For many years now, I have always pictured my life as a book. The beginning pages composed of the beginning of my life. My birth certificate, my birth records, my hospital bracelet, the first lock of hair snipped from my near-bald pate. It's all there, tangible, readable. It's real. It's me.

At about the time I was 5 years old, I could read and had some writing capabilities. My nursery school teachers were amazed, as I was reading children's books to the rest of the class, who was amazed at my remarkable talent. It was shortly thereafter when my mother encouraged me to write in a journal every now and then. I believe her words were "You'll know why when you get older" This was my first entry:

June 20st, 1987.

Mommy wants me to write. I read Dr Soos today to Dave. I like to read. She says I can write my own book when I get bigger. I want to write a book. Mommy took me and Dave to the beech today. I played with Dave in the sand. He cried, but I made him smile. Mommy says if I am nice other kids will be nice to me. I like to write, but Mommy says it's bed time. Nite Nite.

The main body of my book, my schooling, is vague at times because it passed so quickly. These chapters contain all of the report cards I received which always had an "Outstanding" next to Plays Well With Others. I had stopped keeping a journal during these times, because of all the writing I did in school. There's a short dialogue in this chapter in which I learned one of my first life lessons.

Me: Hi, want to be my friend?
Boy: Sorry, I can't be your friend.
Me: Why not?
Boy: You don't live near me and I don't know you.
Me: Oh.

The chapters go on merrily from here. There is the program from the Third Grade School Play, where we performed Peter Pan. I was one of the Lost Boys. Then there are all of the math tests I took where the teacher would put stickers on them if you got an A. I was always in a rush to finish first, and always did. But I never got a sticker. I didn't mind.

And then, towards the middle of the Middle School Chapter, there is a little card wedged in the pages. This was the memorial card from my grandmother's funeral. It was in these words, sentences, paragraphs, pages, that I learned that life would end. It ends for all of us. For the first time in my life, I realized I am going to die.

The next few chapters that mark the end of my Middle School career are short and vague. These were the years where I didn't care about anything or anyone but myself. I'd go out with my "friends" and smoke, drink, fight, curse, steal, lie, cheat. I was living it up, and loving it. Most importantly, I was accepted. I loved to read still, but I didn't tell anyone. Not like they cared anyway. There was a turning point in this chapter, however. This happened when my "friends" backstabbed me, lied to me, beat me up, and ostracized me. This depressed me greatly, and I continued to drink. Alone this time. I had been writing a journal at this point, and was going to mercifully end my own life the next day. This is the entry which hasn't seen the light of day since.

January 17th, 1995.

So this is the end I guess. Can't say I'm surprised, you live like a scumbag you die like one I guess. Life sure has a way of kicking you in the ass when you think you've got it figured out. All my friends are gone. I don't have anyone to talk to anymore. I sit here Friday nights, while my peers are at the movies, and I'm drinking alone. Two weeks ago if you told me I was going to want to kill myself, I'd have laughed right in your face. I'm not laughing now. This is real. This is serious. There's nothing left for me. This is the end. It's been fun.

But that's not the end of the chapter. The date was written in, January 25 for some reason, I can't remember. That Wednesday a kid from school invited me to her youth group, I think she liked me, though I never found out. I had never believed in God before. I was always a firm disbeliever in the intangible. But that a few nights later, the night before I was going to end the book, I had a dream. There were three men standing in front of me. They all looked different, but they had the same voice. We were in a dark alley and they were blocking the way out. They asked me if I wanted to get out of the alley. I nodded. I took the middle man's hand, and he took me out of the alley. That night I woke up at 2 o'clock in the morning and accepted God into my life. This book cannot end yet.

And the book didn't end. Currently, I am at the end of the next chapter, The High School Years. These were the years where my online friends were more valuable to me than my real life friends. The years where the blazing color text mesmerized me and sucked me into its idealistic struggle between Good and Evil. The real world did not seem so important. I was enjoying myself. I was alive. I meet some of the most influential people on my life during these times, but they weren't in my real life. I was able to talk openly with my online friends, not worrying if so-and-so would tell so-and-so and my entire life would be ruined. There was security in anonymity. But this was not the real world. Idealism has no basis in reality.

So this is where I currently am in my book. I learned a couple of weeks ago that I had contracted a Primary Immune Deficiency Disease, the name of which I cannot recall, nor do I care to. Generally, what this means is I am going to die. Maybe next year, maybe in ten years from now, maybe when I am 150 years old. But it will kill me eventually. This doesn't bother me, though. I could die tomorrow from getting hit by a bus, and that wasn't the result of any disease. But now I have a daily reminder of the fact that I am not immortal. I will not live forever. I am weak, I am fragile, I am human. Most teenagers don't realize this, so it is one thing I can be thankful for.

The End?

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