Impractical Happiness

You know it’s rare to find a teenager who is JEALOUS of his parents. Well I guess I’m not really jealous of them, I’m just pissed cause they can so easily handle life and I’ve never been able to… I really don’t expect you to care about my problems, yeah I’m just another depressed teenager, but if you have the time you might as well. I had thought about a rope around my neck in the bedroom closet, or a gun to my head, but I was thinking of going the less traditional way. I always felt a deep connection with the East River, one I can’t really explain, perhaps because we’ve always lived a short block away from it. So I was just thinking that maybe it could all go down there I mean I truly didn’t care at that time, but then at least people might remember me and no one can deny the beauty of the Brooklyn Bridge at night. I never really told my parents about all this stuff, about all my feelings and crap but I was pretty sure that my mom knew, I mean because she never gave me shit about my homework or my messy room. I always wondered how she had found out, maybe she found my writing and read it all, I wrote about it sometimes, I mean about being depressed, pretty prissy huh? Though I sincerely could have cared less if she knew, nothing could’ve stopped me, nothing at all. I planned on heading to the bridge the following night at eleven I wanted to jump at midnight, make it all spooky and mysterious. What a loser I was.
When it was time, almost eleven, I tried to remember all the things I did that last day and throughout my life, but I couldn’t think of anything that interested me, it was all a blur. It was sad to think about, sad that I didn’t really ever even have a life at all. I mean, I couldn’t remember even one time I was remotely happy. About ten minutes before I left, I listened to my dad snoring and I cracked up, savoring those last few minutes at home trying to grasp at least one little piece of happiness in my messed up head. I strained to hear through the curtain that made our one bedroom apartment into a two bedroom apartment. You know when I was little, I really didn’t know the difference between rich and poor cause I had nothing to compare to. Now that I’m older and technically a “man” I notice the dirty guy with tattered clothes picking up cans outside our apartment, the exposed pipes on our bathroom ceiling, and the peeling paint on the kitchen cabinets. Why should I have cared though? I was going to be gone by the morning. I didn’t go into my parents room to say goodbye, I didn’t wanna cry, or something stupid like that. So I just left, taking in every chip of paint, every piece of furniture, and every single crevice until I reached our front door. I listen to the little squeak my front door made when you would turn the knob but when I got outside I didn’t look back. I just kept walking down my littered street kicking an empty sprite can until it fell through the sewer grate on my corner. Walking along the bridge was nice and I watched as a single car sped past me. Putting one foot in front of the other I stared down at my tattered converse with the rubber peeling off the sides with every step. I thought about how my converse kind of had a life of their own, maybe not a very intresting one, but I felt pity for them. I knew they would have preffered to carry someone else’s feet, and I was sincerely sorry they got stuck with mine. When I got to the place I peeked down over the edge. You couldn’t see the river, it was too dark out, but you sure could hear it. Roaring waves crashed upon each other. For some reason I decided to take my converse off. I really don’t know why but it seemed right. A lot of stuff I did didn’t really make sense. Then I stood upon the steel bar that was the bearer of my last few seconds of life. My bare feet were cool against the metal and I gazed across the bridge to the other side. The lights of the city filled the sky. Probably the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. And that got me thinking about my poor mama and dad going throughout life without seeing their 18 year old boy get his first real job, they would have never been able to go see me find love and get married, they would have never met their grandchildren. I couldnt’t go on through life like this. How could I ever even think about being so selfish? I hate myself, but I can bring happiness to other people. I don’t deserve to live, but my parents deserve their happiness. I took one step closer to the end of my support, one step closer to the end. But then, I just turned round and ran, ran off the steel bar onto the pedestrian walkway that led across the bridge and kept running, not back towards my house but further along the bridge all the way to the other side. Making myself believe it was like crossing the bridge into a new realization, a new lifestyle. And maybe just maybe, I could have been right. I ran and ran, ran until I was out of breath, and then I turned around and walked as slow as I possibly could, back along the route I had come.
I woke up in my own bed the next morning and looked across onto my night table and the plastic container filled with pills. Those pills were blue and red, and sat inside one of those orange tinted plastic containers, but instead of reminding me that my life had taken a huge U-turn, I just noticed the colors, they looked real pretty all together like that. All mixed up together. When I got dressed in fresh clean clothes and walk to the kitchen I found my mom standing at the stove over a frying pan. I didn’t say anything to her but I took a seat at the table, noticing an envelope addressed to me. I slowly ripped it open and notice my mom watching me, holding back a smile. I then pulled the thick packet out and read the heading in large bold letters. It said: You Have Been Accepted To The Pratt Institute. I looked over at my mom and jumped into her arms like a small child and wrapped my arms around my plump little mama, and for once I was truly happy to be alive. She explained that she had submitted my writing to Pratt the week before. She said they called back the next day telling her about how amazing her son was as a writer. At first, I was a little insulted, cause I mean I don’t really like for people to intrude in my personal life. But then I realized how lucky I was that that school even thought about accepting me, after reading thousands of admissions, they had chosen mine. I thought about how lucky I was that I hadn’t jumped the night before; because then I wouldn’t have been able to realize what life could offer but in that moment I did. I held close to that first moment of pure happiness and I saved it for the next time I felt like my life would never get better.

Kit Keenana, Age 13 Grade 8, The Clinton School For Writers and Artists, Silver Key

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