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Peter huddled in the corner, frantically trying to coil into a protective position. "Stupid, good for nothing, ungrateful lil Bastard!!! It's all your fault," his mother yelled from across the room. Empty beer bottles and forks hurled past Peter's head, smashing into the wall. "Pleaassseeee!!! I didn't do anything." he screamed. "Why are you angry?! I didn't do anything." Peter begins to cry. It's all in vain though, as his sobs are drowned out by his mother's hysterics. "It's all your fault!! If you were never born I wouldn't be in this mess," she glared pointing a bony finger. "I never would've gotten pregnant, Jason would have stayed, and everything would've been alright. If only I hadn't gotten pregnant" she reasoned. The tone in her voice cracking with weakness and self-doubt. Peter manages to glance up, quickly mustering courage from some far away place. He speaks up, "Your saying dad left because of me?!" A quizzical look on his face. "What did I do? I hate you!! and I hate my life. Living in this trailer park, eating hot dogs and ramen noodles everyday. You think this is what I wanted!?! NO FATHER!! My mother wishes I never existed, and I'm an outcast at school." Peter shudders at this sudden realization. His life has very few roads and they run short, into dead ends. No Father, No Friends, No Life. His eyes glaze over, unfocused and dilated, a numbness rushes over his body. His mother's frenzied response echoes in his ear, inaudible, unregistering. Suddenly darkness takes over as Peter's mind and body give into the crushing weight of recent thoughts, "I hope for tomorrow, it is my birthday" he mutters as he falls asleep curled up in a ball.
Morning brings a new start, Peter's thoughts don't linger on what happened the night before. Instead he toughens up and bottles his emotions, according to his mother thats what his dad would have done. He makes his way to the small fold-up dinner table, and takes a seat next to the trailer door. "Saltine crackers for breakfast," asks his mom. They don't mention what happened last night, there's no need to. For they both understand that it'll just fuel the fire and erupt into another fight. Peter accepts the crackers without question, "I've got to get to school early today, there's a wood shop project I need to finish before lunch," he pushes the saltine wrapper aside. "Maybe Derek and Tyler can help me?" His mother looks over and scowls at the sound of the two names. The two boys are Peter's closest friends, not very liked themselves, but friends nonetheless. "Are you done? Lets go then its almost eight o'clock," she walks outside, apparently not caring for Peter's interests.
The trees swayed in the wind as they pulled up to the school's drive. No birds this morning, a strong indicator of a harsh winter approaching. "Thanks," mutters Peter. He gets out and walks to class without a seconds notice. While walking, thoughts of his father and mother swirl in his mind. Thoughts of what should've happened, what could've happened, and why things happened raced back and forth. "All I need is someone to talk to," he says to himself. "Maybe this morning someone will notice me and ask, 'Are you ok Pete?" But nobody notices and nobody asks, he does the same like everyday and sneaks to the back of wood shop. Derek and Tyler are already seated in the back, they see him approaching and they start to giggle at his demeanor. "Pete! what's up, look at my new kicks man, special edition." Derek flashes his Nikes. "I reckon I'm the only kid in the city, wait, the state with a pair." Tyler chimes in merely to agree, stuttering every other syllable, "Yea-h m-an, everyb-o-od-y is go-ing to w-w-w-ant one." He looks at Derek for approval, but isn't acknowledged. "Yeaah, whatever," responds Peter with his head down. "A nice pair of sneaks, won't make me popular, nothing will." At that moment, the teacher walks in and class begins. For forty-five minutes the kids measure and cut away at their wooden projects, cooing and laughing at the latest gossip. Peter doesn't make a sound, he works quietly at his table. Slowly whittling away at a block of wood. "RRRrrrrrring!!!" the class bell sounds and everyone rushes at the opportunity to mingle in the halls. Peter takes his time, making sure to catch the instructor alone. Hopeful he can borrow a whittling knife to finish his project during lunch hour. But for some reason he starts to shake as he approaches the teacher's desk. "Do you need something Peter?" asks the instructor. "uh...uh... No thank you," replies Peter nervously. He turns away carefully slipping the knife into his jeans pocket and hurriedly walks out.
The next three class periods fly by Peter, as if he were standing still in time, watching the world pass by. The lunch bell rings and the kids begin to line-up at the cafeteria, eagerly anticipating grilled cheese sandwiches & red bean chili. "That'll be $3.75," says the cafeteria lady. He pulls out a couple dollars and a food stamp, glancing up while he pays, he catches a girl's eye. Its beautiful young Victoria staring at him. Peter's heart jumps, flailing an arm and knocking his bowl of chili all over Derek and his sneakers. "Duuuddeee!!! Why'd you do that?! My shoes are ruined. Its all your fault!" he yells. Those four words echo in Peter's ear, "Its all your fault, Its all your fault." Embarrassed and in shock, he looks up to find the entire cafeteria laughing at him. But most of all Victoria, mouth open, wide-eyed gawking at the scene. An almost ashamed expression lay across her face. "I...I...I...." he stammers. Unable to finish his sentence, Peter grabs his bag and flees the room. Tyler at his heels begging for him to wait.
The two race through the halls and into the boys bathroom. Peter slams the stall door shut yelling back at Tyler, "Leave me alone!" "Pe-e-ter are you o-o-ok? Don't wor-r-ry about it, it was an a-a-accident," stammers Tyler pleadingly. He leans against the stall, as if to reach out. "I shouldn't be here, why me, I shouldn't be here," croaked Peter beginning to sob. Tyler yells back pleading positivity, but his efforts are drowned out by Peter's ranting. "I wish my father were here, he would make it all better. He would know exactly what to do. I wish... I wish..." His sobs became shorter in length and more quiet, almost like he were coming to his senses. "I wish... I... It... It is my..." Then an eerie silence. Tyler waits a couple minutes before saying something, "Pete c'mon man! It's your birthday, come out of there." But still no response. Fifteen minutes pass, by this time Tyler starts to shake and kick the stall door, "Peter! Let Me In! I can see your shoes... Answer me!" Tyler backs up to get a running start, then mid-stride he hears a metallic object hit the ground and Peter's hands dangling at his side from underneath the door.