3rd Person Biography This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

June 6, 2011
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The PVC pool chair creaked under the shifting weight as Tre reached over the arm rest to ash his cigarette. The Marlboro 72 was almost halfway done, another one partially peaking out of the pack in anticipation. Tre watched as his hand shook slightly, the burning end of his smoke vibrating in the near-dark light. It wasn’t from withdrawals or sickness, but from something much deeper. His free hand wandered though the patch of black cherry colored hair at the top of his head, the thoughts too rapid and contradicting for his mind to keep up without pain. He pulled the cigarette to his lips, inhaled the sickly sweet flavor, and let his arm fall back to relaxed. Burns and bruises covered his arms and legs, the imagined pain far greater then a human should have been able to handle. For Tre though, the pain was a constant reminder of his humanity, not a distraction. Every time he moved and a bruise rubbed against the hard plastic, the throbbing dull pain bought him back to himself. He hadn’t caused them, nor did his stoned out father or alcoholic mother, nor the family he was staying with because of them. Instead the cause ran much deeper into his being, his mind even.


Beside him in a similar chair the friend who had opened his home to Tre struck his lighter and held it in front of his face, his rounded Italian features dramatically lit as he puffed another 72 to life. This boy Tre regarded as a brother, sometimes as a sister depending on the situation. Once the burning ember stayed lit on it’s own, the lighters flame was extinguished, the small amount of light it brought to the night world leaving with it. Tre had lost count how many nights they had sat out like this, beside the pool listening to the crickets symphony, harmonizing with the chorus of other night creatures who decided to voice their opinions of the world, simply enjoying each others company. Some nights the conversation ran long and loud, though tonight it was quiet and quick.



The night passed by slowly, one in the morning coming before ten it seemed. The bed offering no moment of rest for Tre, his brother laying beside him on the phone with yet another boy. His mind relaxed from more then one cigarette, Tre could think without his head pounding in protest as it usually did. Yet, even with this small improvement, he couldn’t make himself go through the normal motions his thoughts wanted to take. Instead he though only of her, that girl, the one who had taken his heart and held it, close like a wick and a flame. He though of her eyes, caramel and soft hidden under a slick curtain of dark red, like an over ripe apple. He thought of her smile, the one that captured him and refused to let him go. He though of her kiss, so soft and sweet, yet needy but not overly so. Yes, her kiss, oh her way with words without having to say a single sound, and being able to say so much with her beautiful silence. This was where his mind decided to wander and be lost within, her eyes and her kiss. The world outside those moments didn’t matter, only him and her, the bond deep and lasting. What was so different about her that she stuck in his mind like she had always been there he didn’t know, though he was not unhappy to be in that place. Yet, even with his mind in such a peaceful place, he slowly slipped into rest, into a world not welcoming of such a being. His dreams wrapped around him like a thick fog, suffocating and real. They fought him, burned him, scared him, and yet he could not escape from them. Here was his cell, these partial realities that tormented him, even in his waking life when a human should be safe. Here was where he could not ignore those ideals that he constantly pushed aside when he could, where they faced him with strikingly true feeling. The fire, the fighting, all too real before him and around him when he had no where to run and hiding was never an option, unless death was the wanted result, and he had to much to live for.


Storms like these had always given him peace of mind. It was one of those things that he couldn’t really explain to another who didn’t know him, but the wind brushing the branches against his window and the house rattling blasts of bass like sound helped to settle him internally. His nightly wonderings were becoming worse by the night, though the past night his brother had giving him a calm dreamless night with a pill. He couldn’t live every night on that human invention, and tonight he would have to face his fear again. He thought of his parents on this dark day, about past traditions and new arrangements. He had contacted his father, though it had been awkward and short he felt it had been the right thing to do. Maybe someday they would forgive each other for the wrongs against them, though today had truly not been the day. He had yet to try contacting his mom, though she wasn’t actually his birth mother, but the one who had been the figure head for more then half his life. He just couldn’t find it in himself to go that distance yet, though he had thought of it.


Tre Valentine sat by himself on the side of the bed, his thoughts pounding his temples like fists to this brain. Depression slithered in like a bad smell, the thoughts all to close to becoming actions. Why now he asked himself, though he knew he had no answer. Sometimes he just fell into these slumps, these pitfalls where he was questioning his sanity and humanity. It was another early morning before he could finally rest his mind, having worked past the moment. Another fit of dreams, and awoken by his brothers irritated voice and soft shaking. It took a lot to wake Tre up, especially as the dreams stole all his energy he gained in the rest, but his brother dealt with the duty of making sure they both got up and got to school on time. Once the last fingers of fog cleared from Tre’s vision, he pushed himself up to face yet another Monday ahead of him. Right now, the last thing he wanted to do was face the cluster-f*** of bodies and minds the school environment came with, but he had to. He pushed himself up onto his elbows, the searing line on his back once again flaming to life. He held his breath to stop the scream pulling at his throat, and as his body readjusted to the pain, a small whimper slipped through his lips. He had to find a way to push it back, to keep the pain under his control, and once he did he was able to rise the rest of the way.


He went through the motions, clothes, shower, dress, cigarette, drive, cigarette, walk, bus, school. School, another day of frustration and irritation facing him square in the face, forward the only thought he could conjure out of the mess of thoughts and feelings as he shifted though the white brick walls. It seemed every person knew his name, though none but a select few knew him as he was. Those who did respect him kept their mouths shut when need be, but spoke up when called for. They were his people, his crowd, those who took him in and rose him up until now, where he could stand on his own feet in victory over his own emotions. They could walk beside him, understand his face in the worst of days, those where no sleep had come from the night, and be able to brighten his eyes when they were dulled from thoughts.


The lit cigarette sat in his hands, untouched other then the burning ember as it stared at him, begging him to take it to his lips. He was tired, not just in a physical way, but a mental one. His head pounded behind his eyes, tears begging to brake away. He missed him, Michael, his blood ripped from him before a true chance to live was given. A past remembrance, sitting in his brothers arms, lulling him to sleep. His heart willed the tears, his whole body willing to let them flow, but he just couldn’t. He was stronger then that, had more mind control over himself then to let himself show that kind of weakness. And yet, he wanted to cry, wanted to let out that kind of feeling, his core wanted to release the energy built up from the struggle, but he just couldn’t, not now. He was angry, angry he couldn’t cry, angry that he wanted to, angry at the world for not being the hand he needed when these holes came, he sat staring at the knife block, thinking, wanting. He came close, those thoughts manifesting, making his arm want to rise, to grab, to end it. He thought it out, the blood, the need, but somehow he turned away. He couldn’t do that to his new family, to those he had dubbed his siblings, to leave them like he wanted to. It wasn’t they who made him want to finalize himself, he wasn’t sure what it was but it was very much there. The confliction in his own head was the only thing stopping his hand, holding him back. He wasn’t sure if he wanted to badly enough, enough to raise the knife to his arm and draw his life away.


Calm enveloped Tre as he laid his pounding head down on the pillow of his bed, its softness giving him a comfort found nearly no where else. The chemicals were just hitting his brain, the euphoric feeling taking over his body, willing him to just stay where he was, no need to get up. He liked being there, where he was content with himself and the world, he just hated getting there. All that coughing and dry mouth so he could be happy, it just seemed like there should be a better way. For now however, he was not concerned with such things, but with the design on his ceiling. He wasn’t sure exactly what it was called, like someone had put a layer of spackle and never completely smoothed it out, leaving a semi flat unfinished feel. Streaks of light from the street light outside as it was filtered through his door painted it with near parallel lines of a brighter shade, some passing over his moving fan blades, the light skipping as each blade intersected it. Here was his moment, no thoughts but what he could see. A smile crept across his face, a true simple grin from pure happiness. Life as he knew it was good, a strong lasting sort of wonderful that only came from this sort of calm that only came from the chemicals.


Tre stared at himself in the mirror, a stern line drawn across his face. He hated seeing himself full on like this, nothing can be hidden, strapped down, and forgotten. His hips were padded and wide, birthing hips his father would always say. His camo shorts hung low over them, showing bone and curve. They didn’t even have the slightest touch of manliness about them, they were for all intents and purposes woman hips. His face even had a femininity about it, soft and caring like a young mother. His hair had been cut shorter then normal, a long buzz on the top and short on the sides and back. His face gave away his secret though, his body worked against him. That person in the mirror, the one his body duplicated but his mind rejected, people had a name for her. Teachers, distant friends and others called it Rina, Karina. This was his body, this Karina, but his mind was all Tre. He held anger to it, to the mirror self, but he could do nothing about it but stare, stare and wonder. Why had he been stuck in this body, so against anything he knew about himself? He was he, Tre, not she in the mirror, in the looking glass. He felt sometimes that he lived his life through this glass, that was after all what others saw. He had to respect what they saw, to understand that he can not change it no matter how hard he strapped down his C breasts or how low his pants hung. Outside of a small circle of friends he called his siblings very few saw him as Tre, instead as Rina. Rina, the female with a kind heart and a fine body, a perfectly feminine body that any boy would bend over for.


Confining yet stunning, the sparkling dress glittered around him as he moved, the four inch heels click-clacking as his brother attempted to teach him to waltz. Well, he knew how to waltz, but he knew how to lead the dance, not follow as a woman. His feet kept falling out of time, going back to lead steps and bumping into his brothers. The dress hugged his curves like it was made for him, and really he just didn’t see the beauty his brothers did. His hair had been dyed orange to match the dress, styled and sprayed so it wouldn’t fall apart for at least another hour. This was one of those high school things he really had looked forward to, but now that it was here all he was was a bundle of nerves. He didn’t know how to dance, let alone follow, and his girlfriend was being the man for the night. Frustrated, he left his brothers hands and clacked back to the weathered picnic table to sit, the heels were killing his ankles. One night, it was just one night, he could handle it. With any luck it would be the last night he would ever have to press himself into a dress, or moreover, not press himself. Its not that he hated it, but he liked it in a sort of man cross dressing kind of way. It was fun to dress up, but it just wasn’t him. He was so much more bad ass then this tripping over himself for looks.


Days passed like seconds, Tre’s mind still bouncing between two extremes. Nothing could really settle it, his thoughts like racecars in Daytona, taking turns far to close and sometimes sparks flying from the undercarriage if they took it to close. Every once in a while one would hit another, just a tap as they passed, and one though would collide into another. Fire, twisted metal, no survivors. He could feel the tension from an earlier argument hidden under a layer of calm and peace. He just couldn’t stop he realized, quitting was just very overrated, it almost wasn’t worth it until all the stress in his life was gone. Meaning never, he would probably never be able to set down a Marlboro for the last time, nor a bowl. Addiction wasn’t quite the word for it, really if he needed to he could stop. He actually hated smoking, the act of filling his lungs with anything but outside air hurt these days, but he didn’t really want to stop. These things kept him cool, kept him controlled. Without his cigarette he was a monster of untainted emotion, completely to his own devises.

Thoughts raced again, just this time he saw no end to the cycle. She had left him, the one with the hair like over ripe apples and eyes of caramel. She had left him because of situations out of his control. No talk, no anything, just a text to a friend for them to tell Tre. He sat back, music blaring to the point of hearing loss, the world around him almost not even mattering. He was among friends, but it was almost like they weren’t there. Some thought he could hear them, but he refused to have the music leave his ears. He was still in shock, how could she do that to him? A second later, she took him back, an I’m sorry for good measure. He was only hurting himself like this, driving the knife into his own heart, and yet he couldn’t make himself take it out. This was the sacrifice he had decided to make, Her love for his pain.





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