When I was 15, there was a wall separating my friends from their families.

My hair was sprayed in place.

Music was about love, and being alive.

I rode a bus to school, and walked with a cane.

My best friends were non-existent, though looking back there were many who wanted to be my friend, if only I would let them.

My English teacher realized I’d already read every book in his lesson plan, and gave me Turgenev instead.

I wrote short fiction for the first time. So much that I sold some pieces to other students so they wouldn’t have to. That same English teacher knew what I was doing, and graded accordingly.

I read two to three books a day.

I spoke Latin.

My ranger used 8-sided dice.

Superheroes died. The Dark Knight returned.

I made mix tapes.

I spent the summer running a hot dog cart with my uncle.

I spent the winter watching stars in the sky.

I weighed half what I do now. While holding 10 lb barbells.

I was robbed at gunpoint, in my own home.

My President made me proud to be an American.

Thanksgiving and Christmas were spent in different states, with different parents.

I was one of the only “brown” kids in school. This did not go unnoticed.

I fenced. Both with swords and hammers.

I split wood for the winter, and learned to hate the smell of burning pitch.

I learned to drive a car. It was another 3 years before I bought one.

The entire world was in front of me, and I had no idea what to do with it.

I still believed I could be a scientist. A lawyer. A writer of books.

I stole. I lied. I hurt people who did not deserve it. I was mean to my dog.

I was miserable, introverted, and knowledgeable about how empty the universe could be.

It was possibly the best year of my life, and the last year of my childhood.

When I was 15, I had no idea how much I’d regret my choices later in life, or how fondly I’d recall them.

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