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Grey Matter

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This was a short creative writing assignment. In class, we had just completed reading Salinger's The Catcher In the Rye. We were to put ourself in Holden's place and write about anything we wanted...the purpose was to create 'a new chapter or section' for the book.

Too Fast
May 6, 1997

When I'm alone, I often let my mind wander. I contemplate past conversations, about Phoebe and Allie, old friends, all sorts of things. But most of all, I wonder about my own past. I begin to ask myself if the world has truly changed since I was young, before Allie died. No matter how I argue the idea, I always have concluded that life has gone by too fast.

Yes the world does indeed move too fast. At my age, we are forced to make decisions that will considerably effect our future. If one goes to college, they have to choose a major. A career that will govern their lives without end. I am confused as to how a person can decide their path in life, yet hardly know where they want to be. Mr. Antolini says that I should return to school, as it will help me find what I like in life, to learn the "size of my mind." He's right, but I do not think that I can come back to a place that I have learned to despise of so greatly. I'm sure that my parents worry about this, I wish they wouldn't. Perhaps even they weren't ready for my coming of age, or the burdens of responsibility that they face as well. Society pushed me to grow up too quickly, even my parents weren't ready. I hope that I am not alone, though at times I believe that I was an experiment of society; one who was pushed too fast, and broke.

Walking through the park on a Saturday, I see many young kids running about. I can imagine myself in their place; it happened so many years ago. In elementary school, everyone was waiting for the next period of freedom, recess. When I think about that, school wasn't so bad back then. In class we were expected to behave, like adults, but the ever beckoning recess bell always signaled the start, and end of a time where we were able to be who we were at heart. We were innocent, fun loving children inside. We had no worries, our parents did the worrying for us. But soon, a big change was headed for us. Secondary school came, but our freedom and childhood had ended. Students were told to sit still, and be quiet. My mind questioned my actions, had something been done wrong, was there a reason for this new treatment. Truly, we did nothing wrong, the rules had simply changed, we were older now, promoted from boy to young man. The thing is, you see, we weren't ready for it; nobody was.

The echoes of laughter in the park induce recollection of a long departed past. I did not want to go to the funeral, I could not. Allie was a part of me, a part of my childhood; a piece of a complex puzzle that had now been all but lost. Days in the park, elementary school, the carefree days of life. They all seem like they happened so long ago, yet I know that they did not. I have learned a lot about the world around be since then. I have an increased perception of time now than I did before. Many changes have taken place in a few short years, change that could be put off, and delayed until one was prepared. But, that does not happen, we are given things when society believes we are ready.

Copyright, © Greg Wittel 1996-2000. All Rights Reserved.

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