Rebels Six This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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As we sat in the wood chips that brisk fall night, my close friend Jon and I relaxed and talked about the many things on our minds. We had been best friends all our lives, and this conversation was a time of reflection and learning.

The wood-chip pile was in the neighborhood leaf dump, a place we had spent much of our childhood building forts, riding dirt bikes, and just being away from everyone. The dump was our kingdom.

We began discussing all the things we used to do. We remembered walking into high school for the first time together, and even our years of middle school. The more we talked, the more we realized how fast the time had gone by that had seemed to take forever. Our neighborhood had been perfect, with the dump, the school, a BMX course and even a golf course where we used to play Army.

“Jon, do you remember when people told us they would love to be our age again, and we couldn’t figure out why?” We finally realized what adults had been telling us, and how we had taken our youth for granted. As our conversation continued, I became more angry and frustrated. I kept wishing I could stop the hands of time. We had finally realized how lucky we were to have such close friends, so many great places and opportunities to have fun.

For years we had dreamed of being older. We always had fun at parties, but we never totally enjoyed ourselves. We always wanted to be the older kids throwing the parties. We wanted to be able to tell the younger kids what we did when we were their age.

Now we were finally living our wishes. For a second it felt great to realize that our older brothers were no longer around, and that we were the oldest. We drove cars, we were looked up to, we threw the parties and it was clear that younger kids admired us.

The great feeling was suddenly crushed when we began thinking about the year ahead. Jon was going to be a United States Marine, Ogar was going upstate, Casper would be a hundred miles away in college, Reed and Dart would be working, and I would be at school. It was our last year together. Eventually time would reap our youth and we would become men.

It was at that point that Jon and I vowed to live our lives to the fullest. To live the moment for what it is, and to enjoy it, not just because it leads to the next. Although we had experienced many great times, each second that we had wasted would never return, and next year the Rebels Six would just be six rebels, each on his own path to manhood. And although we will all be friends forever, our time living and growing up together went by fast.

The more I think about that night, the more I wish I could gather all the kids who want to grow up and get them to see how they should cherish every moment. So many don’t understand how lucky they are – until their blessings are taken away.

This is not to say that college won’t be fun, but as we sat that night I learned to appreciate what I have, and to live every moment for all that it is worth.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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