Past, Present, Future: The Years That Have Gone, Lost, and Will Be

High school’s over for me… now what?

Reading Time: 4 minutes

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By Sophia Li

Well bois, I’ve done it. I’ve finally become a second-term senior in quarantine. Sure, you might be thinking, what the hell is there for me to do now? Besides getting rescinded and going into debt I’ll never recover from, what could possibly ruin me now?

I felt like the only thing that could have any chance of ruining me was the idea of what I was going to do now. I had sorta done everything I wanted to do: have an extended vacation, get into college, and other things. And yet, I couldn’t help but feel… empty.

One night, as I was tossing and turning in my bed, I somehow decided that a bit of nostalgia would do the trick. Thus, I got my Nintendo DSi XL and started playing Mario Kart. Sure, I’d gotten rusty, but hey, at least I was a bit less anxious! After an hour, I turned off my DS and drifted off to sleep accordingly.

The next day, however, I felt the same sort of emptiness I did before. I mean, what the hell? What kind of teenage hermit DOESN’T like total isolation? Well, I guess I had to stop feeling… whatever I felt. So, I decided to take out my old middle school yearbooks this time.

And what a surprise that was.

I guess I intended for it to remind me of the old days, the days before stress. And as expected, it did.

What I didn’t expect was the realization that I’ll never be like that ever again. No longer can I buy snacks, games, and toys while stressing out my parents without any responsibilities on my end. I was really gonna have to start taking charge.

I looked at myself in the mirror. I must say, I was APPALLED by the figure I saw. I stared at a man-child who exchanged freedom and joyousness for skill, pain, and fake childhood tendencies in the form of terrible memes. Who the heck builds a fat Yoshi shrine in their bedroom? But I digress; the more important question is, what the hell am I? A man? A boy? HowToBasic? I simply didn’t know. Am I just marching to my death, living a life of naught regardless of what I do? Or am I actually HowToBasic and about to show everyone how I get my seemingly endless egg supply?

Clearly, I was confused. I needed guidance. With few options open to me, I turned to the two people who were able to financially support me despite my cruelly growing negligence: my parents.

As nervous as I was, I walked downstairs and actually confronted them for the first time in about three years. They were sitting on the couch looking at WeChat and watching Chinese news. When I stopped to look at them, they looked back.

“Hi parents,” I said nervously.

“After all these years, THIS is how you address us?” Mother asked.

“Uh no, um, I mean—”

“No,” Father interjected. “You refused to speak to us for this long, and NOW you suddenly want us to talk? Who do you think WE are?”

After around two hours of my dad and me arguing about respect and terribly dated trends, we ended up getting into a brawl.

As much as I’d like to give all the details of the fight, I’m sadly writing for a high school paper, and Olly will be very mad if I write anything insane. For convenience, I’ll just jump to the end.

After intense clashing, it ended when Father kicked me in the crotch and I jabbed him in the eyes.

Coughing up a bit of blood, I was ready to make a final move.

But you know what? I didn’t continue to beat Father up. I just stood in the same spot for a few minutes while my poor mother watched on in fear. I began to think about many things that the editorial board would find too trippy for their liking. But to sum it all up for all you non-intellectuals, it was absolutely eye-opening for me. It was at that moment when I realized that I sorta figured out the pieces of the next steps of my life. And it was all thanks to Father.

Dripping with blood, my eye swollen, I walked over to him. It was a sad sight; he couldn’t even get up. In an attempt to rekindle my relationship with him, I offered him a hand.

Grabbing my hand, he lifted himself up and stood. A tear came out of my eye as I quickly embraced him. This was warmth I hadn’t felt in years. And I needed this. In the corner of my eye, I swore I saw Mother smile.


A right body-shot in my damn stomach.

I fell down to the floor in stinging pain.

“Serves you right, son,” he remarked with a grin on his face.

He then patted my head and gave me some water.

A surprise to be sure… but a welcome one.

While healing my wounds, I was able to strike up a conversation with my parents. Seconds turned into minutes, and minutes turned into hours. We had a pretty grand dinner that night, with a huge chicken, fried dumplings, and a bunch of other stuff. After the dinner was over, I went to bed and quickly succumbed to a food coma. I knew that everything was gonna be okay; I could feel it.

Anyway, time to break character. I must say, wow. Three years and over 20 articles in this department. It’s been really fun. I’ve enjoyed terrorizing this publication for the past few years, and I can’t wait to terrorize more in the future. It’s been a pleasure, everyone.