"Take this bucket. Fill it from the ditch to water the geraniums."
He handed me the bucket and walked across the street. I climbed down the steep ridge covered in weeds and dropped the metal bucket into the shallow muddy water. I couldn't help but feel like a pawn of myself in a microscopic world. Parents and teachers and elders gave me the mind I now contained, a solid bucket with values and skills that I could use to collect myself in the coming years. As I dipped that bucket into the shallow dirty water, I imagined the variety of possible fillers. Clean water, soil to grow a plant, blueberries, gold nuggets...But instead I filled it with dirty water from a shallow ditch. I was living a muddled existence, sifting through life and scraping the bottom of my narrow mind. Perverse thoughts and literal dirt encrusted my head. I clambered back out of the ditch and poured the water over the geraniums. Filthy water hydrating their beautiful heads. Was this the life I was providing for my future family? I wanted to be better, I really did, but there too many weeds tickling my ankles and retarding my progress. A rash had formed around my feet and itched my ankles. It was poison ivy. I had been brushing into the wrong crowd in the ditch, infecting my body. It created an itch, a strong itch that felt heavenly to relieve. Dirt-encrusted fingernails dug into my skin, ripping off the sores and letting blood trickle to the rim of my boots. I descended back into the weedy ditch, allowing the weeds to deposit their spores into my exposed pores. The itch would increase as I climbed back out. Dirty water missed the plants as I dropped the bucket. My fingers went to my ankles and crawled up my legs, scratching feverishly. Each time I scratched, the itch became stronger. Soon I could feel the sores creeping up my legs. It surpassed my knees and midsection, making the irritation all the more irresistible. I tried to fight it. I dove back in the ditch to fish for more water but the weeds encompassed me. My hands surrendered to the itch and I scratched. And scratched. And scratched. The whole time I watched the geraniums wilt from dehydration. The lack of water my clear head should have gathered caused them to diminish. The potential aspirations and dreams began to dry, their leaves turning brown and crumbling under the sun. I stared from the ditch, my arms enslaved by the itch, my mind no longer able to suppress the scratching. My face became riddled in sores and my fingernails peeled back the skin. More infections seized me and my bucket sank in the mud. Poison ivy encompassed me.