After his friends offered to take him in, Mark had a lot to think about. On one hand, it was very tempting to know he would have a real roof over his head. This was especially important as spring was coming and so were thunderstorms. He wondered just how well his tent would stand up to a tornado. To be able to walk to a bathroom out of a bedroom and have to dress first to protect from the cold--now that was a dream. To be able to talk with others--anyone, any time--was a true dream as well.
Mark thought, trying to find a trade-off, he would lose the comfort of having privacy. He would lose knowing everything was confidential. Then again, would he? Mark thought about how so many things were not protected now. His friends of such a short time had already discovered where he was living. How easy would it be for an enemy?
Feeling so lost in it all, Mark finally gave his friends an answer. "Okay, I'll do it. But what if you decide I'm not worth it?" It seemed like the only thing left that was out of his control.
"Well, you still have your tent," Matt offered. "You can go back to what you're doing now. What do you have to lose?"
"Besides, we already know none of us are perfect," Jeff added. "If it gets that bad, trust me--we'll let you know."
"Yeah," Mark sighed, "That's what I'm afraid of. I've been living on my own so long I'm not sure how well I'll be able to fit in."
The school day finished much faster than usual for Mark. Thoughts flew through his mind about how the new arrangement would work out. He had no idea how his friends' parents would react to a homeless stranger being in their house. That was a real step of faith, he thought.
Mark went to track practice for the long distance run. His mind was anywhere but on the task at hand. He finished the eight-mile run without ever knowing what went on during the workout. All he could think about was what would it be like to share his life so openly after so much time in complete solace. It would be hard to have nothing to himself.
After practice, Mark went to the fast food place he often haunted to eat alone with his thoughts. He wanted time to do serious thinking about how to make the new living arrangement work. He finally had a chance to weigh in the pros and cons. It was a very difficult decision.
Once he was done drinking his hot chocolate, Mark went back to his campsite. It was dark as he rode his bike down the dirt road to the place his hidden path led to the tent.
Making his way to the secluded campsite, Mark found everything gone. He was in shock. He just stood there looking around. Maybe he had made a mistake and took a wrong turn. He looked around and found many familiar things. There was the log he always sat on. Mark looked for the path to the sportsmen's club where he used the water faucet. It was there just like every other day. He looked where he had used the trees for his nature call moments. It was all the same.
Now Mark was angry. Who would take his belongings? Why would anyone want his property? It was all he had. His clothes, his camping equipment, and his food. The only thing he still had was the bike that he had with him.
With a sad heart and a frustrated spirit, Mark went back down to the road to see if he could find any clues of what had happened. There was nothing to be found. Mark sat on the side of the road and held his head down in complete submission to the dark powers to be. He had now lost everything. It was one of the emptiest feelings he could remember, only behind when his mother died.
Mark finally stood up and mounted his bike with no idea where he was going. He thought about it as he began pedaling toward town. He could go to one of his friends' homes, but it was bad timing. He was sure they were still going to be talking about it. Mark figured it would look more like a losing argument between his friends and their parents. There was no place for him to go.
Suddenly there were headlights coming up behind Mark. He pulled off to the side of the road to make room for the car to pass. The car didn't pass--it stopped beside him. The window rolled down and a woman's voice spoke, "Would you like to put your bike in the back?"
Mark took a closer look at who was talking to him. He could see his friend Matt in the back seat. The woman talking to him was Matt's mother. Mark had to take a moment to let it sink in.
"I guess I can. I'm sorry; I just feel a little lost right now," Mark confessed. "I think I was robbed. I can't find any of my other things. It's all gone."
"No, its not," Matt spoke up. "We found your things while we were looking for you. It's all in the back."
Mark finally realized the vehicle was a station wagon. He walked his bike to the back of the car and could see all his things in the back just like Matt said. While he placed his bike in the car, Matt explained it all. Mark climbed into the car hoping to better understand what kind of miracle was taking place.
Author of Death of a Green Soldier
Michael Wright is a resident of Albuquerque, N.M. After an honorable discharge from the United States Army, Michael Wright earned his master's degree in Secondary Counseling and worked with troubled teens for more than 20 years. He has recently published a 374 page book called Death of a Green Soldier which was released on June 20th and about which a short comment was published at Magic City on November 16, 2013
A short story by Michael Wright: Lost in Teen - Part 1
Dec 4, 2013
After putting his books back in his locker, Mark found his way to the exit doors where Jeff and Matt were waiting for him. They walked quietly from school to Jeff's house. It was good to feel the warmth of the sun on them this unusually warm fall day. The color of the leaves was growing bright. This made it more enjoyable to all of them as they walked through the historic small town.
Why Your Teenager Doesn't Respect You - And what you can do to fix it
Dec 1, 2013
When we go to the doctor's office, we inevitably hear the words, "This may hurt a little." You are about to read some things may hurt a little, but I'm hopeful that like a tetanus shot, it will hurt initially and leave you better off in the end.