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"Boston Tea Party"
We’re sneaking toward the port, getting ready to dump hundreds of crates of tea into the harbor. I’m a little nervous; I have no idea what is going to happen. Maybe it wasn’t such a good idea to sneak along with the Sons of Liberty tonight. After all, I’m only sixteen. But all the same, I have to do something. After all my family has faced through these years of Britain’s tyranny, I can’t just pretend to be content! No, I’m angry, and I have to do something about it. I suppose that’s why, when I got wind of what the Sons of Liberty were up to, I had to join in, with or without permission.
So tonight I snuck up to the Old South Meeting House and hid outside in the shadows. After they left, I snuck in and used the last of their supplies to disguise myself, carefully masking my face with Indian-looking symbols in paint. I worked fast, and managed to catch up with them before they were halfway there. They never even noticed someone else had joined them.
Now we’re finally in view of the harbor. As I look at the ships laden with British tea, I have no doubt in my mind that I’ve made the right decision. I can feel the anger rising in my chest, and I can’t wait to get on one of those ships and show Britain what we think of their taxes.
“The ships are right there, men,” says Samuel Adams. “We’ll get ourselves onboard, and we’ll dump as many crates of tea as we can into the harbor as we discussed. Don’t forget, this is our moment to show Britain what the colonies think of their duties! No taxation without representation!”
And we’re off! We charge at the boats, preparing to climb up the side. As I run, I keep my head down to avoid people noticing my age. I feel exhilarated to finally be doing something! I’m in a whirlwind of emotions, just as I have been for the past several years. I’m angry and resentful of England and the king, so much so that I can hardly describe my rage. My emotions mix inside my head, inside my soul, pushing and pulling until I feel I might explode.
I steer myself toward the ship called The Eleanor, and climb up the side of the boat with everyone else. Seeing all of the tea that they’ll use to tax us ignites all of my anger, and I run to the nearest crate and help to hoist it up and throw it into the water. As I dump the tea overboard, I let all of my emotions out, too. Crate, after crate, after crate. How dare they tax us so heavily! How dare they demand room and board in our homes! Isn’t everything we’ve done for them enough? We’ve won land for them in the French and Indian War, we’ve grown tobacco and built up their economy, we’ve done so much! Yet how do they repay us? They tax us, they tyrannize us, they kill five of our own! How dare they? HOW DARE THEY!
I scream loudly, imitating the savage-sounding yells of the Indians. I toss heavy crate after heavy crate after heavy crate. It’s gotten to the point where I don’t know how many I’ve thrown overboard, all I know is that with every box of tea that I destroy, I feel lighter; a heavy burden is being lifted off of my soul.
“We’ve been spotted! Men, we have to go!” I’m so wrapped up in my own little world, that I barely register what has been said. I keep dumping tea, more and more and more until someone comes up and shakes me so hard that I drop the heavy crate on my foot.
“Ahh!” I scream, cursing loudly. The man, who has finally seen my face and can tell my how young I am, doesn't seem surprised at my age, or even scold me for being there. He just helps me up, and we push the crate off of my foot. I try to walk, but can’t; I think my foot might be broken.
“We’ve got to go!” the man who shook me says, helping to support me with his shoulder. “You know what’ll happen if we’re caught!”
Hurrying, we head off of the boat, barely managing to make it to safety with everyone else before the soldiers arrive at the scene.
“Thank you,” I say. I know that if I’d have stayed, I would be in a jail cell awaiting something far worse than a few broken bones.
“Of course. I’m sure you’d have done the same for me.” We crouch against the walls of the alley in silence, trying to regain our breath and steady our pounding hearts. Finally, after several minutes, I speak again.
“It felt so good to get back at them for everything they’ve done, “ I say. “Those few moments of revenge were so much more to me than just… well, revenge.”
The man smiles at me. “It was always more than just revenge. We stand up for what’s right, son, no matter what the cost. It’s our hope that someday, these acts of rebellion will help to change the world we live in for the better. Maybe one day the destruction of this tea will have a witty name and be famous for what it did to improve life here in the colonies.”
I pause for a moment, stopping to think. To me, that moment had just been vengance, but my actions could change things; make them better. Why had I wasted so much time on anger, and done nothing productive with it for so long? Today I might have done something good, but not for the right reasons.
Now I know that there is more than one reason that the Sons of Liberty mean so much to me: they want more than revenge. They want a better world, with liberty, justice, and equality, and they are willing to do whatever it takes to make that happen. Sitting here in this dark, shadow-filled alley, I know that that’s what I have to do, too.
“Sir,” I say to the man. “Can I come back? To the Sons of Liberty, I mean. Even though I’m not an adult?”
“Well,” he replies, looking off into the distance. “Strictly speaking, you can’t join until you're older.” He pauses and turns to me, smiling. “But you’re certainly welcome to sneak along like tonight whenever you feel like it.
“Come on now, boy. We’ve got to get you home.”
He helps to lift me up, and he supports me slowly as we make our way toward my home. We walk in silence and stay to the shadows as much as possible to avoid notice. Everything is silent except for the whispered directions I give him to my house. Finally, we reach my house, and he helps me over to the side of the house by my bedroom window; I’d snuck out of the house and couldn’t exactly walk in the front door. As I try to ignore the searing pain in my foot, he gives me a boost and helps hoist me into my room and onto my bed. “Thanks again, sir,” I say. It feels wrong to say something so little and insignificant for everything he’s done for me, but I don’t know how else to express my gratitude to someone I hardly know.
“Don’t mention it.” He smiles. “Literally, or we’ll probably both be executed.”
I smile, fighting back the urge to laugh, lest I wake my parents or younger sister in the other room. Slowly, the man walks away from the window, as I lay down and relax in my bed, a thought pops into my head.
“Sir,” I call from the window. He pauses and turns, looking back at me. “You said they might have a witty name for what we did tonight in the future.”
“Well, I think they’ll call it the ‘Boston Tea Party.’”
The man smiles and chuckles before turning his back to me and walking off again, disappearing into the pitch-black night.