I was a bright kid, years ago. I used to think I was special, that I was going to mark my place in the world. I was going to become this respected, well known, successful person. I was going to become this talented doctor who found the cure to cancer, or this crazy scientist who solved the world’s greatest equations, or a leader who finally reconciled the world’s greatest powers and instated world peace. I had big dreams for a ten year old, and I was working hard to make the future look as bright as possible.

I read books that were way beyond my years, I watched the news avidly, I lead a mini strike in school, standing on top of the stairs, facing a crowd of 50 kids, who repeated every word I said, I wrote short stories and plays, I fantasized about the great scientists of our world, dreaming up crazy inventions and ideas. I was an interesting little kid, arrogant, pretentious to say the least, but a kid who faced the world bravely, stood tall and vowed to someday conquer it.

I think I crushed that little kid’s hopes, torched all of his dreams and plans and destroyed the foundations he had laid for a great promising future. Well, I’ve managed to drag that boy through hell, put him through years of unending emotional torture, intoxicate him with all the cynicism this world had to offer and I managed to break that boy’s will, blew it to pieces, stomped his face so many times in the dirt, that he finally stopped looking up, and learned to be contempt, contempt with a worthless, uneventful, pathetic life.

I do a little bit of stalking now and then, to see how the people, I’ve known when I was at that age, are fairing. How do their lives compare? Are they happy? Are they in a good place? What sort of life are they leading? This only serves one purpose: satisfy my sadistic desire to see that little kid sink his head in shame. As all of my fellow classmates lead interesting lives, scattered in different countries, and one feat I’ve never accomplished is get out of the country, doing what they love, what I knew, back then, was their lives’ calling.

I smile when I remember that they all looked up to me, I still have the notes they wrote me on the last day of school, each predicting his own version of what my bright future is going to look like. I hope they never remember me, or try to look me up. The conversation would go along the lines of: “Hi man, how’s life treating you?”. “It’s been great, I managed to find the perfect dead end , one that fits the sad pathetic life I deserve”.”God, what happened to you?”.

To which, I shall answer: “Well, that’s what I’ve been asking myself for a long time now. I found some great excuses. I tried to blame it on a girl I met eight years ago. I tried to blame it all on young love: met a girl, fallen madly in love with her, was her rebound between two serious relationships, and hanged on to the memory of our two months being actually “together” for the remaining seven years. Then, I learned a bit about psychology, and thus tried to blame it all on my parents, who never let me be a kid, never bought me video games, let me play with the neighborhood kids, left me alone most of the time, demanded hard work and weren’t easily pleased.”

“But, the person that truly and beyond any doubt, who truly fucked me up and double crossed me a million times, was me. I am behind my own destruction. I am the criminal here, your honor. It was me, don’t act surprised, I led myself down this road of self destruction. I sabotaged myself. Why? I was scared that I was going to be that quirky kid who never really fit in anywhere. So, I started hiding away my ‘special thing’ (my dreams, my hopes, my talents), I wanted to be a normal cool kid, while others worked bravely on their special thing, made themselves better and built an identity for themselves, that’s how they didn’t lose their way. I dismantled my identity bit by bit, until there was but a void, and what do you expect from a man with no identity?”