I’ve known something was wrong with me since the age of 17. But, I had been having suspicions since I was 9. It was always little things, simple, tiny things.
The dead bird I brought to my mother.
The puppy I’d killed.
The kid I had locked in a locker.
Maybe they weren’t so little, but to me they were and that should have been a warning as well.
That’s what I called them. That’s what my family called. It’s what I believed they were. Stupid things I did because I was so young. In hindsight, my family should have done something. Anything would’ve been better than laughing it off.
But they did. So I did. But not completely.
When I had brought the dead bird to my mother, I remember the feeling of curiosity filling my body. I wondered at my mother’s reaction. Would she like it? Hate it? Be disgusted by it? Horrified?
I remember the feelng of self-disgust at the glee that coursed my body as she opened the shoebox. The disgust grew when all I could feel was utter disappointment when she just closed the box again, handed it to me, and said “Yes, you can bury it.”
I didn’t want to bury it. I had no intention of burying it. I had not mentioned that I was going to bury it. So why tell me this? She assumed that her good child had felt compassion towards the dead bird. How stupid.
Fast forward a few years and I’m sitting in a kitchen, eating a snack. The phone’s ringing. I tense, already knowing who it was before I heard the tearful voice on the other end.
Crying, pleading, and accusations fill my mother’s ears.
She hangs up the phone after a few minutes and turns towards me.
“Honey, I need to talk to you.”
“Mum, is it about Rex?”
“So you did do it.”
“I was just playing, I swear. I didn’t mean for it to happen.”
“You killed your grandma’s puppy.”
“I didn’t mean to” I repeated.
More talking and more explaining. Finally it ended with her hugging me, her voice thick with tears, whispering that she was glad that I hadn’t lied about it. Congratulating me for not trying to hide the dead puppy.
I know now that she should have been scared at that. Guilty kids hide the bad things they’ve done. Kids with a conscience are scared to admit and reveal they did wrong because they fear the punsishment they know they deserve. Normal kids do not leave their deeds in the open. They do not flaunt their deeds and they certainly do not confess with the ease I had had.
Good kids also did not shove other kids into lockers. They don’t. I winced remembering that. That’s a memory I didn’t want to recollect. The whiny squeals and fear filled cries were not something I needed swimming in my head right now. Not when it came to the most important decision of my life.
I vividly remember the incident at 17 where everything clicked together and fell into place.
My mother was crying. It was her birthday and we had messed up. I heard her sob and I saw the tears drip from her eyes. My dad looked over, obviously concerned, but unable to do anything as he was driving. My sister looked distressed and she was already straining her seat belt to get closer.
That’s the exact moment I knew. I was staring and I felt nothing. My mother was weeping and I felt absolutely nothing. No urge to make it better, no need to apologize or even wipe her tears. I felt nothing. And worse, I realized I felt no guilt for feeling nothing. Just a small twinge of fear. A itty bit of fear mixed with acceptance.
I morphed my face into a replication of my sister’s and leaned over stroking my mother’s greying hair.
“Shhh..shhh.. don’t cry mum. I love you.”
Had I always been doing this? From the start, had I always been just a big fake.
Yes, I had been. I had been pretending to care about things my whole life. Pretending to be empathetic. Sympathetic. Amything. I had been faking emotioms because I knew not having any was not acceptable. Was not normal.
I kept stroking my mother’s hair, shushing her tears, being the child she wanted me to be and not the person I was.
That was so long ago. I doubt my mother would even recognize me now. So many years of lying and pretending, yeah.. she’d never know it was me.
But that’s why he was here. That’s why he was sitting on this ledge, staring at the starry night and city laying before him.
They were closing in on him. Soon they’d make the connections and realize the man they were chasing was him. And he didn’t want to be around when that happened. Didn’t want to see how his mother would break.
I don’t have regrets. They were monsters. They deserved everything I did to them. I feel no guilt. I feel no disgust. Granted, I was a bit messy in handing out my judgements but still, there had been no emotions involved. And when it was all over, not even a single nightmare.
He laughed. Hard.
Yup, not normal.
He did not want to see his mother’s image of him tarnished forever. He had worked so long, so hard to keep it straight and perfect. She loved him and believed he loved her. Why did that have to be destroyed?
What a waste.
He has nothing left to live for.
Musing to himself, he realized he never had.
And that’s when he did what should’ve been done to him a long time ago.
He threw himself off the ledge.