As the days and weeks went by, the
talent contest drew nearer. Ryan still wasn't speaking to
me, and I continued to avoid Toby as much as possible, although he
managed to corner me in the hallway from time to time to ask me
to come over and see him. I still refused. I just continued going on as
I had been since the "incident." I'd tried making friends before, and
it just got screwed up.
I figured that I was better off by myself
anyway. After all, I still had my music and I was a good student.
But I should have figured that I couldn't fool myself for too long. I
was just existing, not really living.
The torture that I had to endure constantly wasn't helping either.
Since I wasn't hanging around Ryan and his friends anymore, it became
"open season" on me for Trent Lomax. Sure, it wasn't nearly as awful as
the abuse I got at home. I was never physically hurt too badly at
school, other than getting pushed and shoved around, knocked down to
the floor, and smacked around a little. It was the humiliation of it
always happening in front of a large number of people that made it
I never saw Ryan or his friends around when it
happened, though, which made me wonder if Trent was still worried about
retribution. It also made me wonder whether Ryan or his friends would
even do anything about it if they saw me getting bullied, now that Ryan
wasn't speaking to me. The thought of seeing him standing
there one day, watching me get beaten, and doing nothing, made me sick
to my stomach. That in itself would have probably taken away my will to
Trent and his friends picked on me endlessly for being a poor kid,
calling me things
like "trailer trash," and making fun of my old, tattered clothes.
Perhaps that was what hurt the most, because it was something that I
didn't have any control over.
Almost every time I had a run in with
Trent and his buddies, I ended up having an anxiety attack.
Fortunately, I always kept the medication Maggie gave me in my book
bag, because I was worried that if I left it at home it would
eventually get pilfered by my druggie mother. Trent and his pals didn't
seem to know about that part of my life, or it surely would have become
a part of their almost daily harassment of me as well.
One day, however, in a twist of poetic justice, I came to school with a
black eye that I had received the night before after being clubbed in
the face by my mother with her "Vibrating Chrome Alloy G-Spot Dildo."
The next day, I noticed that Trent Lomax came into school with two
black eyes. The thought crossed my mind that one of Ryan's
friends, perhaps Delcondris, the big black football player, had assumed
that my black eye was the result of Trent's bullying and decided to get
back at him. Of course, I couldn't be sure, but it made me feel kind of
good to think about it, and regardless of how it happened, I was glad
to see that somehow karma did seem to work. Maybe there was something
to that whole Buddhism thing that the teacher was talking about in our
World Religions class.
Anyway, I really hated people like Trent Lomax. He had everything
handed to him
on a silver platter. He never had to worry about things like rent,
paying bills, buying groceries, trying to make a budget each month, all
while trying to survive the wrath of my mother and her boyfriends.
These were things that I had been doing for years now because she
couldn't do them herself. The only thing she could do herself was cash
her damn welfare check, and then I had to be sneaky enough to grab some
of the money before she could waste it all on booze and drugs, and then
added with the hundred dollars I made each week, trying to make sure
little "family" survived. I had to pay the rent on the trailer, do the
shopping, go down to the post office to get money orders to pay the
bills, and everything else. I don't even know if she realized I did all
of this stuff, because she was cracked out most of the time. That was a
lot of responsibility for a fifteen-year-old kid to handle. It
certainly wasn't fair, but it taught me how to grow up really fast.
Over the years, there had been chances to get out of there. Doctors had
asked me whether or not I was abused when I'd wind up in the emergency
room after a particularly bad beating, but I'd always lie about it.
Some of them didn't believe me, so they would call in Social Services
on their own. The few times they showed up at our trailer, they could
obviously tell that my mother didn't give a rat's ass about me. They
pressed and prodded me to admit that she hit me or that she used drugs,
but I denied it vociferously.
I learned quickly that they could only remove me from my mother's home
if I was abused or if she was engaging in illegal behavior. Her just
a total bitch and not caring about her own son wasn't grounds for them
to take me away. It was bad enough to be a "poor kid;" I didn't want to
end up being a "ward of the state." At least I could say that I had a family, even
though it wasn't much of one. So, that was my screwed up life, but in
some ways, I guess I had become accustomed to it. It was just the way
things were, and I had come to a certain degree of acceptance.
The hard part came when I met Ryan, and he showed me what happiness
was, something I hadn't experienced since my grandmother died. It may
have been just one week, but it changed my life considerably.
Before, I had just accepted the way things were at home. I'd pretty
much forgotten what "happiness" meant. I accepted the status quo that
was my pitiful existence. But after having just a small taste of
happiness, I couldn't delude myself into being content with the way
things were anymore. At the same time, though, I wasn't about to go
ratting out my mother, because God only knows where I would end up.
So, during the time of my separation from Ryan, my loneliness and
depression over being denied everything that it seemed everyone else my
age had grew worse and worse. After I'd met him, I hadn't minded the
beatings so much, because for that brief period of time, I knew that he
could take away that pain temporarily. I hadn't felt "lonely" before,
because I'd never known anything besides loneliness. But now, an
overwhelming sense of loneliness consumed my heart and mind,
kind of like in the Fleetwood Mac song "Dreams." Thinking about it, I
could imagine the impassioned, raspy voice of Stevie Nicks singing in
my head ...
carefully to the sound
That was basically what my life felt
like after losing Ryan. My greatest fear wasn't of the next beating I
might get from my
mother, "The Lumberjack," or Trent Lomax. My greatest fear was that the
loneliness I felt in my heart would never go away. And the worst part
about it was that it was all my fault. I deserved what I got because I
screwed it up.
Like a heartbeat
drives you mad
In the stillness
of remembering what you had
And what you lost
And what you had
And what you lost