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Pieces of My Dream

Mark E. Vigil: The boy’s parents tried in vain to shield and protect him each time he strayed too far from home, but before long, the boy left home and never returned.
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Once upon a time, there existed a boy whose heart and mind yearned to understand the things he could not even define.

Lost Teenager

All the world was a huge mystery--one filled with so many wonders and contradictions that fueled his ever-growing imagination and curiosity with all the elements of life and its multitude of splendors.

The boy’s deep brown eyes, the size of marbles, shined as they took in all of God’s creations, that filled his budding soul with the many textures and flavors that would come to comprise the boy’s childhood.

The world seemed a beautiful place back then--though not of the story-book kind. Rather, it was of the love and human connections that sustained him in the safe comforts--big and small--of innocence and joy for life.

In those days, the boy was capable of such human traits. The tattered rags he wore did not matter then, nor did the times when he had no shoes to wear. Those were the moments the boy felt closer to the earth, beneath his scarred, dirt-stained brown feet that could run for miles and never tire. Despite all these things, his restless spirit still ran wild.

He felt connected to the world around him, free to roam the fields and places he recognized as his home. The boy made playgrounds of the junk-yards and city dumps that surrounded the vistas around his neighborhood on every side. The extreme poverty of his youth was his motivation to make something of himself.

To create something from the almost nothing that was his world. Maybe he would not become a doctor or a lawyer, but perhaps some kind of bright star amidst that ball of mud the boy called home—something that would validate his existence!

This was the stage from which he rose to become who he was to be. He greeted each morning with a smile, as if it were his last--knowing only the moment, not caring about the possibilities of tomorrow. Tomorrow—that was a currency the boy could not bank on.

The boy loved the adventures he experienced beyond the safe confines of his home. The streets of his barrio were his theater where he saw the fourth world unfold before him. He digested and devoured every aspect of this gray, lively world filled with all the inequities and tragedies that were a constant part of his daily life.

The boy’s parents tried in vain to shield and protect him each time he strayed too far from home, but before long, the boy left home and never returned.

The boy’s parents tried in vain to shield and protect him each time he strayed too far from home, but before long, the boy left home and never returned.

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What became of this boy?

Lost and led astray, the boy began to drift from all the good things within his life, and he submerged himself in things that hindered and poisoned his heart and mind.

Where blue skies once existed, dark clouds now formed over him. He tried to find his way back home, but the path back was somehow blocked by the very things that had pulled him away from all the goodness he had ever known. He felt conflicted and torn inside.

The boy had bitten from the apple of all the bad elements of this world and before he realized how far he had fallen, he made a fatal mistake that cost another man his life!

The boy was devastated and lost by this tragic turn of events. He knew he had done wrong. He knew this because he finally understood God’s word—Thou shalt not kill! But he could not take back his sin—the deed was done and a man’s life was forever gone.

When the boy’s crime was discovered, he was punished and condemned for the life he had destroyed. Life in prison would be his penance.

Locked away, the boy’s spirit grew dark and grim. He was sent miles from home to places barely suitable for human existence, where he would continue his societal descent into the bowels of a prison system he did not understand, a system that had complete control over him.

Numbed by his internal pain and the collective self-destructive demons of prison life, the boy’s soul was smashed to pieces like the shell of Humpty-Dumpty’s great fall.

Through the years that stretched into decades, the boy emerged a man, though still scared and deeply affected by the things he had experienced on his journey through distance and time.

And so it was that the man who was a boy came to realize that for all the wrongs he had ever done, he could now begin to make things right by choosing to transform himself into a better person. Prison may have made him worse in the beginning but it also rendered him whole again.

In this chaotic fashion, the seeds of human compassion grew within him, and the boy’s humanity was restored.

This I know because I was that boy!!

Mark E. Vigil