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It was the week after my 12th birthday, and I was about to head home until I heard my name in the distance. I look back, and see my friend, Pop.             “You down to go to GameStop? I need to buy a gift card, and if you want I’ll get you one too.” he says.            “Sure, just let me call my mom and let her know.” I reply.            It was 2017, and I remember I was 12 years old,  and so  my parents were always a little protective over me walking far places. I was in 6th grade, and we live in Chelsea so anything can happen. Now I understand why they wouldn’t allow it back then, but I thought they were being overprotective over me.            GameStop is across the city from where our school is. I knew my mom would say no, so I had to lie to her. I told her we’re going to McDonald’s, which is a 2 minute walk from the school, to celebrate my birthday.            “Okay, be safe and I’ll come get you around 5,” she told me, and hung up.            Pop and I left the school, and ventured off to GameStop. I felt so free, something I really looked for since I was still 12 years old in 6th grade, living in Chelsea.            “Did you think it was a good idea to lie to her?” he tells me.             “It’s fine. Just stay on your toes, you know you’d get in big trouble for this.”            I should’ve taken his words into consideration.            It was a fun time. We went to GameStop, Dollar Tree, and McDonald’s. I was enjoying myself.            Until I look down at my phone.            Picking you up in 2 mins. From Dad.            My heart dropped. What I was scared of happening, happened. I gave my sandwich to Pop, grabbed my bag, and ran out of McDonald’s. _I’m using the bathroom, I might take a while. _I reply without thought. What am I going to do? What’s going to happen? “Where are you?! I’m right in front.” he texts me. “I’ll be out in a second just wait a few minutes.” I start to dash as fast I can. “You’re not here. I’m going home, you can walk.” he says. A few feelings run through my head. I feel relieved, worried and guilty all at the same time. I think back to what Pop told me. Did you think it was a good idea to lie to her? You know you’d get in big trouble for this. I arrive home, and the first thing I see is my mom sitting at the counter, waiting for me. “Come sit over here.” She says.   I can feel my heart speeding up, and my palms sweating. But I head over to the counter. “Why can’t you be honest with me? Am I overprotective?” she asks. “I don’t know. You wouldn’t say yes if I said where I was going.” “Because it’s dangerous. You are still 12 years old, and you want to walk around the whole city? You know how dangerous this city is?” She’s right. There was just a stabbing near the hospital in Chelsea. “Not only that, but I can’t trust you to go anywhere if you aren’t honest with me. It’s more of a failure on my part, to make you feel like you need to lie to me.” She leaves. Trust is like a chain. You break one link, and it splits apart. And it will always be split unless you find a way to fix it. That’s how I see it after that day. Parents are overprotective and controlling when you give them a reason to. If you’re honest, they can trust you, there isn’t a reason to be so protective.  

© Christian Garcia. All rights reserved. If you are interested in quoting this story, contact the national team through this website and we can put you in touch with the young person's teacher.