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Paul

February 2000

My name is Paul and I'm 18. I live in Michigan, but I attend college in Pennsylvania, where I'm a freshman. I love getting e-mail; you can reach me at alec689@hotmail.com. Although my articles are primarily written in a fictitious style, they all come from real experiences and emotions; in other words, it's me you're hearing about-not a fictional character. I hope that somebody out there reads this and gets something out of it. So here goes my next article/ story/ writing/ whatever...

I had a car accident today. I didn't hit anyone; I just spun out on some ice. The car had to go to the body shop though. It's going to cost about two thousand dollars.

As I drove down Columbia Ave., I maintained my speed: thirty miles an hour-that's the speed limit right? Well, as I curved down a slight hill, my 1995 Ford Taurus station wagon hit a patch of ice. "That's all right," I thought. "Just ease of the accelerator, and let the car's momentum carry you through the ice." That plan would have been fine if I hadn't been going downhill and if the ice hadn't continued through the downhill. As the street began to curve the opposite direction, the car didn't change directions. I had to brake to prevent myself from hitting the curb head on. Braking on ice, as all drivers know, is never a good idea. Immediately, my entire car turned around, so I was now traveling backwards. I went over the curb, down into a drive way, over the other side of the driveway, and into someone's front yard. And I have never been more scared.

I backed the car out of the person's driveway, and although the steering was ruined, I managed to get to my doctors appointment. I was shaking when I got there. In the waiting room where no one could see me, I cried. I never cry-not at Titanic, or Shakespeare in Love, or any tear jerker have I shed a tear. But in the waiting room of the dermatologist's office, I cried.

***

My father yelled at me tonight; it was something about my French course at school. I don't really listen anymore; It still hurts when I cry.

***

I watched "The Blame Game" on TV this afternoon. There was a gay couple on. They were, of course, the stereotypical couple. One deep voiced and masculine, the other high-voiced and feminine. They were both very attractive. I wanted to have one of them with me. I felt as thought they were letting a great opportunity pass by; it sounded as though they had really loved each other.

I have a boyfriend. I don't love him. I don't really find him that attractive to tell you the truth. He's short and pale and although he's a dancer, he doesn't have a nice body. I date him because he's nice and funny and pays attention to me, but I don't love him. Don't get me wrong; I want to find love-more than anything in my life. I know that I'm smart. I know that I'm attractive enough. I know that I'm talented (I'm one of four freshman in the first violin section of my colleges orchestra). But I'm not sure that I'll ever find love. He'll cry when I dump him.

***

All my life, I've been trying to please my father. Somehow it never works out. I took French in my first semester in college because that's what he wanted; I practiced violin two hours a day; I got three As and a B at the nation's best liberal arts college; I'd never been in a car accident before today. Even though he hates my sexual orientation, I try to date nice, boring people. But it never works. Ever. And never receiving his approval has only fueled my insecurities: my love-life, my looks, my talent, my brains. It's strange how parents do that to us.

***

Usually, I'm sure that I can succeed at anything I try, but sometimes I'm not so sure. It's when I'm not sure that I cry.

Paul


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