character story: layers.

Person: A 15-year-old boy walking down the street on the sidewalk, his head turned down toward the ground. His black hair falls in front of his face. He's wearing a plaid shirt over a white t-shirt, jeans and Converse sneakers. 

He just wants to be understood. No, not even that. That would take years for someone. He immediately feels exhausted at the thought and shoves it away. So, not that. Then, what? It must be him. It's got to be something about him. Something's off. Something's wrong. With him. 

He's been down this thought-path so many times before. From the outside, he's completely normal. He looks the same as the other kids. He thinks about how they're all in the same classes at school. He even does some of the same things. But he feels so different. It seems he thinks about things most of his friends don't. He doesn't care about the same things they do. 

Sometimes he thinks he should talk to someone. It's not that he really minds being so different. It's just that he likes people. He doesn't mean to be any particular way. If anything, he wishes he wasn't too afraid to be himself. There are too many layers, he thinks. He can barely sort through them himself. His heart sinks into his belly. How will anyone else?

He pulls his arm up and pushes his hand from the crown of his head forward, brushing over his bangs. He's still walking, though he doesn't know where he's going. He really can't think about any of this anymore. Instead, he watches where the wind sweeps through the grass, he hears two birds whistling at each other and he leans back into the grass of a nearby field to watch the clouds float by. 

When he looks at all the nature around him, he feels almost peaceful. At each turn, his eyes focus in on one thing, and it's almost like he's watching a movie. He sees the detail, the color, the way a branch flips, sending its leaves into a frenzy. He thinks this is probably why he's weird. He feels a connection to life, nature and a larger perspective. 

There's just so much more out there for him to do, see and explore. So much to make of life. He's always considered his differences to be barriers. Right now, though, it feels like they're giving him an escape—like a secret passageway to meaning, freedom, peace. 

But, there are so many layers. Maybe too many. He wonders if he'll ever get through them all.

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