I sat on the ground, tearing leaves, tearing leaves, tearing leaves, into two, three, six equiangular pieces, from the apex of each ridge down to the stem, like the pie pieces in Trivial Pursuit.
Dirt on my feet. More and more leaves. I’d been there for what seemed like days, in a dirty creek bed on the side of a road. Hours earlier this creek had shone like the grandest vistas of Yosemite, with frothing embankments and towering trunks, an endless maze of living nature. But recently everything had shrunk and darkened, a visual plague cast upon a plot of land sucking all the vibrancy. Ugliness highlighted every surface. Idle pieces of trash pierced my field of vision as if spotlights shone on them.
Reality set in: that I spent my night rolling around a drainage ditch; that a pedestrian had hours earlier mistaken me for a homeless man; that I was a semester from graduating high school and hadn’t bothered to apply to any colleges yet. These weighed on my mind with an unbearable gravity -- a force that crushed the feeble psychological scaffolding my 18-year-old psyche had duct-taped together. I broke down.
It would …
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