A teenager who found his home life and family very dull, and his schooling not too better, finally reached the breaking point.
He was able to suffer through school enough to graduate, yet before he even considered the next step in his life, he took his backpack:
A water bottle
And a knife he won from an otherwise bookish kid in a boxing match after school.
Instead of going to his graduation, he took his things and left to go the other way.
For awhile, he walked alongside the main road. A little time later, he sat down on a fallen log in the woods lining the road; but after a short rest he started off again.
By early evening, his hunger became too much. Wanting to save the little money he had, he decided to raid the dumpster behind a grocery store.
After waiting until a few employees finished their smoke break, he climbed in.
To his surprise, he was just in time to catch the bakery renewing their stock.
Baguettes, pastries, cupcakes; it was a feast known only to him.
He took a bag of dinner rolls and a box of cookies and went on his way.
Now early night and needing to find some shelter, he bummed under a highway overpass. Using his flashlight to see he opened up the cookies.
A quiet, but firm enough voice to reverberate off the concrete walls, echoed from the other side.
This gave him enough startle to drop the box, but with a quick recovery, he managed to keep a few from rolling down into the street.
“Jeez man, it’s, you?
Who surprised whom? It was the same, bookish, kid that he fought a few years ago.
“So I guess you didn’t go to graduation either, huh?...”
“...no...who wants to fuck with all that shit…”
“But ‘you’ of all people? why didn’t you go; weren’t you gonna be like, the valedictorian or some shit?
“Oh sure. Well...kinda”
“Well you see, I’ve been going to school for all my life, my parents have been forcing me to do the best in school, accepting nothing but A+’s, violin and piano lessons for 2 hours everyday after swim meet, which is before calc. tutoring…it’s basically my parent’s and my teacher’s award.
“I’ve never, ever, done anything in my life that I wanted to do.”
“So...I’m doing it now.”
This particularly struck the teen, who himself had done everything his own way. He never listened to his parents, his teachers, his pastor. He went his own way,
...yet where was he now?
“Hey, I want to give you ss-something,...uh,...remember in ninth, grade where we...I...behind the...um...school….”
The tremble in his throat showed all the remorse.
“Oh sure, and you know what? I want to repay you for the lesson you taught me that day. I had been on auto-pilot all my life, but for that 20 minutes after school that day, it was what “I” wanted to do. No one had to tell me, it wasn’t blocked out on my schedule. Timed stopped and it was just ‘you’ and ‘me’.
“...I just wished it ended a little better for me, that’s all.”
Both let out a releasing chuckle.
“Here, I want you to have this…”
The knife which he was about to give him back was placed into his hand.