A Slughorne Contribution

by Joshua Parker

When I was twelve years old my great grandfather passed away at the age of 96. For as long as I knew him he was living in an assisted living home, and slowly but surely deteriorating. My finial three memories of him are the last time I saw him, in which he insisted I was a girl, which wouldn’t have been so bad if my cousins were not there and tormented me with this fact until months later, the last time my mom saw him in which I refused to go because “I had better things to do”, and the day he died. My younger sister and I had just returned from school and I was eager to meet up with some friends and do twelve year old things. My mom called my sister and me into the living room and sat us down. This had never happened before and I was rather anxious. “Your great grandfather passed this morning, he was asleep, he didn’t suffer, do you have any questions?” My eyes welled for the man I had barely known. I choked and sob for my mistakes. I had never lost anyone until this point in my life and I had deemed my twelve year old life too important only weeks before to see him one last time. This is the moment I first felt empty. I left my house went to a friends and through a fog of events had my first fist fight. I tell you this because the empty feeling never really left. It isn’t constant but it wiggles its ugly face into my day to day often enough. It was particularly difficult when I was in high school, and my teenage angst added to the severity of my problems. When I was sixteen a friend of mine called my father and told him that she was afraid that I was going to hurt myself. That was the first time that he and I had a pleasant conversation in a long time (I had a lot of angst) , and it ended with an embrace, tears pouring from four eyes, and “I love you Josh.” Within a few weeks I was in therapy. That only lasted for a few months; it just is not for me. The reason for this confession is because books were and are my escape. The reason literature is important to me is because when I do not see a reason to get out of bed in the morning, or my chest feels hollow and as if it is one continuous mass at the same time I was able to escape into the words and worlds others had created. I could sit on the couch opposite my mom and dad and read a book. Books may have been enough to stop me from following through on my thoughts of suicide when I was a teen. Even now when I struggle to find a point in life I can lose myself for a while.

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