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Life As He Knows It

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On Ben’s fourteenth birthday, his father decides to leave him with his mother, alone and forever. And so Ben’s adventure with what we call ‘Life’ and what he calls ‘Dying’ is about to begin.

Drama / Other
Sydney Lacroix
Age Rating:

Finally Fourteen

At times, when I got really depressed, the only thing that I needed was more of the sky to watch, more of the air to breathe, and a lot less of me. This was one of those times. This was the day that ruined my life. This was my fourteenth birthday.

I once heard my English teacher say that in the presence of real tragedy you feel neither pain nor joy nor hatred, only a sense of enormous space and time suspended into nothing.

That was what was happening to me; when the great doors open to black eternity, rising across the terrible field of that enormous, unanswerable question that everyone asks at some point: ’Why me?’ This was the question that haunted my thoughts when he went out that door in a giant tornado of rage and terror. I hated him and loved him all at the same time.

I hated him because he had left me and I loved him because he had stayed for as long as he could.

“It’s going to be alright, Benny.” My mother lied as she blubbered into my sweatshirt. I nodded stiffly but said nothing. There was nothing to say. Well there were things that were bugging me, but I knew I couldn’t say them. ’I don’t want to be one of those kids that have to switch houses every two weeks and buy separate Christmas presents for their parents.’

I definitely couldn’t say that but it was the only thing I could think of. ’I am such an ass.’

As my mother cried, I tried to think of all the normal things I still had to deal with; bullies, homework and my weird neighbors that never seemed to leave their house.

It was strange, thinking about the normal things when my life had just turned completely alien to me. I lived in a small town and talk got around easy, school was going to be a challenge; just the thought of all those eyes staring at me, and then looking away in shame made me shiver.

It would be even harder to deal with the bullies; they finally have another thing to tease me about. Now it was: My lack of height, the fact that my mother made dolls for a living, my dog decided to always follow me to school and now my father had left to be with another woman. Perfect.

I wanted to crawl under the covers of my bed and hide from the world for the rest of my life. That would’ve been nice, no more physical interaction with any living life form. But I knew that I had to go to school the next day and face the evil blame that awaited me, ’Why me, why now?’

The thoughts raced through my mind, looping into a horrible old movie that I couldn’t stop from; playing over and over and over and over, an infinite collection of horrible thoughts that I couldn’t stop thinking. ’Why couldn’t it be someone else? Why did it have to happen in this lifetime? Why did it happen?’ My parents had gotten along great; they never fought until that day.

My mom’s parents were supposed to come over, but they had to cancel because my grandfather had to get a knee surgery. I didn’t really care, but it struck my dad in such a way that he told everyone (my mom and I) that he had been cheating on her with a twenty five year old. My mother had slapped him in the face and my father left.

He didn’t even pack a bag or anything, and this lead me to think that he already had things there; which explained the missing things of his I had been (not) seeing.

He just got up and left without any words of goodbye or love.

“I’m gonna go to my room,” I said to my mom and started to stand up. She moved herself off of me and got up too. We nodded at each other awkwardly and I walked towards the stairs.

Once I was in my room, I shuffled over to my bed and flopped down. Hot tears started to stream down my face and onto my grey pillow. I hated my life at this moment. This was even worse than when my cat died, this was even worse when my best friend got into a car crash and was in a coma for two weeks. This was the worst day of my life, and I really wanted it to end.

The next day when I was walking home from school, a girl and a boy were standing outside my house. They looked related, but I couldn’t really tell. The girl looked in her late teens and the boy looked my age, maybe a year older. The girl was wearing bright pink shorts and t-shirt and the boy was wearing baggy shorts, a white t-shirt with a skull on the back and sport’s shoes.

I cleared my throat and they turned to look at me.

Their faces lit up in excited smiles as they looked at me.

“Can I help you?” I asked them. ’Curse my automatic politeness. I’m supposed to hate everyone today.’

“It’s not so much that you can help us,” said the girl, she had a sly glint in her eye, “but what we can do for you.” She rocked back and forth on her heels like an impatient five year old. The boy said nothing and looked at the sidewalk awkwardly.

“And what can you do for me?” The question popped out of my mouth before I even thought about it.

“We want to run away,” said the boy quietly, “And we were wondering if you would like to come with us.” The girl nodded and looked at me with huge green eyes. ’This is the thing that’ll make everything better. It’ll make me work, and will make me forget this ever happened to me. Okay, don’t be awkward, and don’t mess this up.

“Okay,” I said, thinking about what this all meant, “What’re your names?” I demanded and folded my arms across my chest.

“I’m Aubrey, this is Josh, and you are Ben.” The girl said. I was surprised that she knew my name, I had never seen them before, but I didn’t want to ask them how.

“Will it be dangerous?” I wanted to know, because why be safe when Hell had walked through your front door when somebody you loved left?


“Will it be illegal?” and again with the knowing.


“I’m in.” I shook the girl’s hand and so my adventure began.

It was a little while later that I started to realize that what I had agreed to do was completely insane. And I loved it. The thought of leaving the life my father had created for me was a thought I wanted to live.

The insanity of it all made me feel so happy that I almost forgot why I was doing it, and then I would remember.

The grief came in waves that were at random moments, like in math class, or at lunch, or when I’m watching TV. It got so bad that during gym they had to call my mom to pick me up from school. ’God, I’m so lame.’

It’s not so humiliating when your mother has pick you up because you’re having a nervous breakdown, but it is when you start to soak up the front of her shirt with your tears; ’So lame.’ It was the worst thing that could happen to you while all of your classmates are watching with mean and curious eyes.

I cried even more when I got home, but then Aubrey and Josh came through my bedroom window and woke me up from my thoughts.

“We need to leave,” Josh said seriously. I wanted to be like the Joker and say ’Why so serious?’ but I decided against my awkward attempt to be funny.

I sat up and brought the covers over my chest. I was in my boxers and there were two almost complete strangers in my room, and one of them was a girl. A deep blush came to my cheeks as I tried to think of something to say.

“Okay.” My voice cracked for no reason and I cleared my throat. ’Stupid, stupid, stupid...’ “And by leave you mean?” I knew the answer to this already, but I wanted to make sure that it was true. ’Am I really going to do this? Am I really going to run away?

“Hope you’ve packed, because we’re leaving now,” whispered Josh, “The car is waiting outside, Aubrey’s driving.” My bags had been packed for two days, and so I got out of bed and put on some clothes. My clock said that it was 9:39 p.m, the perfect time for disappearing into the night.

Josh, Aubrey and I climbed out the window, onto the tree that was close to my room and then down. When I got to the ground, I looked back at my house. It was a plain white house, with a boring brown porch, but it had an amazing purple door. My mother had insisted on not repainting that door; she said that it gave the house a vibrant and homey character. My father said it looked gaudy.

I shook my head against the thought of my father and kept moving.

“Goodbye,” I said as I climbed into the back seat of Aubrey’s minivan. She backed out of my driveway and onto the road. ’Goodbye, House. Thank you for all of those memories and photographs I will forever hold close to my heart and deep inside my soul.

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