Joey is ten days away.

Joey is ten days away. Just ten days away from graduating middle school and moving on into high school.

Man, 9th grade, I can’t believe it Joey thought to himself. Things are going to be different in high school. I’m going to do things. Other kids, they’re going to know who I am. 9th grade, I can’t wait.

Joey stood all of five foot even and weighed less than a hundred pounds. To look at Joey, nothing stood out. He didn’t have a feature about him that stood out at all. In fact, if it wasn’t for the daily attendance record that his home room teacher had to do each day, you might never know that Joey ever existed.

School wasn’t the only place that Joey barely existed. Joey’s dad worked in sales and was gone for days at a time. Joey’s grandmother stayed at home with him while his father was away. The problem was that grandma loved to sip on some dark liquor that would quickly make her pass out for an entire day. More and more Joey would come home to find his granny sleeping in her recliner in the corner.

Ten days! ten days! Joey thought over and over to himself as sat through history class. He glanced at the clock and watched as time ticked away. Soon, in about 17 minutes and 28, 27, 26 seconds… there will only be nine days! Joey’s mind wondered off thinking about how things were going to be different. He would join a sports team! Grow another two feet and be the star of the basketball team! Lead the team to the state championship and then, and then, and then the other kids would finally know who he was! Or better yet, he would become a genius over the summer! He would win every spelling bee, every academic competition, and solve equations his teachers couldn’t! Then, and then, and then the other kids would know who he was. Suddenly the bell rang. A smile slipped over Joey’s lips, nine days.

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