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Nobody could shut up about it: Anthony 'Anny' Parker threw his life away at the tender age of eighteen. It definitely wasn't funny, but Anthony laughed anyway. One day his life was his own, and in the next, it was seen as societal property. Headlines all over blabbered and bumbled about the loss of another great mind and everything that's wrong with millennials summed up in one human being and it was fucking hilarious. It was like nobody remembered that growing up today was completely different from growing up yesterday, and to Anthony, that was downright ridiculous. However, he did feel some guilt in the matter. His mistakes became a lens senile old people looked through whenever they saw kids and he didn't think that was fair. His mistakes were his mistakes- why should he share them with an entire generation?

But anyways.

He's had a lot of time to think things over the way people should whenever they screw up, and what messed with him was the fact that his problems could be traced way back to his birth in 1997, when his mother had decided to not give him up for adoption. She was single at the time due to a no-show ex-boyfriend and unfortunately for Anthony, she had the softest heart and couldn't bare to give him up the moment she held him in her arms. It was selfish of her and they both knew it.
Five years later, she managed to marry a promising young lad and popped out two more children she couldn't really handle. It was then that Anthony realized two things: 1. His mother was forever stuck at twenty-one, and 2. He was going to have to compensate. Lo and behold, it got even worse when his promising step father turned out to be not so promising after all. With four children to look after- where one was slowly descending into alcoholism and the other falling in and out of depression- Anthony never had time to think. He just always had to do, and that shone brilliantly at school.
Everything he was told to do, he did. Every reading, every game, every sheet of homework plus any extra credit: done and done. He was thirteen when his parents finally saw that he was somehow good at education when they never were. At the time, the acknowledgement was a blaring light through the shithole he had been living in. A deus ex machina of sorts. It brought his parents hope, and in that hope, they found the will to live right which meant that Anthony had found a way to save his family.
Though of course, as his mind developed, he began to think in ways that he couldn't even comprehend himself sometimes. Other times, he tore himself apart because some things just didn't have any answers and that was an utter abomination. Everything that made sense began to make sense for no reason and with no reason meant no point and no point meant meaningless and suddenly life felt as meaningless as the shit in parents' porcelain toilet. Then when it all felt empty, school felt even emptier.
His grades began to slip freshmen year of high school and despite the whole 'causation does not equal correlation' rule, it was quite clear that the fall of grades was directly correlated to the fall of his mother's sanity. Through the many fights and therapy sessions he knew his step father couldn't even afford, Anthony had one of his grandest epiphanies: he had to play the game. He had to smile through pain, laugh when in tears, go through high school, then college, then get a job- it was a step-by-step roleplaying game where if you deviate, nobody was going to love you so he buckled on his big boy pants and decided to play. Besides, he knew that there was bound to be a future where he will be an independent adult; free from all this bullshit baggage. Maybe then life would be the good kind of crazy people go on and on about.
His tiny existential crisis slip up in freshmen year was the only reason he didn't make Valedictorian upon graduation, but he still believed he should have gotten it because Mary Brunetski was a fucking cheat and didn't deserve it one bit. Thankfully, Preston University could see through her plain as day since they awarded him with the full ride scholarship and kicked old Mary to the curb. It was probably all the extra curricular activities and awards Anthony had under his belt that helped him stomp all over the competition, but he liked to think that it was because cheaters didn't get shit in life. The thought, no matter how stupid, made him happy, so he willed himself to believe it.

Though standing where he is now, maybe Mary should have gotten the deal instead. If she did, Anthony would have never moved into Preston University. If he never moved in, he would have never been roommates with two of the most godawful- yet human- boys on the planet. If he never roomed with them, he would have never went to that little 7-Eleven 'round the corner and met the woman he somehow still can't bleed out of his system. If he had let his family rot, he would have never ended up throwing his life away at the tender age of eighteen.

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