Levi Johnston's (suddenly) public life
They're out there.
In here, I'm safe. But beyond these doors, they're waiting patiently for me to show my guilty face. Paparazzi with their flashing cameras, angry conservatives who think I doomed their party, nosy spectators who don't have enough problems in their own lives; all waiting to catch a glimpse of me, Levi Johnston, the unfortunate boy who brought scandal to the 2008 Republican Presidential Race. It wasn't supposed to be this way. It wasn't supposed to be this way at all.
How was I to know that Bristol's mother was on the brink of being on the world stage when Bristol and I fell in love? Mrs. Palin was only the Governor of Alaska. Her fame was confined to this desolate, God-forsaken rock and its thousand or so inhabitants.
Of the few people in the Lower 48 who even knew that Alaska is a state, I doubt that very many of them cared what its governor's daughter was getting into.
But then John McCain pulled a wild one and appointed her mom -- of all the hundreds of other governors, congressmen, business leaders and other people of power he could have chosen, as his running mate. And that's when I started to sweat.
But when the spit hit the fan and I found myself flung into midst of a historic presidential campaign, things got so crazy that I sometimes wondered if it was all just some horrible nightmare. In fact, I still do.
I started making television appearances, giving interviews, and even appeared onstage with the rest of the Palin family during the Republican National Convention.
While we were sitting there with cameras from all the nation's major news channels focused on us, tracking our every fidget, I was wishing I was at home with my buddies, playing my newest PS3 game and jamming out to the latest Modest Mouse CD.
About that time I began to wonder if my relationship with Bristol would last. I heard her mother say over and over again on The Today Show that we planned to get married, but I had my doubts. Things had really changed between us.
We used to love to go to movies together, play video games, eat pizza. All of a sudden she was so fascinated with cribs and baby swings, strollers and burp rags. Of course I want the best for my kid, but does it really matter if it's lilac blue or sage green?
When we broke up I think her family was relieved. By then they knew me well enough to know that I'm still a kid, and having Bristol and me married would just add to the number of kids they already have. Besides, there had always been an underlying tension between all of us.
And now Mrs. Palin has announced on national television, Oprah no less, that I am welcome at her home for Thanksgiving! What is her motivation there? Is she trying to get us back together? Did it just pop out of her mouth when Oprah asked a difficult question, as she loves to do?
Or maybe -- this is what I think -- Mrs. Palin just wants to rub it in one more time, have one last glorious tormenting of my mind.
I'll show up at her door, and Mrs. Palin will answer. "Come on in," she'll say, and I'll soon find myself at the dinner table, one of the family.
Mr. and Mrs. Palin will have collaborated on a grand feast, and it will all be spread elegantly across the table; the turkey, the stuffing, the spuds, the salmon caught by Mr. Palin himself. Mrs. Palin will lead me to my seat, strategically arranged, with Bristol sitting directly to my left side, Mr. Palin to my right, and Mrs. Palin directly across the table from me, smiling as fiercely as ever and staring straight ahead -- right into my eyes.
Mr. Palin will pour the wine, but hesitate when he comes to Bristol and me when he realizes that we aren't old enough to consume. Conversation will be limited, and an uncomfortable silence will fall over the room. All of the children will be at the other end of the table, where Bristol and I sat together last year.
My son, that little bundle of joy who brings so much happiness to his mother and me, will be in the other room, trying to take his nap, and every time he punctuates the silence with his crying, Mrs. Palin's grin will grow just a little wider, a little friendlier. Unable to cope with the tension any longer, I'll look away from the table and stare out the dining-room window at Russia.
Kind Doctor, the world is too much for me to handle anymore. My life will never be the same again. What should I do?
It seems that my choices are to either go back to my life of hanging at the local pizza joint with my buddies, or riding the wave and doing the talk show circuit, and maybe even write a book. Do you have Larry King's number?
Nathan Kitzmann is a junior at Detroit Lakes High School.