Andrew T. Birrell
* When I was six I made a gamble with my friends that I could cross the street and retrieve a ball that I had kicked to the other side. As I began to cross the street, a brilliant childish idea comes to my mind; I’m going to do it with my eyes closed! I like to tell people at this point in my memory that “I made it across, just not back.” I recite this because looking into that memory from an analytical perspective repeatedly has granted me the wisdom to understand my actions resulted in my life being spared. * The hospital was a dreary place filled with tears for loved ones and fears of those with unanswered questions. My mother had come to “watch over me,” but I knew that she wanted to be someplace else. The forced tears that streamed down her face were filled with anger. She was angry because she was there and not where her mind wandered to ever so often. My sister sat by my side with genuine tears flowing down her face, tears caused by the fear of not knowing who I was. * Growing up as a kid I lived in a small home nestled in a rough part of Columbus, Oh known to some as “The Hilltop” with my two brothers and my sister. Devin was the eldest, and then followed Brandon, the youngest of the boys, and my sister Alyssa, the youngest of us all. We didn’t have a lot of income from what my memory’s revealed to me. This drove my eldest brother and I to venture out into the darkest corners of our street and as far as our fear filled bodies could carry us, in order to provide for our siblings and ourselves. We did just that. We would steal from the gas station by day and fulfill our insatiable appetites at night by rummaging through the infected fragments of detritus. * A week after my return home my stiff body was still recovering from the scab that had been left on my face. The scorching pavement had caused minor burns to my young creaseless face, as well as a small fracture in my skull caused by the...