He stood outside the house he used to live in all those years ago. It’d been fifteen years since he’d been here and it wasn’t nearly long enough. The lights were off and the space was vacant; it had been empty for years it seemed. The old white paint was peeling off the building, the bricks were falling off the chimney, and the windows had been shattered. It was a perfectly horrible reminder of what his life once had once been. That house should have been his home, but instead it was a personal torture chamber that had once been a place he tried to stay away from.
There were days he’d get into trouble at school on purpose so he wouldn’t have to go back to the place he lived; Detention was a better alternative. He refused to call it his home – a home is where people who loved you lived. Nobody loved him there; nobody even noticed if he even came home. Even at the age of fifteen he had a clear understanding of what his life was like and it wasn’t something he would ever enjoy. The constant fear of wondering if they would beat him tonight. Or the empty pangs in his stomach when there was no food in the fridge – the grocery money spent on booze and cocaine instead. He lived for the days where he would no longer be confined. He lived for the moments where he could speak freely without getting slapped across the face.
Even though the past was in the past the memories still haunted him and unanswered questions plagued his mind. What made him deserve this? Why had God decided he would endure all this pain instead of experiencing the joys of life? Why should an innocent child have had to deal with a family that wasn’t really a family? A home devoid of love and basic necessities? Why hadn’t someone intervened?
“Go back to your fucking room you stupid twat!” She screamed in my face. “You have no right getting up in my business, ya hear?”
“Ma come on, you don’t really expect him to stick around do you? He’s just like all the other assholes you’ve been with. They use you, abuse you, and then lose you.”
Crack. That was the sound of her fist meeting my cheekbone. Before I knew it she had me pinned to the ground while throwing punches to my face, one after the other. Not long after he joined in. Kicking my legs and stomach as if it were the normal thing to do. As if he had a right to join in.
“You fuckin’ son-of-a-bitch. How dare you say that to me? What makes you think that I give a shit? What makes you think you have any say in this world? You are the lowest of the low on the totem pole!” She spit in my face. The voice behind the rotting teeth and hazy eyes was beyond anger. It was something I had never heard in all of my 15 years on this earth. My so-called “mother” was on a whole other level of anger.
That just made ME angry. With a burst of adrenaline I fought back. I tripped the asshole so he was flat on his ass and then flipped her onto her back – knocking the wind out of her. The brief moment of dazed druggies had me pouncing towards the closet. I scrambled with the boxes on the top shelf, letting them fall in the process. I had to find it. It had to be here. The little black box with the key hanging in it precariously was near the back, almost hidden from sight. Opening it I pulled out a sleek handgun that had a full six rounds encased inside the devilish machine. I turned around and pointed it at my tormentors. Enough was enough.
“Johnny…Honeeey….” My mother’s voice went from enraged to sickly sweet. “You don’t want to do that to your mother now would you? I kept a roof over your head and gave you food, and this is how you pay me…you little PRICK!”
I stood there unresponsive. She didn’t deserve any more words from me. Her and I were done. The relationship we didn’t have is now going to be severed. I’ll find somewhere else to live, somewhere far away from here. Nowheresville USA. I just stared at her, waiting. She used her words often, but it was her actions that I had to be wary of.
Her and her boyfriend gave each other a quick side glance before running at me at full speed. The room was only 12 by 13 feet wide so the only logical thing I could do was pull the trigger.
That’s all it took. Two shots. Two shots for my whole entire world to change.
They found him hours later huddled in his closet. He had dropped the gun not knowing the severity of the situation and then he ran. Johnny hid because that’s what he had done his entire life. He had finally stood up for himself and the end resulted in murder. Johnny killed not one but two people that day. The courts claimed self defense though as the wounds on his own body were apparent. After a dozen tests, xrays and MRI’s, they found years of healed wounds underneath the skin. It was then and there they decided it was time Johnny got some serious help. And help is what he got.
“Are you okay sweetie?” Johnny’s wife stood by his side. This was the final step towards healing. It took fifteen long years to do this, but he was finally back where it had all changed. It was here he made the decision to never be like his mother, or this dysfunctional household.
Johnny looked at her and smiled. There once was a time when he didn’t even know what a smile was. “Yeah, babe. I’m good.”
They stood there and looked at the old house in silence for a little while longer.
She goes in close and wrapped her arm around his waist. She puts her head on his shoulder and whispers in his ear, “let’s go home.”