Nine Mile

Write about an experience that, although unexpected or even unpleasant, has helped shape you into the person you are today.

As is the case with many twelve-year-old sixth graders, I used to be a little self-centered. I was in the middle of puberty, with hormones raging and jumbling my mind in all kinds of ways, and the fact that I was slightly socially awkward and seen as a "geek" to begin with did nothing to help my situation. I thought this sixth-grade version of hell would never end - and as a coping mechanism, I started to turn inward and ignore the friends I did have at school. This would have completely isolated me if it were not for one seemingly ordinary spring day during March of that year.

Like every afternoon, I left my middle school building at the east entrance, where my mom would usually park her car. This time, though, instead of seeing my mom, I saw a crowd of small children from the elementary school (the school ran from kindergarten to eighth grade, so we interacted often with the younger kids). I peered into the crowd and finally saw my mom - with a puppy in her arms. I was baffled. When had we ever discussed getting a dog? We must be babysitting someone else's puppy, I reasoned. I wormed my way through the swarm of children and asked my mom, "Whose dog is this?"

"She's yours!" my mom answered...

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