BY TOBEY ANDERSON
I’m 15, almost 16. Some of my friends are 18, and a few are only 14. But it doesn’t matter. At least one of us is always old enough to buy something. So we can get drunk, I mean.
I don’t like school. I’m thinking of dropping out. I don’t really have any plans for anything else, but does it matter? School is so lame.
Mom never has time to talk to me. She works all the time, and when she’s not working she goes out with her boyfriend. Dad lives all the way across the country. He phones once in a while. My friends and I get drunk every weekend. I guess it’s kind of stupid, but everybody does it. What else is there to do? Marcy says getting bombed makes her feel happy. And I guess she doesn’t have a lot to feel happy about. Her brother died of a drug overdose, and her mom’s in one of those homes they put you in when you can’t remember who you are.
I have a neighbor across the street, Mrs. A, who I think must be nice because she smiles every time she sees me. She’s even talked to me a few times. She goes to a church called the seventh day of something, and I heard another neighbor say Mrs. A’s husband’s a minister, so I guess he’s a preacher or pope or something.
One day Mrs. A mentioned her church to me. I was afraid she was going to invite me, so I suddenly said I had to go. Why would I want to go to church? I don’t know anything about God; I don’t even know if He’s real. My parents never mentioned Him, and my school taught me I got here by some sort of evolution or something.
Lately I’ve been thinking, though. If Mrs. A invited me to something fun, I think I’d go. I mean something exciting, like a hot-air balloon ride. I’ve always wanted to ride in a balloon. A lot of people my age act like they wouldn’t want to hang out with older adults. But it’s not what you might think. I mean, we don’t care how old they are; it’s just that they’re boring. If they did something fun, it would be different.
Take Ryan, for example. He likes bicycles. He doesn’t have a very good one, but he rides it anyway. Bikes are his favorite things, besides hanging out with us on weekends. If some of Mrs. A’s friends invited Ryan to go cycling with them, I think he’d go. I know he’d go if one of them had a racing bike he could try.
Now that I think of it, Marcy likes to draw. She’s never had any instruction; they don’t teach art at our school. But I bet if some of Mrs. A’s friends invited Marcy to an art club, she’d be there in a second. She doesn’t draw much by herself because it reminds her how lonely she is. But if someone was going to help her, she might even go inside a church building for something like that.
The twins, Riki and Alex, like me, always want to do something outside. It would be kind of nice if some older people would offer to take us canoeing or horseback riding or something.
I don’t think any of this would ever happen, though. I don’t think anyone out there is interested in teenagers. Most of us don’t even have parents who pay attention to us. So why would anyone else care about us?
Tobey Anderson is a pseudonym.