Mark continued to feel the guilt from not going home with Matt. It continued to haunt him as they went into Jeff's basement to play guitars. Jeff started playing a four chord melody made up of G, Em, C, and D. It seemed pleasant to listen to so Mark started imitating Jeff. In a very short time Mark was playing the four chords and Jeff started trying out types of lead notes as Mark played. It made Mark feel good to be playing out a "song" they had just made up.
"You ready for a break?" Jeff asked as he put his guitar down.
"What time is it?" Mark began to think about what they had been doing.
Jeff looked at his watch, "About seven," Jeff replied as he headed up the stairs for the kitchen.
"Oh man," Mark was surprised, "I've gotta get going. I can't believe I did this to Matt and his family."
"Why, what did you do?" Jeff asked as he took food out of the refrigerator. "What's the problem?"
"I'm sure they wonder where I am," Mark was concerned. "I need to get going, but I don't know what to tell them."
"Why don't you call them?" Jeff asked nonchalantly as he ate what he found.
"Oh yeah," Mark answered slowly as if just realizing a new truth. "I could, but I don't have his number."
Jeff told him the phone number through muffled words as he consumed his dinner. "Hey, do you want something to eat?"
"Let me call first to see what they're doing," Mark replied as he looked for their phone. "Where is your phone?"
"Over there," Jeff pointed to a phone on the wall.
Mark dialed the number and waited for an answer. "Hello?"
"Hi, this is Mark," he answered the voice. "Is Matt there?"
"Oh hi Mark," it was Matt's mom. "Hold on," she said very calmly.
In a moment Matt was on the phone, "Hello?"
"Hey Matt, its Mark," he started out, "I walked home with Jeff and lost track of time, I'm sorry man."
"Why are you sorry?" Matt asked sounding confused.
"Well I didn't wait for you after school and then I didn't tell you what I was doing..." Mark tried to explain.
"Mark," Matt interrupted him, "We're not dating ok? I figured you were with Jeff. It's not like you know a lot of people around here you know."
"Oh good," Mark said with relief. "I figured you would be upset."
Matt started laughing, "You really are out there sometimes, don't worry about it."
"I'll be there after I eat," Mark continued, "Is that ok?"
"Yeah," Matt answered, "That'll be fine. What are you guys doing anyway?"
"We just played guitar and lost track of time," Mark answered. "Kind of fun to be honest."
Mark hung up the phone and looked at the food Jeff had laid out on the kitchen counter. "A sandwich does sound good."
"Go ahead and make yourself at home," Jeff kept eating. "You heard my mom."
Mark made a couple of sandwiches as they ate quietly. Then Mark broke the silence, "Is this how you live every day?"
"Yup," Jeff took a drink of soda, "Why?"
"It's a lot different than how I lived when I was home and even more since I've been living in my tent," Mark observed. "We never had food like this when I was a kid and I definitely didn't have all this in the woods," Mark looked around the kitchen and the house with his eyes as he made his point. "It's amazing how much you don't realize you have until you've lost it all."
Jeff stopped eating and looked at how Mark was lost in his thoughts. "You really did live a different life didn't you?"
"Yeah I suppose I did," Mark was still lost in his life as it was developing. "I really do feel lost." He cleaned up his mess and looked around for his jacket. "I'm gonna get going. I told Matt I was going there as soon as I was done eating. A walk will feel good."
Jeff nodded in agreement and closed the door behind Mark. Mark started his walk in the night as he took in how the neighborhood looked in the street lights. It seemed so much different than what he had become used to. He began to wonder at how much different his world had been while he lived in the same world as all those who lived in the houses he walked by on his way to Matt's house.
Mark considered how important it was to have a home that was normal. Then he wondered what normal was. He wondered if the way Jeff lived with his family was the same as the way Matt lived with his family. Maybe all three of them were dramatically different in how they lived and none of them actually knew it.
Then a new thought began to bring him down. He could live in their homes, under their roofs, but he still didn't have what they had. His two new friends had a home that would always be there for them no matter what happened. They had their own beds, bedrooms, things like stereos, things they collected, allowance money, cars they could drive when their parents let them, closets for their clothes, and so much more. Matt had a Honda that he could take on the road any day of the week. He could do the mechanical work on it and keep it running. Jeff had a couple of mini bikes he could ride in the wooded field behind his house every day after school if he wanted to do so. Mark knew he could never have these things until he was an adult.
He began to wonder what his adult world was going to be able to offer him if he didn't have this kind of beginning. How was he ever going to be able to live if he didn't change something now?
Author of Death of a Green Soldier
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.
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. All proceeds from the sales of Death of a Green Soldier will go toward a missionary mission to the Philippines.
Control Freak: Take Responsibility for Your Own Life (Part 1 of 2)
By Michael Wright
Dec 29, 2013
There have been so many reports of people who lost health insurance while trying to apply as law-abiding citizens. Many were given Medicaid when they were not applying for it. Some had rates rise far greater than they could ever afford to pay. The most concerning is the idea that once given the information the program can be hacked by professional hackers and all your information is now in the hands of people who are less than honest. It is hard to know who is in control.
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.
Messiah or AntiChrist
by Michael Wright
Jan 5, 2014
In January 2013, the cover of Newsweek has an interesting title. It says The Second Coming: America expects; can he deliver. The pope of the Catholic Church has released a statement that says, "You ask me if the God of the Christians forgives those who don't believe and who don't seek the faith. I start by saying -- and this is the fundamental thing -- that God's mercy has no limits if you go to him with a sincere and contrite heart. The issue for those who do not believe in God is to obey their conscience." It is alarming to have these statements even raised to begin with.