Here we go again. Like hitting the reset button on a video game, it’s time to start over; new names, new haircuts, new back stories, same old lies. Most people, having restarted their game, will try something new–a new direction, or a different weapon or an easier difficulty level.  Not us. It’s the same thing every time: we show up, start the con, get a decent momentum going, then BAM!  Enter the alcohol and suddenly we’re packing up to make a run for it.
    
When I was younger, this was exciting–a rush came along with every new name; learning to fake these illnesses a challenge I was more than happy to take up. And the donations, well, the smile and pat on the head was like gold coming from the old man. That was when it was fun, while it was harmless.
    
My new name is Tyler Green. This time, I’ll have to wear a brace on my leg and carry a cane. I get to keep my hair–always a plus–but I had to dye it brown.  Still, I don’t have to be a bald cancer patient again, so I can live with dark hair.  My sob story is that I lost the use of my leg in a drunken driving accident that killed my mother. There’s something in there about the muscles of my leg, but I had stopped listening.
    
We’re somewhere in Ohio, using the funds from our last con to rent a decent apartment. I actually like the look of this town–there are lots of trees, a playground a block away, and a river with some small waterfalls, a big change from the thriving metropolis that was our last home.  The high school isn’t far away, and if I’m lucky, we’ll be here long enough for me to go next year.
    
The two of us have pulled up in front of our new home.  As with several other homes in the area, it was a very old, large house that was converted into several smaller apartments.
    
“Aaron.”
    
“Tyler,” I answer automatically, liking the sound of this new name. I know this test.
   
“Good. Put on your brace and let’s go upstairs.”
 
The brace is huge and metal. It makes me think of that movie about the simpleton with Tom Hanks. I put it on and grab my cane and backpack, hobbling unsteadily towards the house
with the new equipment.

There’s a boy on the front steps of our new home. He smiles to me with those kind eyes and offers me help with my bag.

Maybe this beginning will be better than I thought.

                                                                 ~~

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Published in: on September 26, 2006 at 3:03 am  Comments Off on