| Teen Diary Serial |

Metamorphosis: Chapter 1

I feel like a person lost in a dark tunnel, trying to figure out how he got there in the first place.


The danger signals are screaming before I even open my eyes. My heart sinks.

Why does there always seem to be something wrong?

I search my mind for the culprit; what was I worried about yesterday?

Ignorance is bliss, because I become a thousand times more terrified when I remember what it was.

I am paralyzed with fear, my hands are shaking, and my heart is beating fast. Also, in some forgotten corner of my heart, I am sad. Oh, for my carefree life!

I remember a time when I was actually calm and happy, when the future was full of hope and promise.


I am back only a few short months before the cusp of my tenth-grade year. No longer an insecure freshie, I am confident and comfortable with my place in school. I have Ahuva and Chavala at my side and have even expanded my social circle to include Shaindy, Milka, Sara Dina, and Elisheva. We love getting together, especially to ice-skate. Often we’ll volunteer at a special children’s place.

Sometimes I sit with Ahuva (who’s my closest friend and next-door neighbor) and we have deep conversations about our futures, the meaning of life, and also about high school — especially tenth grade. Recently we’d been discussing tenth grade a lot.

“My sister says tenth grade is the first real year of high school,” Ahuva says.

“I know. Last year we were such babies and so insecure, we didn’t know where to put ourselves until halfway through the year, and even then we were so immature,” I agree.

“This year I want to be serious about growth,” Ahuva declares “My sister says high-school years are even more life-changing than seminary, it’s when you really decide who you want to be.”

“I made a list of things I want to gain this year,” I tell her.

Ahuva gets a pad and pen and we pore over our ideals under the sky.

I fall asleep that night dreaming of my immediate future, so full of promise and hope. They are sweet dreams that night and the next bunch of nights that follow.

The nightmare only starts in the daytime, a few weeks later.


It probably began sometime in the middle of ninth grade, when I was more tense than usual. But to me, “The Beginning” is when I lost my carefree self, during the first month of tenth grade.

I feel like a person lost in a dark tunnel, trying to figure out how he got there in the first place.

The numbers on my alarm clock tell me I should be getting ready for school. School?! School is a thousand miles away, on a planet where things aren’t always falling apart. I know I’ll get sick any day now. I just feel it. I try to explain to myself that I’m probably fine but it’s using a feather as a sword. Makes no dent.

Then my logical voice asks in a faint whisper what everyone is going to think. The sirens in my head turn on full blast. I might end up in the hospital tomorrow, but I’ve got to get to school.

Somehow, I find myself on the bus. Even more miraculously, my smile is on my face. How it got there I cannot fathom. After greeting a few friendlies, I decide to be anti-social today and sit by myself. It’s a good thing Ahuva didn’t come today, because I don’t have any headspace to schmooze with her. I’m so not myself that I don’t even find it ironic that I’m happy Ahuva isn’t here.

I lean my head against the window and try to banish all thoughts from my mind. But the glorious blue sky takes me back to a time when the year was still beginning and life was still predictable.

And I remember the very beginning of this craziness.

to be continued…


(Originally featured in Mishpacha Jr., Issue 952)

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