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

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   His long, blond curls decorated his head and swept down in front of his eyes. They all stared at him, because just by glancing at him you could tell that he was different. His life was unconventional; he frequently drifted from one place to another; his social life consisted of a drunken party, a few messed-up friends and about an ounce of weed. Or so they thought. Would they have thought the same if he looked any different? Who knows.

Okay, so some of what they said was true. He had done a fair number of drugs earlier in life, and could drink anyone under the table. But as high school faded into college and college had faded into life, he gave up pot and cut down on his drinking. He knew that he would have to settle down, cut his hair, and take a real job eventually, but for now? He was 26 years old, and he felt that he still had a few more years of enjoying life. And why not?

He loved us. All of us. We knew in our hearts that we could always come to him with a problem, and that when the mighty clutching hands of teen peer pressure clawed down on us, he'd understand. He had been there. And even though he lived over 1500 miles away, he somehow knew what we were up to, and would always write or call to make sure we were still on, or somewhat close to, the straight and narrow.

Our age difference didn't matter. He was, for all of us, our best friend. Rich Canter, if you ever read this, we love you. Now and forever. n


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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