I’m going through a phase.

I’m 15. So, being in a phase is normal.

This phase is where I consume spicy foods and sauces to get attention.

I challenge my friend to a spicy challenge.

It’s going down at youth group later tonight.

I’m at the grocery store buying dried habaneros.

A kid I know from Algebra who works in the produce section is advising me against my purchase. He tells me a story about a guy from the bakery who cried for half an hour after eating these peppers.

$2.71 later I’m all set with my peppers.

My friend is bringing the sauce.

For the challenge, we have to eat a spoonful of the sauce and one dried pepper.
Whoever acts like it hurts less wins.

All the youth group kids watch us, shaking their heads.

The sauce is down and I’ve chomped up the pepper before the heat registers.

My friend’s face holds no expression.

I swallow. And cough. I feel a tear form. I touch my tongue to the roof of my mouth and back down. The heat is only increasing. I’m in a lot of pain.

I crack. I’m yelling. Everybody is laughing at me.

My friend says that the pepper tasted great.

He’s unfazed.

The youth pastor hands me a some cold milk and a thick piece of wheat bread.

It only helps a little.

Maybe I should quit this phase. I’m not sure the pain is worth the attention.

The next day at school I have cramps. I’m in the bathroom half the day.

Yup, the pain is definitely not worth it.