It was my understanding that he had fallen over the handle bars of his bicycle while riding home from a party that took place on a Friday night on the Shore of Miette River. He was pedaling quickly and hit an obstruction on the ground that he could not see in the dark. His tire wedged into the object and he fell head-first over top of the bicycle and sailed into the concrete. Luckily, the alcohol absorbed the pain of the fall and by divine guidance, he managed to walk both himself and his bicycle, home to bed. He woke up the next morning with a shining hangover and a bruise resembling a dappled black shield strapped across his chest. It hurt for two weeks, he said. And if he told his parents, they would know he had snuck out to attend this party, the first of many.

Another time, he ate far too many magic mushrooms. He and his friend Jason were perched on the snow-enclosed earth eating mushroom after mushroom in a late evening in December. They were seeing infrared images of branches, the blackened sky looking like a hot pink and tie-dyed orange sunset laden with splatters of psychedelic paint. Branches of trees dangled low, weighed down with lofty snow, and they looked like long, winding hands reaching for them as they bolted with wide strides through the forest and back into town. Jason had vanished, he recalled. And when he looked at down through hallucinogenic eyes, he could only see shaky lines and sickly shadows rippling with his own body heat. He grew very tired very quickly and needed to rest his dilated pupils. He found a warm place to sleep and crouched down, drifting off into an easy, dream-fueled slumber, even amidst passing freight trucks and passers-by. Once he awoke, he saw that he had been sleeping in a back entrance of the local court house. He was nestled into the snow-shoveled corner like a cat, still in his winter jacket.

He was a cowering mess and I knew it, while each of these incidents was looked upon by prestigious cliques as success stories and conquests, his initiation into a teenager realm, where everyone drinks and smokes and gets high, everyone lies and sneaks around – on their parents, on their boyfriends, on their friends. He passed each test with flying colours and soon I only knew him through what other people had told me were truths, these two incidents being just two of his stories of destructive carnage, both taking place when he was entering the Christmas holidays before his fifteenth year.

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