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Lost in Teen: Part 2 - A short story by Michael Wright
By Michael Wright
Dec 15, 2013 - 12:17:39 AM

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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.

Mark had decided to head back to his campsite. He'd been living in the woods, but hadn't told anyone. It wasn't easy living like he was. Mark could remember reading Mark Twain's book "Huckleberry Finn." It had always seemed so inviting to live with no parents and no cares. It was a lot different living it for real.

It was getting dark as Mark arrived to the spot in the road where he would turn into the woods to the campsite. He made sure no cars were on the road before he took the hidden trail to his secluded home. Mark felt lonely as he laid his bike down in its usual hiding place.

It was always an empty feeling as he got himself ready for supper. The food was always cold. He couldn't afford to have a fire that could be seen from the road. Mark sat on a log near his tent and thought about how nice it was to be with other people. His friends had no idea how lucky they were to have a family that loved them. They all had their own rooms and things they could call their own.

It was true that Mark had things that belonged to him. He had his own tent, a bike, some clothes, a sleeping bag, a Styrofoam ice chest for his food and a place he could go to think. That was the problem. All his friends could share what they had anytime they wanted. Mark felt like he had too much to lose if anyone ever found out how he lived.

He crawled into his sleeping bag not knowing if he should relax or cry. He laid his head on the bag that had contained his sleeping bag. It always had dirty clothes in it so it was like a pillow. Closing his eyes, Mark could hear the wind blow through the trees. There were little woodland critters running through the leaves on the ground giving the night its own sense of mystery.

The next morning, Mark rode to school early enough to use the shower. He had joined the school track and cross country teams so he could use the shower every morning. Some of the team members would show up and run early so the gym was open for their use.

It felt good going to his first hour class clean. Somehow it always gave him a sense of hope that the rest of his life would not be so secretive. His friends Matt and Jeff met him at his locker.

"We were just talking," Matt started as Mark reached for the lock on his locker. "What did you say your dad does?"

Jeff was watching to see what Mark's reaction would be. Knowing he was being tested, Mark replied, "I didn't. He works in the factory."

"What about your mom?" Jeff was hoping to see some kind of give away.

"She died in a car accident when I was little," Mark didn't miss a beat on either answer. It was easy because both answers were true. He just wasn't telling that he wasn't living with his dad now.

"Mark," Matt began to confess, "We followed you when you went home last night."

Mark stopped what he was doing. He had to think. He distinctly remembered the road being empty as he headed into the woods. "What do you mean?"

"We rode our bikes at a distance so you wouldn't see us," Jeff explained. "It always seemed odd to us that you never invited us to see your family."

"What is it you want?" Mark was sure they were about to turn on him.

"We want to be trusted," Jeff confessed. "You don't live in a house." It wasn't a question. Jeff was making Mark tell what it was all really about.

"Look," Mark opened his locker and grabbed some books, avoiding the accusations. "Class is about to begin and I can't afford to be late."

"Tell you what," Jeff countered. "Meet us at lunch like we always do. We have an idea." Jeff and Matt patted Mark on his back as they left for their classes. Mark couldn't keep his mind focused on his class. When they were told to open their books, he noticed he had grabbed the wrong one. All he could do was look at the wall and let his mind imagine the worst for what was going to happen at lunch.

It seemed like forever before it was lunchtime. Mark didn't want to go. His stomach was hurting from the anxiety of what was about to happen. While he walked the long hallway to the lunchroom, Mark thought about the day his court appointed caseworker took him to be emancipated.

He was only seventeen years old and living in a tent on state land. The caseworker knew exactly how he was living and took him to see the judge. Mark was in complete disbelief when he was made an adult. Now there would be no one to turn to when he needed anything. He was truly and completely on his own. It was a very lonely feeling. The feeling was exactly like the one he had now, as he walked to face his new friends--friends he was sure no longer wanted anything to do with him.

Once Mark had his tray, he sat down with Jeff and Matt. Realizing he had nothing left to lose, he asked the question. "So, what's your idea?"

"Well," Jeff spoke with a mouth full of food. "We know you live in the woods..."

"Yeah, and that's pretty cool," Matt interrupted.

"Anyway," Jeff looked at Matt, "We were thinking that we could take turns inviting you over to sleep. That way you could sleep in a bed once in a while and not have to worry about your things."

"Yeah," Matt wanted to add his own thoughts. "I can find a place at our house for you to keep your things. I would like it if you would stay at my house. I know I can talk my mom into letting you live with us."

Mark didn't know what to think or say. He stared at his food for what seemed like an eternity. Finally, he found his voice. "What makes you think your folks are up for this? They don't even know me."

"Trust us, okay?" Jeff answered with confidence. "Just let us give it a try."

Michael Wright
Author of Death of a Green Soldier

Lost in Teen: A short story Part 3
Dec 22, 2013

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.

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

Why Your Teenager Doesn't Respect You - And what you can do to fix it
Michael Wright
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.

A short story by Michael Wright: Lost in Teen - Part 1
Michael Wright
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.

Life Lessons from Sir Isaac Newton
by Michael Wright
Dec 13, 2013

It has been proven over and over that two objects cannot occupy the same space at the same time. Think about car accidents: it seems drivers are always trying to prove this theory false. Sometimes the result of testing this theory is very traumatic and sometimes it's almost comical. Sadly, too many times it ends tragically.

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