Ben's life looks gloomy, but that might change soon...
|It's around three a.m. and I'm visiting my mother's grave. It may see, unusual to most people, but to me the late hours are the only safe time for me to escape my house.
My mom was eight months pregnant when her life was taken from her. She slipped going down the stairs and broke her neck, unfortunately she was lying there for hours before I came home from school and found her. The paramedics told me it was too late for the baby to be saved. My mom wanted the gender of the baby to be a surprise so I never got to know which one I would have had. I couldn't wait to welcome a brother or sister into this world.
That was then.
Living doesn't feel like a great thing these days.
As I sit bruised with most likely a broken arm, I wonder what it would have been like if my mother had lived longer, would the man she married still be the monster I feared today.
"I miss you, mom." I whisper to her because talking any louder hurts my face and arm.
It starts to rain on top of everything. "Oh, that's just perfect!" I curse the sky. Which causes the bones in my arm to cry out in pain and makes my eyes water.
"You just had to pick a doctor, didn't you?" I ask knowing I'll never get an answer. She never wanted to struggle with bills or anything else that required money so she cozied up to a guy she knew could take care of us.
The mornings before school I would be tended to, made to look like I visited the emergency room. If I ever got the thought to tell someone the truth he'd remind me he could take my life without anyone knowing he had anything to do with it. He knows how to keep me in line.
I hate my life. I hate that god took my mother away from me.
A twig snaps and startles me enough to look in that direction. There's a girl standing there. My eyes meet hers and she disappears. Did I just see a freaking ghost?
All the nights I've come here, I've never seen one before. She must have been about sixteen, the same age as me.
She was beautiful, very petite, maybe not even five feet tall.
Her eyes though are what will be burned into my memory for days. They were big blue eyes that contrasted her raven hair. Eyes that held so much joy, that was the type of person anyone would want to know. Just being near her you could soak up all her happiness as if it was your own. If only for a little while, to pretend everything was okay.
I needed to see her again, was all I thought about on the walk home from the cemetery. Unfortunately home isn't too far.
All the lights are out as I slowly creep into the backyard. Good the monster hasn't realized I left. Climbing the trellis near my bedroom window proves tedious with one arm. I jump the small gap to the roof when the uneasiness sets in, in my stomach, returning to this place always gives me. I know what waits for me inside yet I come back because I have no where else to go. I have no friends since I no longer felt like putting on a fake smile.
I'm drenched from the random down pour and dripping water onto the floor of my room as I slide the window back closed.
The room looks darker than usual tonight. I'm about to flick on my table lamp when the darkness in the corner catches my eye, it's definitely bigger than it should be. I hurry to turn on my light...
Once it's on I wish I left it off.
Standing there is my step-father with a scowl on his face and an empty bottle of vodka in his hand. He takes a step forward and throws the bottle at me.
"I came up here to put a cast on your arm, so I didn't have to waste my time in the morning and do you know what I found, you ungrateful bastard? You gone. An empty room and I thought thank god, he ran away. Finally I don't have to waste my money feeding and clothing him anymore, but then... you come back. I knew you would though, no where to go huh? Because your a fucking loser. Ben, the pathetic loser. You will pay for sneaking out, believe that you god damn bastard!"
He snatches up my broken arm and slowly bends back my pinky finger, it breaks with a crack and I scream. Then he takes my ring finger and does the same. He continues on, the rest of my fingers are all broken. I'm holding my hand to my chest, crying, fighting back more screams, fearing he might punish me for being too loud; It's happened.
"That's for getting my floor wet. I'll be back up in an hour to cast your arm and you better not be crying like a woman when I do." He says as he slams my door. I hear a chain fall into place to lock me in, that wasn't there before I sneaked out.
I hurry into my bathroom and take out the hidden pain medication that I stole from the school nurse. It would be so easy to take the whole bottle and wait for death to embrace me.
Tonight is not the night though.
The girls eyes flash in my mind when I close mine. Not tonight.
I gulp down three pills and return to my room. I clean up the rain water and broken vodka bottle pieces.
Before I know it the monster is back with everything needed to right his wrong. Thankfully he doesn't speak, only does his work and leaves.
I look at my alarm clock. It's already five in the morning. I cocoon myself in my blankets and quickly fall to sleep.
My alarm wake me for another day of high school. I dress as quick as having a cast on your arm will allow and grab a pop-tart to eat on the go. Anything to get out of this house as soon as possible.
I get through almost all my classes in a zombie-like state. The eighth period bell rings and I take my seat as far from the door as I can get. I like being last to leave.
I doodle on the sidelines of my notebook to pass time until the teacher begins class.
"Alright everyone. We have a new student today." All eyes dart to the front of the room. I'm almost expecting to see the girl from the cemetery, but it's not her. This girl has crazy curly red hair and green eyes. You expect her to have a million freckles, but the only ones I can see are lightly sprinkled across her nose.
"What's your name Hun?" Mr. Jones asks her and motions for her to tell the class.
"I'm Jessica McDonough." She tells us with the confidence of the first lady.
"Why don't you take the desk next to Ben. He'll keep you out of trouble." The teacher says. Sure I will, like she'd waste her time getting to know me anyway. Jessica will join all the clubs and social activities she can, while I try my hardest to avoid all social interactions. We couldn't be more different.
As Jessica glides into her seat gracefully, she gives me a "Hey" and a small hand wave. All she gets in return is a slight head nod to acknowledge her.
School is over before I know it and it's time to make the long walk home. I could easily take the bus. I prefer the walk. The isolation makes me feel safe.
A block away from school I feel like I'm being watched. I glance behind me and sure enough there's Jessica McDonough strolling as if she doesn't have a care in the world. This angers me. I'm judging her and I don't even know her. What is wrong with me? I used to be friendly.
She must have noticed it was me ahead of her because she jogged up beside me.
"Hey, It's Ben right?" She asks like eighth period didn't just end ten minutes ago.
"Yeah." I tell her. Why can't she walk on the other side of the street.
"So where do you live Ben? We just moved into a large Victorian on Peach Street." I mentally roll my eyes at the heavens. Great she lives on the same street as me. Which means she'll be pestering me all the way home. Why do the gods hate me so much?
"Peach street is an hour walk from the high school. Why aren't you taking the bus?" I ask out of genuine curiosity.
"Walking is healthy." She responds.
Okay, so Jessica is a health nut. Whatever.
That ends our conversation or if you even could call it that. I don't know why, but she continues walking beside me in silence.
We reach our street when she starts to speak again.
"You didn't tell me where you live." She says it like I'm stalking her or something.
"Peach street is where I live, right over there." I point to the most modern house on the block.
"Oh, thank god. I thought you might be some creeper who wanted to peek in my windows." She smiles the most perfect smile, all straight and white as you can get teeth.
"You're exactly across the street from me." She points to her Victorian house as she called it earlier. Huh, so that's that a Victorian looks like. I never knew that.
"Looks like we'll be seeing more of each other besides eighth period."
I wouldn't mind that crosses my mind, but we're too close to everything that's wrong with my life. I stare at the house that's my own personal hell.
"I guess." Is all I say to her with what I hope is a I could care less shrug of my shoulders.
I jog away from her before she can say anything else.