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The Lost Boy

‘You’re late! You’re late! You’re late, moron!’ was the only train of thought in Peter’s head as he chaotically made his way through his tiny apartment’s door. Steaming coffee in one hand and his grandfather’s suede jacket in the other, Peter ran down the stairs skipping two steps at a time. He opened the front door of the lobby and took a step outside.
Miniscule snowflakes were raining down onto the restless city of New York City. Snow had always captivated Peter: he had lived in Florida for most of his life and never got the chance to build a snowman or go sledding. The snow framed the New York skyscrapers flawlessly.
He stopped, and he didn’t move a muscle. His coffee’s temperature was decreasing with each passing second, his chances of keeping his job deteriorating each passing moment – yet Peter still had no urge to move. He just watched the snowflakes cascade down upon the beautiful city.
Why was he in such a rush – why had his life, his youthful, wonderful life, amounted to a daily routine of hastiness for no rhyme or reason? In high school, he’d always been the one among his friends with the most potential, the most likely to succeed. But here he was, working in a cubicle, constantly cursing a run-down coffee machine and eating Chinese take-out every night.
Peter had always wanted to be a musician, his untouched guitar mocking him, but his father never gave that dream a shot. With every family trip to the beach and every lecture about how his older brother got accepted into Stanford early or scored the winning touchdown – his dream, just like the tide, was eventually pulled out to sea. Thinking back now, that was something that had always bothered Peter about his life, about how he gave up so easily.
“You can’t always be stuck dreaming,” his grandfather would tell him, “Sometimes, you have to put some back into it.” He never understood that saying; everything his grandfather said would always go through one ear and out the other. But now, as his fingers turned an awful shade of light blue and his cheeks were brighter than cherries, he understood that most dreams only last for a night. The dreams that should matter are the ones dreamt with eyes wide open. But to actually fulfill even those dreams, to live a life where he’s not just getting by but actually enjoying himself, he has to put dedication into the thing that keeps him happy. He has to sacrifice, and with that thought a frown erupted on Peter’s face.
No one ever said it was going to be like this. No one ever said growing up was going to be so hard. He wanted that feeling back when he would climb the big oak tree behind his house and watch everyone on the ground. He always felt like he was so close to the stars. His eyes fixed in a cold stare, Peter dropped his coffee on the ground as his hands started to shake. He needed to find a tree. He wanted to touch the stars. He wanted to go back to the times where dreams weren’t dying, but being born and time was always there.
Before he could stop himself, Peter ran inside his apartment building, climbing stairs two at a time until he finally reached his dimly lit hallway. Since his hands were still trembling, maybe from the cold or his sudden epiphany, it took a while for the lock to finally click open. Tripping over furniture and piles of dirty laundry, Peter pulled out a small black suitcase from underneath his bed. Soon his entire closet’s contents, all the mix tapes he made back in high school, all the money under his mattress, and finally his shiny passport were stuffed into the tiny black suitcase.
Repeating his usual morning schedule, Peter ran down the stairs, skipping two at a time and finally made it back outside. He hailed a bright yellow taxi and chuckled to himself as the driver gave him a peculiar look.
“To the airport, please,” Peter said, with a gleam in his eye.
In less than ten minutes, the airport came into view and Peter had to resist the urge to jump out of the taxi and run the rest of the distance. Finally, the taxi lurched to a stop as Peter threw a twenty at the cab driver before running out into the cool airport. (One perk of coming to an airport during work hours, the lines aren’t that horrific.)
“Hi, what can I do for you today?” The lady at the front desk asked with a big smile.
For the first time in his life, Peter felt he could mimic that smile, “The first plane out of here, please.”



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