EIGHTEEN.

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PROMPT: Write about someone who's impacted your life and why.

About at two and a half years ago, I walked into my place of work to find a surprise waiting for me. This surprise sat at the counter of the diner, had a paperback in his back pocket and was accompanied by a scowl that only faded when he opened his mouth to hurl some sort of insult my way. It was an unexpected surprise and an unwelcome one at that, but one that my boss made perfectly clear that I was going to have to deal with for a while, or at least until his nephew was deemed fit to send back to his mother. His name was Jess Mariano and he was a category five hurricane that disrupted the sleepy life of my small hometown, leaving some sort of debris in the yard of each person living there.

This was, of course, until we met. After a single exchange with him, I was determined to change this storm's trajectory and strived to remain untouched once it had passed over.

At the time, my life had begun to crumble from beneath me. My absent father had recently stopped paying child support, forcing change onto the dynamic of my home. My mother now had to take more shifts at the hospital to help keep the lights on and my brother divided his time between contracting jobs and football training. I had taken it upon myself to schedule my life to the hour, starting my days with school at six, working until ten each night and was left cramming whatever homework and studying I had to do for the late hours of the night. It wasn't uncommon to find me running on four hours of sleep at night (if I was lucky), leaving me overworked, overtired and miserable. I wasn't seeing my family as often as I was used to, my social life started to fall apart, and each day began to feel more and more like a chore. Work had acted as a safe haven for me the year before, and I refused to let Jess ruin one of the only things in my life I truly enjoyed.

You see, I met Jess Mariano during the darkest period of my life and at first, it seemed as though his ultimate goal was to make it even darker. It wasn't uncommon to find the two of us arguing while serving customers, harassing each other at closing, and finding different ways to get on the other's nerves at each possible moment. At first, I was convinced the two of us would never get along and I would spend every day in my own personal hell until I went to college. I had also convinced myself that I would remain in the eye of the hurricane and be unaffected by the disaster.

SILVER LINED DOUBT. [JESS MARIANO]Where stories live. Discover now