All of that was months ago. Following the trial, I told Mr. Robertson I wanted to appeal the case. I wasn't entirely sure what "appeal" meant, but I'd heard it on television, and I was under the impression that I could just keep appealing, and get new judges to try the case.

Mr. Robertson set me right. He told me that there was no chance for me to win on and appeal, that there was no basis for an appeal, and that he couldn't continue to take my money.

Afterward, I suffered a bout of depression. Derek went up to Colorado with Uncle Nathan and Aunt Tabitha, and I spent some difficult weeks alone with no reason to care for myself or to even get out of bed in the mornings. I lost my job at the pharmacy, and spent my days in front of the television or crying.

That's all another story, though, and quite frankly, too sad of a story for me to get into now.

I'd imagined that I'd created a rift in my family, and that everyone hated me after the lawsuit. In all actuality, there were no hard feelings, and while I wasted away, Aunt Tabitha put in a call to a friend of hers who worked at a community college just a half-hour's drive from her home.

My family was unwilling to let me throw my life away, and months after I'd thought it too late for me to enroll in college, I received a blank application for admission in the mail. I guess community colleges aren't as strict about the admissions process as other schools are.

After a couple of emotional, tearful conversations on the phone, I finally decided to fill out the application.

I remember at the beginning of the school year, when I believed I was too smart to waste my time at a community college. My attitude had completely changed by the summer, and I was thrilled to receive the acceptance letter.

I go to that community college now. It's not quite as challenging as I might like, but I've already applied to Boston University for the spring semester. For the essay, I wrote about all the trials I've had these past few months, both literal and figurative. I might have overplayed the emotion a bit in my essay, but I think my story is unique and inspiring enough that I'll do all right.

Pretty much, I'm picking up my life where I left over just over six months ago.

I don't work a job any more, but I don't really worry about money. I'm not even worried about paying for college, but Uncle Nathan and Aunt Tabitha have offered to help with the cost anyway.

Even though I live in dorms that are almost a half-hour's drive from Uncle Nathan's house, I see Derek pretty frequently. He seems happy.

I wonder what the future holds.