless cries of my alarm. I throw my arm across the nightstand hoping to will hit the easing snooze button. Silence fills my room again. My walls are dangerously thin, and I hear the morning bustle of my parents. With the slamming of doors and the clinking of dishes, I ease my mind to awareness. I sit up and stare out at the damp depressing world outside my window. I watch it get brighter and realize that it’ll pass me by again today, just like it does everyday. I close my eyes and try to dream of freedom, but before I can fall back to sleep my mom suddenly barges into my room and turns on the blinding white light. She starts nagging at me for sleeping in so I pull the covers over my head and growl for her to get out. After she leaves me alone I use all the energy I have to drag myself out of bed. I sit up and dangle my legs over the edge of the bed. Scooting forward the bottoms of my bare feet touch the cold hard floor, sending chills down my back.
My muscles felt too relaxed, so adjusting the temperature knobs in the shower was a strain. I let the chill water spray over my hand and wait for the hot water to kick on. Gradually I feel the water lose some of its shocking cold before turning luke-warm, then finally steaming hot. I step in and let the water warm my body and wake me up. I do the rest of the showering process without thinking.
When I finally step out, 35 minutes later, my whole body is steaming and I'm sleepy again. I walk back into my room with the towel wrapped around me. After drying off I pull on some jeans I find on the floor. I glance at the clock and realize I'm almost out of time. I can't miss the bus so I quickly put on a black tank top and some eyeliner and leave my room. I know there isn't time for breakfast so I settle for a warm amp and hurry out of the house and to the bus stop.
The bus ride was hell. I was glad to finally be able to get off and away from the loud, obnoxious crowd but unfortunately I was still at school. I wandered the halls looking for my first class and quickly was lost. The bell rang and I was no closer to finding my first class than when I started so I decided to skip the first period. I found my way to the bathroom, thinking I'd have a smoke. There was a girl washing her hands when I walked in and our eyes met awkwardly. I broke contact immediately and started to walk to the farthest stall but I felt her gaze linger on me.
"Hey, my name is Kate," she said. "You look new here."
I hate when people are too forward, so I paused before I turned around and reply, to seem less approachable.
"I'm Aiden; yeah it's my first day"
"Aiden. That’s a really pretty name." she said as she smiled broadly at me. I guess she was being friendly but I wasn’t in the mood so I just smiled back at her, hoping our conversation would end at that. It didn't.
She went on to tell me all about my new school. The football team records, the dances, the food, the popular hangouts, she hit it all. I watched her talk for a while, nodding occasionally. I was reciting the pledge of allegiance in my head for the third time when something she said caught my attention. "So if you want to meet a bunch of cool people you can come to my party tonight." She went on to explain that her parents were gone and she had plenty of liquor. It was supposed to be a really wild party.
I thought about the party all day as I struggled through my classes. I was excited about going out, drinking, and meeting new people but there was no way my parents would allow me to go to an unsupervised party, especially on a school night.
When I got home my parents did the usual, "How was your day honey?" and I replied that it was fine. I knew they wouldn’t understand if I told them how hard it was so instead I told them that I made a new friend, and that she invited me to a little party. They immediately went into interrogation mode, and I into lie mode.
Where? With who? How late? Will there be alcohol or drugs? I told them of course not and they calmed down. They let me go with a midnight curfew.
I arrived at the party and was impressed. It was just as wild as Kate promised. After a few drinks my head started to whirl. Kate found me and started talking again but a guy asked me if I wanted to smoke a joint with him and I promptly accepted. After that I completely let loose. I partied extra hard and met a lot of people. I partied so hard that I ended up getting home at around 2a.m. The last thing I remember was the furious looks on my parents’ faces as I slurred a failed lie.
The next morning my parents woke me up, saying that we were going to have a talk. My head throbbed and I felt like I was gonna throw up. I definitely didn't want to get yelled at right now. Knowing they were going to ground me for life anyways, I decided to leave the house and spend my last remaining hours of freedom getting high with Mark, a guy I met at the party who lives close by.
On the way to marks house I tried to remember the night before. The end of the night was hazy but most of my memory was intact. A sketchy looking guy in an old blue Subaru pulled up next to me, breaking my train of thought.
"Need a ride, cutie?" he asked. When I stared at the ground and refused he persisted. "We're going the same way.", "It won’t be any trouble.", "I'll have you there real quick."
I wasn’t going to wait for him to offer me candy so I decided to nip this situation in the bud. Looking to my left I saw a little trail through the trees. I started to jog towards it. I heard the guy yell after me but I didn’t look back. Panic swept through me when I heard his car door slam shut. I sprinted through the trees and only then realized the stupidness of my "run away from civilization" plan. There was nothing I could do; no where I could run to be safe.
I couldn’t bring myself to turn around but suddenly felt something smash against the back of my head. My sight blurred and it felt like the world swallowed me. I was screaming but no matter how many times I asked him to stop, he wouldn’t. I was so tired from fighting all I could do was cry as he continued to have his way with me. I lost control of my body and fell limp. When he was done with me he told me that if I ever told anyone what happened, my family and I would pay.
After he let me go all I wanted to do was run home as fast as I could, but I paused and stood there for a moment thinking about how mad my parents were for last night and how I was surely in trouble for sneaking out. To top it off, how could I tell them what had just happened. I was scared and ashamed. With nowhere else to go I knew my only choice was to go home.
I threw the door open and ran inside, sobbing. They asked me what was wrong and where I had been. I had no choice but to tell them the truth. We all sat on the couch and I spilled my guts about everything. I could see on my parents’ faces that they felt my pain, and together we walked through the Police Station doors to report what had happened.