"We challenge the culture of violence when we ourselves act in the certainty that violence is no longer acceptable, that it's tired and outdated no matter how many cling to it in the stubborn belief that it still works and that it's still valid." - Gerard Vanderhaar
I removed this story from "The 5ifth Door" because of the "PG-13" rating that was required. Should follow "Out of many, one people."
Nights were only one shade of black on the outskirts of Brownsfield where Anthony was given life by a mother who lost her husband, her lifeline, his dad; far too soon. He was only four-years-old when the bright stars that twinkled in the black backdrop of the countryside landscape dimmed his outlook on life, when he realized the meaning of gone-forever. The weary days blended into candle lights and the ever smoking and smelly oil lanterns, which often illuminated the ghostly faces of those who opted to stay out on their verandas after the sun dropped behind the hills. Streetlights were few and much further than a stone's throw between each other, so the crickets, fireflies and moths crowed the fresh air as his family and neighbors shuffled for space under the limited glow.
Daytime offered his friends and him the full countryside as their own playground for as long as they were out of range of a parent's call, any parent's call. They owned the sharply sloped hillsides, they owned the leveled off regions that led to the slowly crawling river. A river that divides the already small town into two unequal sections. Among the trees and flowing water they played. They played and played.
At nights, the cool and sometimes unwanted wind blew against the open delicate flames, sometimes with too much haste. This often resulted in the end of the much-anticipated storytelling-time.
Anthony went from elementary to high school in Brownskfield where he clearly spent his formative years. This is where he conceived the notion of becoming an artist and embraced that ambition to the detriment of all others. It was his one and only focus throughout his high school years, so he excelled. He excelled in this subject more than any other and with that focus the course was set for him to be transformed into a professional artist, but this could only be accomplished outside of Brownsfield.
Role models were scarce in his small town, but not in his small circle. He aligned himself with very ambitious friends who had the means and did not hesitate to reach for the stars. Some are now highly respected professionals in and off the island; Doctors, educators, engineers, entrepreneurs and so on. But for Anthony there was no alternative in regards to the path he hoped to follow.
As much as his ambition, if realized, would safeguard him from a very unpleasant future. He did not have the means to make his dream a reality and that was a substantial impediment to overcome. But he was determined, and after sitting the exam at the end of high school. He received the long awaited registered letter with the word "Confidential" printed in red on an angle above his name. It was from the School of Arts in Kingston. He smiled, yes. He only smiled. But that night the stars had a brighter glow, the wind didn't matter, the excitement went to sleep behind his simple smile.
You-see, getting accepted then attending School of Arts was nothing short of a dream-came-through and a miracle for Anthony. A very unlikely outcome based on the background his life was set against from a young age growing up in the countryside.
His intentional nonperformance in high school would usually dictate a different path, a path that many others were unable to exit to secure a more fulfilling future. A path that morphed some who lacked the ability to steer; into permanent fixtures in this small town of Brownsfield.
You see; If attending primary and high school walking distance from Anthony's home proved to be a major financial burden for his mom, the norm was that he would surely be consumed my the responsibilities that came with living in Kingston. The big city where rent, school fees, school supplies, travel, food and other necessities that would be the main ingredients in this quest to; as they say "better his life." But he was more than willing to step on the next bus that would show him a better side of life. Kingston 13 was where the occasional cash he had took him. He soon learned that this was indeed a different side of life, not better. This little slice of hell was not an improvement from the side he knew in terms of poverty and broken dreams.
"The more difficulties one has to encounter, within and without, the more significant and the higher in inspiration his life will be." - Horace Bushnell
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KGN 13 - Etched in my memoryNon-Fiction
Kgn 13 was a far cry from the innocence of the mountainous countryside where the lazy river snakes through the small town of Brownsfield. In Kgn 13 the nights went on forever. Tension stained the thick air and the constant sense of panic is still et...