Joseph remembers a tragic event before making a decision
It is precisely 3:16 a.m. when Joseph slides the heels of his feet against the base of the chair pegs and his rear melts solemnly into the repeatedly duct-taped chair that his father left him to have. He rests his arm on the coffee table that is overrun by late-notice rectangles with red stamps on them. The light that flickers above him provide nothing, an inconsistent existence of hope. The cans of chili, without beans, rest on his maroon La-Z-Boy with a spoon sticking out of each can, in defiance to the dishwasher that never fully did anything to remedy the sauce that is continuously left on the spoons. He glances around the room and sighs a deep sigh, one that is far too rehearsed to have any significance.
"C'mon Joseph, you fucking..." He catches himself getting too emotional and too excited for his own good. He settles down and scans the room once again and to his dismay, nothing changes. No speech comes to his mind, no great proverb surfaces from his memory, no uplifting phone call grabs him; just him and the slow-spinning ceiling fan that is missing a partial blade so it never spins correctly, always a slight jerk to the motion. In the other room, hung up about the same dilemma as Joseph, his sister Mary is, unmoving and silent, save for a slight sway. Joseph is emancipated from the chair and begins moving slowly towards the corner of the room, dragging the chair across the floor that is littered with torn and mangled books. The marks still fresh from yesterday when he dragged the chair in precisely the same pattern. How many times must he drag this dreadful chair to the corner, only to bring it back to the table where it naturally rests? Joseph places the chair on the four peg indents that are permanently etched into the floor, places a foot onto the seat of the chair, and pauses. He closes his eyes, blocking out the excessive bruises on his arms and the broken mirror shards that glare too deeply into his soul, his horrid and twisted, translucent soul. A soul broken by time.
When the eyes of Joseph are opened, he is back at his childhood home, with the roar of his father and the screaming of his sister so recognizable, it creates an immense nostalgia; fear, anger, and happiness all present. He sprints forward and gazes at the sight of his younger sister crawling on the floor, frantically attempting to escape their father's grasp; one hand helping crawl away and the other hand in a struggle to pull her pants up with a frayed thread of rope to tie them.
"NO, DADDY NO, PLEASE... NO MORE!!!" His sister's voice and the image of this day, will never leave Joseph.
"SHUT UP YOU CUNT! STOP RUNNIN AWAY FROM ME!" Their father also having to battle with his belt. "YOU'RE THE REASON THAT YOUR MOTHER LEFT IN THE FIRST PLACE.........SO I'VE GOT URGES!" The smell of the whiskey on his breath so familiar. "I'VE ALREADY 'TALKED' WITH YOUR BROTHER TODAY. So just be a good little girl and let daddy have his time." The drop from yelling to a pleading tone of voice scares Joseph, rendering him inactive; unable to speak or move at this sight.
A hand of his father's finally grabs a hold of Mary's torso and forces her body towards his. One hand binding her tiny twelve-year-old hands, and the other fidgeting with her pants and underwear.
"GOTCHA!" Exclaims their father, with his tongue protruding from the left side of his mouth; his boxers around his ankles. Joseph is mortified. He is talking to her, right in front of him. He had never done that before, they were always separate when he would talk to them, but there they are, talking. The look on his sister's face drives a dagger through Joseph's heart. At this moment, all the talking and hearing his sister screaming, forces Joseph to act. Joseph runs to the kitchen and grabs a knife, this is the end. With the knife gripped firmly in both hands, Joseph makes a frenzied dash to his father with the consciousness to kill.
The flickering of the apartment light forces his eyes back to reality; back to the dingy life with no food and a body filled with sorrow and broken bones. The foster homes after that incident were not much nicer than their father, when they emancipated themselves from those homes they both agreed, at least he called it "talking" instead.
As Joseph takes another step to raise his other foot on the chair, a tear escapes from his eye. He tilts his head upwards and views the circle of dreams and nightmares. This is farther than he had ever gotten, the confused excitement washes over him. Joseph grabs the halo and wraps it around his neck, tugging slightly to confirm if it's fully fastened properly, taking one final sigh. Joseph wipes the tear away closes his eyes. The chair is emancipated from Joseph, and he begins to hang. The suffocation is invited, the slow lack of life, the drained existence being snuffed out. The smile on Joseph's face is widening. With the weight of the world on Joseph, the rope that contains him, snaps.
Joseph falls to the floor and stares at the fan and the flickering light. The tears burst through any resemblance of existence he has left. He curls up into a ball and forgets himself.
"I'm so sorry Mary......" He begins repeating these words, until his vocal chords break.