First Draft


Message From Astor

               Hi, my name is Astor and I am sixteen. This is the most unbelievable story that happened to me, here in my home town of Pasadena. No, not in town, but in the Arroyo.

Would you like to hear my story?
It's magic and mysterious, I'll start it the old fashion way: Once upon a time... well it's not that long ago.
Actually it's recent. Ten years you think? Not even that long, just six years ago.
Also I would tell it like I am looking at myself.
My English teacher calls that narrating a story in the third person.

               My story takes place in an area between Altadena in the north and South Pasadena in the south. Mostly in Pasadena around the Rose Bowl, the Aquatic Center, the Colorado Bridge and the 134 freeway, along the boundaries between the cities of Pasadena and South Pasadena. As my father explained to me, these boundaries are different from the borders between different countries. You do not have to stop there and wait to be admitted by showing a passport stamped with a visa, as you do when entering a foreign country.

               Before I tell you my story, I would like to tell you something about me and my family. As you may have figured already, I live in Pasadena, a beautiful small city of 150,000 inhabitants and lots of trees. It is 25 miles northeast of Los Angeles, the largest city in Southern California with four million people. In comparison, my city is very small, isn't it?
I live near the Rose Bowl with my mom, who works as a cardiac nurse in a nearby hospital. My father, Archimedes, died in a car crash six months ago. A drunk driver mistakenly entered a one-way street and hit my dad's car head-on, killing my father instantly, said the crash investigators. The drunk driver survived.
               My father, the son of Greek immigrants, was a scholar specialized in Sumerian, Aramaic, Arabic, Hebrew, and ancient Greek. He taught ancient cultures and civilizations at UCLA, research in linguistics at Caltech and served on several advisory boards for scientific research. "A brilliant man in his prime," the local newspaper called him in an obituary; my father was only forty-one, when he died in the crash.
               I tell you all this because I am so proud of my dad from whom I learned a lot. It took me a long time and many corrections to remember names of foreign people, cultures and languages. Wouldn't you be proud of your dad, if he spoke old languages that now exist only in books?

               He taught me music with love and patience, even when I had no patience. Over many years, tiny doses of patience at a time helped me develop a love for the art of music. In turn, music is my magic elixir: it soothes me and improves my understanding of things, events and people. I am most comfortable in one-on-one situations; dealing with two people is okay depending on how they behave towards me. For me a group of three to five is a crowd, it's still okay if they are not noisy and I am not the center of their attention.

               My father's death was a great loss to mankind and a devastating blow to my mother and me. The loss was so damaging to my mother that she, a naturally upbeat person, started having episodes of depression. They lasted several hours at a time and inflamed my own sadness. In my depressed state a dense fog of icy loneliness enters my brains leaving no room for clear thinking. My only comfort is to flee into my own world of silence, filled with fearful and intensely wild thoughts; a world of sheer torment.
               For few minutes, sitting on the floor in my room, I hold my head in my hands, rock back and forth feeling sorry for myself, and then I pass into a world of dreams, a few fantastic and many grotesque. In all these fantasies, I travel far into space among stars and planets to find the right weapon to rescue my mother from the tentacles of a giant cosmic monster, Depression. Healing my mother is my most cherished desire. That, I believe will also help me overcome many of my own problems
               Oh, did I say I have no brother and no sister, but I have a wonderful grandma who hails from Greece, the country of Hercules, my hero!

Are you ready for my story?

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