I turned eighteen this year — in May, the month that I graduated high school. By coincidence, the majority of my friends turned eighteen about that time. All throughout high school we had celebrated “Birthday Month”, a time where one of our birthdays happened to fall on each of the weekends. When we turned sixteen, we each bought packs of cigarettes. At seventeen, we watched every R rated movie in theaters, two times each. And at eighteen, we decided we would each be getting tattoos.
But I had a problem.
Of my three friends, I was the poorest — my parents had kicked me out a few months before when they found the vodka in my closet, and I could just barely afford to pay rent with the waiter job that I had picked up on nights and weekends. I’d managed to graduate high school with low marks- but I had graduated, which mattered to me, though I knew I wouldn’t be heading to college.
And now, my three other friends were leaving to start their futures.