Part 4: 16 Years Old

As summer’s end drew closer, I became more and more depressed. My life had gotten so lonely, and

playing WoW barely made up for it. My mother noticed this and proposed that I get together with Philip

again. She called Philip’s mother Kathy to arrange a meetup. And so Philip came over twice during that

summer. I quite liked seeing him again… it was two years since the last time we spoke. Though he had

no interest in my video games, he enjoyed playing in my mother’s swimming pool.

     I had one playdate with Jeffrey as well. Philip and his family went on a vacation to Catalina, and

Jeffrey wanted to stay at home. I went to his house for a sleepover with just him there. Jeffrey had

changed a lot. He was now Fourteen, and he told me he had a girlfriend. I was shocked, amazed, and

envious. I wondered how an immature brat like Jeffrey could have a girlfriend at such a young age. I had

the dreaded suspicion that he had already had sex with her, and I tried not to think about it. I was

deeply jealous, but for the sake of our past friendship and the good times we had together in the past, I

hid that envy well enough.


     Eleventh Grade at Independence began. I still took the bus to school, as I had no desire to learn how

to drive at that age. I was way too afraid of even trying it out. Driving is something that adults are

supposed to do, and I still felt like a child. 

     I continued on with my lonely routine of doing my schoolwork in the morning and playing WoW with

James, Steve, and Mark for the rest of the time. I gave no thought to my future at all. I just lived in the

moment, in my comfort zone. 

     My sex drive was at its peak at this age. Whenever I got back from school, I had to masturbate. The

urge was too strong. During my masturbation sessions I often built elaborate fantasies in my mind that I

had a hot, blonde-haired girlfriend to have passionate sex with; almost like having an imaginary

girlfriend. I told no one about this. In fact, I didn’t talk to my parents at all about my sexual

development. I felt too guilty and embarrassed about it. Whenever they probed me, I lied to them,

telling them that I had no sex drive. My mother once caught me looking at pictures of girls online, and I

franticly had to convince her that I stumbled on those pictures by accident. 

     I also noticed that my voice was getting deeper. I was starting to sound like an actual teenager. The

last stages of puberty were over.


     Halo 3 came out in November. I got my mother to buy it for me on the very day it was released. I had

a lot of fun playing it while drinking the special mountain dew flavor that was released with the game;

Mountain Dew Game Fuel, it was called. The game definitely lived up to its expectations, and to my

surprise I found myself playing it more than WoW for the first couple of weeks.


     Father suffered through a deep financial setback because of his movie. Could things get any worse for

me? As a result, my father abruptly cut off all of the child-support payments he was paying my mother.

My mother was forced to find a better-paying job to make up for it, and she had to move out of her

house to a condominium close by.

     Thankfully, Rob Lemelson offered her a job in his production company, Elemental Productions. This

new job enabled my mother to make enough money to live comfortably. We hadn’t seen the Lemelsons

much since the last time we went trick-or-treating with them years ago. It was good to reconnect with


     I missed mother living in an actual house, but at least the new place was a condominium, with more

luxuries than the apartment we once lived in. The condominium had three bedrooms, and my room had

its own bathroom. The bad part about this condominium was its location in Canoga Park, a lower-class

area. I hated telling people that my mother lived in Canoga Park. It was highly embarrassing for me. But

alas, in that lonely and depressing stage of my life, there was no one really to tell, and I barely cared

about what people thought of me anyway. I was a complete dork, stuck in my own little world.


     An exchange student from France moved into my father’s house. His name was Max Bonon, a

cultured, outgoing nineteen-year-old French guy. His parents are very wealthy hotel owners, and he

would be staying with us for a few months while he studies English at Pierce College. At first, I wasn’t so

sure about having this young person lurking about, but we soon developed a good friendship. He always

invited me to play cards with him after dinner, and though Soumaya didn’t let me drink alcohol, he

would always sneak me a beer. It was really nice to have that regular social interaction. I became really

fond of Max.

     In just two weeks after Max arrived, we got the news that Soumaya’s father died in Morocco.

Soumaya immediately left for Morroco, and she took baby Jazz with her. Though I was really sad about

the death of Soumaya’s father, as he was a very kind and generous man, I was glad to see Soumaya

gone. Father’s whole household changed for the better. I started to love going to father’s house,

especially with Max there. He was like an older brother to me.


     My mother became really close friends with the Lemelsons due to her new job. Every year, they have

an extravagant Christmas party at their newly built mansion in the Palisades, and we would now be

invited to it. James also went to the party, and I had a pleasant time hanging out with him and Noah.


     During one week at father’s after the New Year, father had to leave for his work. For that week it was

just me, my sister, and Max in the house. The three of us had a lot of fun together. Max took us to

Universal Studios. Father allowed him to drive the big Lexus, for which I was a bit jealous. The last time I

was at the Universal Studios amusement park was when I just moved to America. Mother took us to the

Universal city walk a couple of times, but never the amusement park. I went on all of the rides, including

the infamous Jurassic Park ride that I was rejected from going on when I was a child.

     When father came back, we talked to him about our time at Universal Studios. He suggested that we

all go to Six Flags. The four of us set out for it the next day. Six Flags was the biggest amusement park

I’ve ever been to. I was awed by all the gigantic roller coaster rides. Max, my father, and even my little

sister were all eager to tackle the largest roller coasters. I was the only one who was scared out of my

mind. Max talked me into it, so I nervously gave all of the rides a try, and ended up having some fun.


     To my chagrin, my father decided to take up motorcycle riding. He pulled up to the house one day in

a roaring Harley Davidson, and I was completely baffled. I suppose it was due to some mid-life crisis he

was going through. A motorcycle… Really? Alex Bubenheim got him into it. He and Alex would then ride

their motorcycles all the time. He kept insisting that he take me on the motorcycle whenever we went

out, instead of going in the car. This would be too embarrassing for me, and I adamantly refused to ever

go on the motorcycle.


     I went with mother to the red carpet premiere of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

This was my fourth premiere. Going to premieres were always an uplifting experience for me. The movie

was quite a disappointment, however, and I much preferred the classic Indiana Jones films. The next

day, I told some of my teachers that I went to this premiere, and they were very shocked. I bet I was the

first kid at that school who has done such prestigious things.


     Soumaya and Jazz returned from Morocco. I was happy to see my baby brother again, but not so

happy to see Soumaya. Things were a lot better at father’s house when she was gone. Soon after she

came back, we started getting into various arguments again, which embarrassed me in front of Max.


     In the Spring, something horrible happened that will haunt me forever. We met up with the

Bubenheims at the Sagebrush Cantina in Calabasas, and a friend of Pollina’s was there with them,

named Nicole, a girl around my age. She sat next to Leo the whole time, and by the end of the dinner,

the two of them were making out. Twelve-year-old Leo was making out with a girl who was almost my

age. Not only does Leo have a better social life, but now he was making out with girls, AT AGE TWELVE!

They made out for a long time, and I could see them tongue kiss. They knew I was watching with envy,

and they still did it. I bet that lucky bastard took great satisfaction from my envy. There I was, watching a

boy four years younger than me experience everything I’ve longed for… to kiss a girl… to be worthy of a

girl’s attraction. On that day, I developed a vicious hatred for Leo that will never go away.

     A few days later, Max went home to France, never to come back again. I was deeply saddened by this.

For the brief period that Max was staying at father’s house, I enjoyed life a lot more. He was a big part of

my life there. He drove me to places when father and Soumaya were busy, we played card games and

had pleasant conversations after dinner, and we always took walks to the top of the hill overlooking

father’s neighborhood, which I called the Overlook. Most importantly, he made me feel less lonely. I was

very saddened by his departure.


     Another horrible experience concerning the Bubenheims occurred. We were having dinner at their

house, like we usually did. At the end of the dinner, a few of Pollina’s friends came over. They were all

popular, good looking girls and boys. They were the kind of people who I’ve always had the desire to be

a part of, but was never able to fit in with. Popular kids… cool kids. When I heard them talking about

their awesome lives and their parties, I had a breakdown right then and there. I realized how much I’ve

been missing out in my life, and I cried in front of everyone. I felt like I would never have a life as good as

theirs. I told everyone that I wanted to commit suicide. Father, Soumaya, Alex, and Karina talked to me

for three hours to cheer me up. 


     Eleventh Grade at Independence ended. Like the previous year, my time at the school went by like a

blur. I didn’t talk to anyone. I barely considered it a part of my life. I just did the work that I was required

to do while I waited for the bus to take me home.

     Once summer started, I sank into a major depression. My feelings of inferiority were intensified by

the recent events with the Bubenheims. The Bubenheims were family friends… but now they

represented the very thing that destroyed my whole life and took away my happiness. 

     It was at this time that I was just beginning to realize, with a lot of clarity, how truly unfair my life is. I

compared myself to other teenagers and became very angry that they were able to experience all of the

things I’ve desired, while I was left out of it. I never had the experience of going to a party with other

teenagers, I never had my first kiss, I never held hands with a girl, I never lost my virginity. In the past, I

felt so inferior and weak from all of the bullying that I just accepted my lonely life and dealt with it by

playing WoW, but at this point I started to question why I was condemned to suffer such misery. 


     There was nothing I could really do about my unfair life situation. I felt completely powerless. The

only way I could deal with it was to continue to drown all of my troubles with my online games. I played

WoW really hard, leveling two new characters to 70. At mother’s house, I sometimes played it for

fourteen hours a day. James, Steve, and Mark would always joke that there was never a time that they

saw me offline. I was known as the guy who was “always on WoW”. 

     My laptop was getting slower and slower. It wasn’t a very powerful laptop, but it was the only

computer I had to play WoW on. This was really frustrating me, because eventually it became so slow

that it ruined my gaming experience. I kept pestering my mother and father to get me a faster laptop

that was more efficient for gaming. 


     For my 17th Birthday, my parents agreed to split the funds for a new laptop. My mother took me to


Best Buy to choose it out, and I found the perfect one. It was a larger, highly efficient dark-colored

laptop designed for gaming. After we bought it, we had dinner at the Japanese restaurant Kabuki on

Ventura Boulevard, the same restaurant my mother took me to after my 5th Grade graduation.

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