Teenage Angst brought to a killer level.
| Shooting through the air, the blood stained fist slammed through the bedroom wall. The punch's owner withdrew his right hand from the newest of many holes and lay back on his disheveled bed among bits of plaster and uneaten food. The hand throbbed and swelled more, yet remained unnoticed despite fresh blood slowly creeping across broken scabs. Stillness returned only to be interrupted moments later by the sound of the phone ringing and a teenager being suddenly startled. Nervously the receiver was lifted.
"He...hello," was spoken softly into the phone.
"Hello, let me talk, Peter!"
The receiver was hurriedly replaced. Peter could not bring himself to face Mary's father.
Reclining again, Peter pondered his self-imposed exile.
"How long?" he wondered. "How long since I've made my room my prison?"
He examined his cell. His walls were papered in black and white pin stripes which he had come to acknowledge as the bars of his prison. Near the unkempt bed were numerous crater marks on the wall breaking up the symmetry of the stripes. The floor, carpeted crimson red, was overlooked by a musty white ceiling, cobwebs in the corner swaying in a breeze that came from a hole in the room's only window. The hole was about the size of a baseball owing to that exact item having been thrown through it almost a week before. The ceiling seemed to dominate Peter's attention, but looking closely, anyone would notice his expression was blank and the ceiling simply aggregated in his view. The room was dim as the only light bulb was shattered and even the sun seemed reluctant to illuminate the gloomy atmosphere of the cell.
Being self-imposed, his current existence could hardly be called imprisonment, unless one considered his current state of mind and emotional unbalance as locking him away from reality. If that were the case then his prison was dank and near inescapable. Regardless, if the will came upon him, Peter could simply leave; but will was elusive and unbalance remained dominant.
The usual soft rapping on his bedroom door interrupted his thoughts.
"Peter, will you ever come out of there?" cried the somewhat fraught voice of his mother. "It wasn't your fault and you can't keep blaming yourself for something you had no control over. It was just an accident," his mother pleaded for the umpteenth time that week.
The room remained silent and Peter's mom sighed audibly at the door.
"Fine, stay where you are, but make sure you're dressed because Fred will be here soon," and then her footsteps receded.
Fred was the kind and gentle shrink his parents paid to help Peter face reality. Being parents, they obviously knew what was best and the simple fact that Peter wanted nothing to do with reality remained completely irrelevant. Fred was not a bad person and meant well, whether by duty or design, but Peter simply desired solitude and certainly did not want to face another round of twenty questions about how he felt.
"God," he thought. "What stupid questions! How would anyone feel after killing someone they loved? Why shouldn't I feel responsible and why the hell would I want to be cheered up?"
As usual, he talked himself into dreading Fred's visit before it even began. Just then, the phone rang. Peter glared at it as it rang again. Reaching for the receiver on the wall, he hesitated upon hearing a knocking at his door. At that moment he knew for certain there was absolutely no one he wanted to talk to. In a blur of movement he picked up the phone and slammed it down while smashing a water glass against his door with the other hand. A vision of Mary flashed through his mind and he sagged against his pillows, his energy temporarily spent.
The door slowly opened as Peter wiped his eyes trying to prevent the tears that were threatening to burst forth. Waving a tennis racquet in front of his face, Fred slowly peeked around the door.
"Is it safe?" he queried.
"No, it's dangerous, go away," was Peter's soft reply.
Fred placed the racquet on Peter's desk, pulled the chair out and straddled it as he turned it backward.
"How are you today, Peter?"
"Peter," he prompted?
"Fine! Lousy! How do you think I am? The same as yesterday and the same as tomorrow! Christ, does it even matter?" Peter's voice cracked even as the volume raised.
"Peter, if it didn't matter, I wouldn't be here," reasoned Fred.
Peter opened his mouth to rant another haranguing response but cut himself off.
"Stop playing doctor with me, Doctor. I don't need any help bringing my emotions out."
"I'm not playing, Peter. If you would stop being so guilt ridden over a blameless accident we could stop our daily verbal waltzes."
Having drawn something out, Fred was trying to keep Peter going, but as usual his attempts were in vain.
"All right, Doctor, you're not playing. But I am guilty, I am to blame and the easiest way to skip the dancing is to stop bothering me!" Peter was back to ranting.
"Peter, we both know I can't do that. Now why don't..."
"WHY DON'T YOU JUST GO AWAY," exploded Peter as he picked up the alarm clock from his night stand and fired it at Fred's face.
Fred calmly eluded the projectile and stood up, sadly shaking his head. Cutting his losses, he decided it was time to go. Peter, at this point, was sobbing into his pillow.
"Peter, I'll be back tomorrow. Try not to spend too much time thinking about it."
"Just go away," choked Peter, into his pillow, between sobs. "Just go away."
And the door clicked shut.
And the phone rang.
And the phone rang.
Peter ceased his sobbing and angrily lifted the receiver only to slam it back down.
"Try not to think about it," mocked Peter. "Fred must be kidding. While I'm at it I'll just stop breathing!" And that thought brought him back to Mary.
Mary. He'll never see her again. He killed her. Ten months they had dated. Ten months they had loved and cherished. They were only sixteen and had a whole lifetime together just waiting for them. All their dreams waiting to be fulfilled. Now all that remained was a nightmare. Peter thought back.
"Dad," Mary said, "this is Peter."
And so the confusion began. Mary's father had demanded she wait until the age of seventeen before dating and knew nothing of her intimate relationship with Peter. The arguments began after six months of dating when Peter said it was too serious to remain a secret, but Peter relented at the sight of Mary's obvious fear of her father. The argument started anew two months later when Mary's period was late. While they were unsure what to do they didn't want to be hasty. Peter's parents, surprisingly supportive, brought Mary to the doctor, two months later, and her pregnancy was confirmed. At this point Mary's father had to be told and Peter and Mary bravely decided to do it themselves despite Peter's mother offering to do it for them or at least go with them.
"Hello, Peter. Nice to meet you. Are you here to study with Mary?" her father inquired.
"Not exactly, sir," replied Peter as he swallowed a butterfly the size of a condor.
"Dad, we need to talk." Mary spoke softly having trouble with her voice.
Her father noticed the strange tone in her voice and motioned for both kids to have a seat.
"What's the matter, Mary? Is there some kind of trouble at school?" prompted her father with a confused look on his face. He was sure school had nothing to do with it.
"Dad, Peter is my boyfriend."
When Peter breathed again he realized he had been holding his breath, waiting for the explosion. It didn't come, yet.
"Peter, could you step outside while I speak with my daughter, please?"
"Sir, I mean no disrespect, but I promised Mary I'd stay at her side through this, and, well sir, there's more."
Mary's father nodded for Mary to continue with a look that demanded a response.
"Dad," she looked away, "I'm...I'm pregnant." She looked back at her suddenly enraged father.
"Peter, go outside now. Mary will be out in just a minute," her father commanded through gritted teeth.
Peter looked at Mary for confirmation and she nodded it was okay to wait outside. Once the door shut behind him, he heard them through the window.
"Mary, you will go outside and say goodbye to him one last time and be grateful that I'm allowing you that much. When you come back in we'll talk about your abortion."
"No." Mary spoke softly but firmly.
"Did you say no?" Her father bristled.
"Father, I will not say goodbye to Peter. I love him! And I will not get an abortion. If you can't support me in this, Peter and I will find a way to manage."
Peter, listening outside, managed a smile, despite his fear, at the brave sound of Mary's voice.
"YOU ARE MY DAUGHTER AND YOU WILL DO AS I SAY...OR YOU WILL LEAVE," bellowed her father.
Peter, as well as the rest of the neighborhood, heard that, and he waited as the ultimatum hovered explosively between father and daughter. Only Peter heard what came next.
"I hate you," sobbed Mary. "I hate you. I need your support, not your commands. I hate you!"
She ranted on as her father closed the distance between them, and, with lightning speed, struck the side of her face with his open palm. The resulting thunderous sound brought Peter back at a run and he found Mary at her father's feet staring up in disbelief. She had never been struck by him before. She jumped up, tears streaming forth, and ran out the front door screaming. Even her father was trembling as he and Peter scrambled after her. Blinded by tears, Mary ran into the street.
"MARY, LOOK OUT!"
Peter will never be sure if it was he or Mary's father that had cried out in warning. It didn't matter. With tears in her eyes, hate on her lips and the sound of screeching brakes filling her ears, Mary died. No one will ever know if she had even glimpsed the truck that ran her down, and it didn't matter.
Peter wiped the tears from his eyes and shook his head to escape the memories, but, like Lady MacBeth's bloody hands, his thoughts could not be cleansed. He thought back and remembered his anger at Peter's father for not accepting and at the hate he felt toward her dad after he drove her out of the house into the path of...
Peter bolted upright in his bed.
"Wait a minute," he screamed to himself.
He had been furious with Mary's dad after the accident. In fact, the only thing he wanted to do before the funeral was pummel the man until he joined his daughter.
"The funeral," he realized.
Peter wasn't even allowed at the funeral because Mary's father blamed him for her death. Peter had listened to him and allowed his horror and remorse to become insurmountable guilt! He had started thinking all wrong! It wasn't his fault, it was her father's!
IT WASN'T HIS FAULT!
"It's not my fault," he said aloud.
Peter's heart was racing as he absolved himself of the misplaced guilt. Wondering what Mary would have thought about how ridiculous he'd been since her death, he sobbed, one last time, long and hard. But he sobbed for Mary instead of himself.
Some minutes later he wiped the last of his tears from his eyes and looked around him. He took in the sight of the holes in the wall, the broken window and the clock across the room amid a pile of shattered glass and realized there was some fixing that needed to be done, but the important fixing had already begun. He lay back, weary and exhausted, but guiltless and stronger inside, and shut his eyes. His last thoughts were of the throbbing in his hand and the realization that his hand, too, would be given a chance to heal. He would punch no more walls.
Peter sat up groggily.
"I guess it's time to face the world," he thought as he glanced at the clock next to his bed.
He reached for the phone with his right hand and stared in confusion at unblemished knuckles as he spoke into the receiver.
"Hello," he said somewhat distractedly.
"Hi, Petey. I'm home," replied the all too familiar voice on the other end of the line.
Peter froze and broke out in a very cold sweat.
"Peter?" the voice questioned.
"Mary. Her voice," raced through Peter's head incoherently as his emotions collapsed.
Peter, screaming, flew out of his room, past his shocked parents, down a flight of stairs, through the front door and out into the street. He was still screaming when the sound of screeching brakes filled his ears. No one will ever know if he even glimpsed the truck that ran him down. And it didn't matter.
The usual soft rapping on the door interrupted her thoughts.
"Mary, will you ever come out of there," cried the somewhat fraught voice of her father. "It wasn't your fault and you can't keep blaming yourself for something you had no control over. You've got to take care of the baby. It was just an accident." Her father pleaded for the umpteenth time that week.
And the phone rang.
Word Count 2281