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Beyond Their Years


Jacky den Houting 

Chapter 1

Have you ever felt like your world is falling down around you? That just when everything you ever wanted is about to come true, it all comes crashing down around your ankles? Well, that's how I feel now. 

I look back at the things I used to consider important just 6 months ago, and it all seems so shallow and immature. Now I realise what the things that are really important are. I would give almost anything to travel back in time a year, even half a year. I might have been able to change how things have turned out; or at least know I'd tried. 

I guess I haven't been the most fun to be around lately, I've been so moody. But I just feel so guilty - I should have seen what was happening, I could have stopped it from going any further. For the first few weeks I was a wreck. I guess I went through the whole range of emotions - guilt, anger, sorrow, depression and loneliness. It's so lonely now. 

But it's not like I haven't got other problems as well. I mean, it's the nature of teenagers to have problems, isn't it? And adults just laugh and say, 'Just you wait.'

Wait for what? Bills, jobs, kids. Okay, I'm sure it's all hard work. 

But spare a thought for us the next time you hear us complaining, because some of our problems and decisions are going to change our lives. We can't just laugh them off. 

I haven't exactly had the best years of my life as a teenager - none of us have. We've had a pretty rough trip, rougher than most kids our age. They say the best thing to do is to put it all behind you and look towards the future, but I don't agree. The whole point of having troubles and making mistakes is to learn from them so they can make you a stronger person, and if you put it all behind you, then how can it ever help you?

I'm a stronger person now than I was 6 months ago, that's for sure. I don't mean physically stronger, physically I haven't changed a lot. But mentally, mentally I've become stronger, braver and, well... I'm just different. I look at life differently. I feel about 20 years older, I just wish people would treat me like that. 

My friends are amazing. Without them, I would still be an emotional wreck. We've helped each other, and we've all emerged as better people - almost all, anyway. I find it hard to believe that any group of people could be so in touch with each other's feelings as we are, especially a group of people so different. We really haven't been together for that long, but I guess everything that's happened has just brought us together so totally that I don't know what I'd do without them. 

This is the story of us. The story of my life, of our lives, our problems and triumphs, our highs and lows. The story of everything.  

My name is Jenna Phillips. I'm 16. You may think I don't know what I'm talking about, how can a 16 year old have experienced all these things, felt all these amazing, overwhelming emotions. All I can say is, I have. We all have.

We've been through all this and more, much more. but let me start at the beginning of our story... 

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