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Pieces of a young man lost and found
As a boy, the young man was full of wonder, adventure, always working on ways to figure things out. He was a quiet child but only because he didn't know any other way to be. He rarely cried or made a scene choosing instead to just go to his room and think about the way things were.
The boy grew up in a nondescript town no different from any other. His home was a few miles outside of town on a relatively isolated patch of land that awarded him the freedom to roam and become part and parcel of his natural surroundings. That is what he knew and in essence, who he was.
He would spend whole days outside cutting his hands and getting dirt under his fingernails as he attempted to build forts in the trees and dams in the ditches. He would explore the forest behind his house and find places that were his and his alone.
He paid little attention to the sounds of the land, but the chirp of the birds and the clatter of the breeze as it flowed through the leaves became as much a part of him as any greater lesson his father would attempt to teach him. The land was his home. The land was his teacher.
He was a boy filled with imagination choosing introspection instead of extraversion, which he felt was wasted energy.
Before long it came time for the boy to attend school in the town. This was a big deal because for the first time, he would have to be with people he had never been with, he would have to meet people he had never met. For the first time, the realization that there was a world outside his home, his patch of land, descended into his thoughts.
For the first few years, the boy hated the school, he would see other kids getting along and whenever he tried to join in they would call him names and tell him to leave. The boy would try to make up reasons to stay home but was never clever enough to trick his mom into letting him.
There were days when he would come home and cry because of what the other kids had said. Most days, though he just came home relieved and kept to himself.
Years passed like this and the boy entered middle school. It was then that he became aware of the concept of being liked. He didn't know exactly what made the popular kids popular but he could see that they were awarded the praise and attention of all the other kids. The boy decided then that he would do anything to garner that kind of attention, he would do anything to be liked. He thought that by mimicking the popular kids he too would be popular.
As time passed he began to shed pieces of himself, sloughing them off and leaving them to lay in his wake to wonder if he'd ever come back for them. In their place he'd glue new pieces. Taking hints from what his peers said they liked and what they did. He knew deep down, however that the new pieces never quite fit as well as the originals, but he ignored that.
Day after day he'd shed more pieces of the boy, part and parcel of the land that he was, that he used to be, and pick up pieces the popular kids had left behind.
More time passed until the boy had become a young man. Still, he had not garnered the attention he so desperately sought. He was now in college in a place far away from the land on which he had grown up.
He watched longingly as people seemed to get happy and come together. It seemed to the young man that everyone had achieved a relative peace except him, that everyone had found their place in the world.
But the young man still felt detached, he had long since shed every small piece of his original self in favor of something that might be more popular and as he moved on to shedding the large pieces he found that nothing he could pick up could fill the their places well enough.
It was then that he discovered chemicals on the street that seemed to fill the voids. He used the chemicals continually shedding nearly every recognizable piece of himself, large and small in order to feel good.
Soon, the chemicals took control.
The young man was kicked out of school and went to live on his own in the city.
He used the chemicals daily with total abandon and exhausted his resources until he was forced to live on the streets. One day the young man got hold of a bad batch of chemicals and became violently sick.
As he lay in the hospital disconnected and lost, his parents were called by the nurses. They came to the city and nudged him into a program to get help to stop using the chemicals.
Out of options and sick of living on the street the boy begrudgingly agreed.
Filled with dark voids and pieces that were not his own, the young man spent a long time looking at himself in the mirror not recognizing the face that looked back. The young man had forgotten who he was and he had nowhere to turn.
He still knew, deep down though, that he had always felt comfortably among the land, in the forest, among the trees, back home.
But he was scared to go back. He knew he had changed. He knew he was no longer that boy who had grown up among that land. So he lived in the city going to groups and looking for a stable place to hold on.
The young man relapsed several times each time more upsetting than the last. Each time seemingly more severe than the last, but the young held on and kept trying because he knew something was wrong.
Soon Christmas came and the young man returned home to be among his family.
He had figured out that they were the ones who would always be there for him and this fact brought him a level of comfort.
On Christmas day, the young man decided to take a walk through the forest by himself. As he walked he heard the birds chirping and the clatter of the breeze through the leaves.
Soon he came to a place that he recognized, this was the place that he knew was his, and his alone and he sat down on the ground.
The young man then looked up at the sky through the majestic treetops and took a deep breath.
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