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  • When mom announced that we were going to the mountains, Granny cheered. Papa grumbled. Little seven-year-old Julie screamed (In delight).

    What, me?

    I was just, like, whatever.

    I just wanted to zone out. I heard what mom said. great. As long as I took my ipod, my bed, my posters, my lab top, my room, I could manage. But of course, I couldn't. No electronics. No actual bed. We were going to a big pile of rocks and sleeping in bags.

    Just like homeless people.

    That was my first thought.

    They won this round, of course, the rest of the people I lived with. We packed and rushed and made plans. I hate rushing. I savored my last moments with the ipod and phone. I would probably never come home.

    Typical teenager.

    "Janice," mom stormed in, "Tell me why you have nothing but chips and socks in your pack?"

    "We have to eat something."

    "Janice. We've got a fried bean snack and potatoes we're going to roast up there."

    Great. Now they were turning into vegetarians. She was mature enough not to make a smart remark. But she was also young enough to still be held under mom's power.

    So I packed properly. Whatever I put in the pack would keep me alive. I couldn't just say 'whatever' in immense focus.

    The day came. To me, it wasn't a vacation. We were all going to be executed.
    That car ride to the mountains would be the one of the worst in her life in Janice's mind. Screaming Julie. Singing parents. Snoring Granny. Precarious cliff drive and the sheer ocean drop below.

    Well, like, I guess the view was pretty. But I had made my mind not to like the trip; so, like, whatever. Our car puffed to a halt and parked in the middle of the peasant dirt road, a thin line of flat space for the sake of sheep. It was a miracle they had survived.

    "Mom!" I cried, "Do you want to hold up traffic and probably have our car crushed off the road?"

    "for goodness sake, there is no traffic up here. Goat herders and rare visitors like us use that road."

    "Whatever."

    We made camp on a high point with a small grassy plain and outcrops of rocks. There were butterflies everywhere. Out of the tiny amount of animals that I liked, butterflies were the top of my list.

    Wait. Butterflies? in the mountains? Did scientists know about this?

    Thats when I started waking up. The echo of 'whatever' in my head dulled and faded, to be replaced by the blending colors of nameless flowers I had only dreamed about and the breeze whistling around my face, hair blowing in the wind. The sky was sharp and blue, the moon as clear as it is at night. A low cloud passed right through us now and then. I couldn't believe it.

    Then there was the view; revealed only when I experimented standing on a tree stump. After the gentle but sheer drop from our hill was overlapping green and purple mountains criss-crossing across the landscape, their heads buried in the clouds.

    The true consciousness I had lost becoming a teenager returned.

    And...peace.

    That's all what I was right now. Peaceful.

    As I crawled into our tent in the afternoon to escape the mosquitos, I decided not to tell the rest of them about my experience. Pride was sitting in my way, fat and stubborn.

    To Mom, Granny, Grandpa, and Julie I was still a whatever person. But after the immense and peaceful silence and breathtaking glory of the mountains, I knew I would never be, like, whatever, ever again.
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