Riding Past Their Mansion

May 18, 2008
By Devon Dovgan, Merritt Island, FL

I always bike slower when I go past their house so I can admire the tennis court, expensive flowering trees, and the waterfront property view. Next to this mansion, I feel small and insignificant on my cheap department-store bicycle. This is why even when it’s dark outside, I always wear my shades when I go for a ride. I don’t want to be caught by my friend’s wealthy family crying as I pass their house.
I should feel guilty that I’m so jealous. But I can’t help it. It’s hard to ride past a life that I used to have and not feel homesick. This used to be me. I used to be the kid who went skiing in Colorado every winter. I used to be the kid who summered in Cape Cod. I used to be the kid that went a fancy private school.
I can’t believe the stinging acid in my throat, and that I could be so mad at people who were wealthier than me. But the knots in my tummy don’t leave. I am angry. I look around at the Florida sun rays reflecting off the bright oranges in the groves. Every time I pedal past their house, I am reminded of how much of the world I won’t get to see because I don’t live in this mansion.
I don’t want a stupid thousand-dollar handbag. I want to go to Costa Rica and learn to speak Spanish. I don’t want an expensive car. I want to visit Alaska and see a moose. I hate these people so much. I hate them because even though I am smart enough, I will probably never go to an out-of-state college like I’ve always dreamed… because I don’t have the money. I hate them because while they worry about where they are going for spring break, I am worrying about my GPA and if it is enough to get me a scholarship. I hate them because while they do volunteer hours so they can be charitable people, I have to do volunteer hours so I can qualify for grants. And because they play sports for fun while I work for hours in sports so I can look better on a college application.
But most of all, I hate them because they are exactly what I used to be. And deep inside, I kind of miss that.

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