Knowledge of Life

Shawn knew more about life by the end of seventh grade then he ever wanted to know.

He knew what it was like to be homeless. (Shawn never admitted to anyone the times he would absent-mindedly walk to the trailer park instead of Jon's apartment, to only find himself staring at the empty space were his home used to lie).

He knew what it was like to be abandoned. (One ever knew about the many sleepless nights where Shawn laid awake trying to figure out why his family didn't want him anymore).

He knew what it was like to be blind. (He accepted lie after lie from his father. That he'd be home soon. He was really close to finding Mom. He was okay. They'd be a family again. He'd call again tomorrow).

He knew what it was like to lose hope. (The letters that stopped coming, the phone calls that came were farther and farther apart, and a few pieces of paper that said that his father was all ready to give him up to someone else).

He knew what it was liked to be pitied. (The Matthews couldn't handle him. Jon didn't understand him. His parents had left him. Teachers looked at him in a different way now. Amy always gave him a hug when he left her house. Cory skirted around sensitive topics).

He knew what it was like to lie. (He smiled and laughed like everything was okay. Nothing about him changed…on the outside. The whole time he was hurting on the inside).

He knew what it was like to go hungry. He knew what it was like to hide in his bedroom while his parents were fighting. He knew what it was like to have to humble himself to take hand-outs. He knew what it was like to hate himself. He knew what it was like to be called names. He knew what it was like to be different. He knew what it was liked to be scared…

But mostly, he knew what it was like to have no one have any expectations in you. And that's when he knew, though he didn't show it for years to come. That's when he knew he had to be something more. Something more than trailer-trash. Something more than his father. Something more than he already was.

Shawn promised himself then that he wasn't going to grow old living in a trailer or in a cell. That he wasn't going to living off welfare and charity. That he wasn't going to have millions of failing relationships. That he wasn't going to end up friendless.

He was going to make something of himself one day. He wasn't sure what yet. He wasn't sure how. But he was. Why? Because he wasn't going to end up doing to his children what his father had done to him.