Dear The Hated (It Starts Like This),
I am writing this letter in order to get some feelings off my chest. I hate you. There, I said it. Of course, I’m sure you’ve always known I hated you ever since that day and I’m sure that you might have noticed that prior to that day there had been a steadily increasing dislike in my feelings toward you. I didn’t really keep it a secret and I’m sure it was obvious from my face.
Perhaps, I might have liked you or at least tolerated you had things not gone the way they did, but I guess that’s pretty pointless now.
This letter is pointless as well (for you at least, since you’ll likely never read it), but for me it’s almost liberating. I’ve kept this pretty bottled up inside and it’s about time that I let it out. It’s supposed to be healthy right? Not keeping everything in, I mean.
So yeah. I hate you. I hate you so much that I’ve designated you as my pit person.
A girl in my class told me what that was a long time ago. And I can assure you that you are it, though if the situation ever does call for someone to be thrown into a pit, I really hope that for both our sakes, I do the right thing. I’m not a bad person, in fact, I’m pretty set on trying to be the best person I can be. I don’t like to see people hurt, but there’s just something about you that a part of me wishes I’d do something really mean and bad to you.
Like slash your tires for instance.
Or smashing your face into a brick wall.
Or crossing my fingers, wishing, whenever I think of your reckless driving. (By the way, that’s really dangerous you know. Of course, you never listened to me about it before so why bother changing that now?)
Or for instance, spreading all those ‘secrets’ you told me about.
Unfortunately, I can’t seem to do it.
Believe me, I’ve tried. I’ve tried VERY HARD to get my mouth talking, blabbing everything you ever said. I mean, after all, you have my share of secrets as much as I have yours and I’m pretty sure you haven’t wasted any time in spreading those. Fortunately, our senior class actually liked me so those haven’t come back to bite me in the ass at all.
But, like I said, I’ve really tried. And I almost have on numerous occasions under encouragement by several people but every time, I end up with a lame “I can’t. There’s a line, guys.” And you know what?
There really is a line. A small and thin line, but it’s there and while I can pretend to ignore it, I still know it’s there.
I don’t want to cross that line. Because if I do, then I’d be you. And I never ever want to be you.
And now thinking over that, I realize something really important.
More than hating you, I pity you.
To be so disliked by so many people (And trust me, there’s a lot of them, sadly.), that has to be depressing. More so with the knowledge that that’s never going to really change. Perhaps if you treated others better, you’d get treated better as well.
I get that you are the way you are because of all the shit that’s happened to you. Shit happens and I’m so sorry that it does, but trying to get other people to wallow in the same shit you have, that’s not right. At all.
I pity you a lot.
You know, before I invited you to hang out with me and my friend, I knew a lot about you. And of those things I knew, one thing should have prevented me from ever trying to be close to you. See, I knew about you and the person I had dated previously. Yeah I knew. But did I care? No, not really. I overlooked that and even to this day, I don’t hold any harsh feelings towards you over that. I think it was dumb, stupid, and a reflection of bad character, but I don’t hate you for that like most would.
See, I tried to be nice to you because I knew that people can be so cruel and sometimes people just need a chance to show that they can be good. However, you took that chance and stomped all over it.
I invited you in. I let my family invite you in. We cared, you know. When very little people gave a shit, we did.
But you had to screw it up. And I very much don’t give second chances when the screw up is that big.
Maybe, if it hadn’t involved family, then maybe I would forgive you. But it did. And for me, family aways comes first. Before anything.
Do you understand?
I’ve always felt like you didn’t since you never even attempted to apologize for what you did (not that I would’ve accepted it). I’m not that good at plainly explaining though, so you’ll have to pardon the way in which I do so. See, a long while before, my group was preparing a packet of our written works to send in to a competition. And at the time, I was still extremely overwhelmed by what had happened between us that almost instantly, I was inspired to tell our story. All three of us, I mean.
I stored that piece away, keeping it hidden from everyone save for a select few. Except now, I want to share it. Maybe one day, if you ever read this, you’ll finally get why I despise you so much and maybe you’ll realize the full extent of what you did. But, maybe you won’t. And that’s fine with me.
Of course, there’s no way I managed to fully implement our characters, motivations, and thoughts since I could only write from my point of view, but I think I did fairly well in trying to keep it as most un-biased as someone in my position could. Did it really win anything? Not really. I never expected it to. It was written in only a few hours and was far too emotionally driven that even a damn good polishing couldn’t have saved the piece from the disaster that it was. However, it accomplished what I set out to do.
More than anything, this story reflects the fear you caused within me. It is fiction, yes. The whole story is fiction, but it mimics our situation so well and displays clearly the fear you sprung into my heart.
That’s why I hate you. Because you have made this ending very possible.
I will stop you though. The difference between my story and I is that I can change the ending.
I still have time.
It Starts Like This
It starts like this.
A twirl, and the beginnings of a spiral.
“Cover for me okay?” Quick flitting words and then empty air. Gone and out the doors, bouncing to a familiar beat up blue car, not a care for the emotional battle left behind.
Cover for me, okay?
There’s a lurch – always a lurch, never a twist – in his gut and what’s right and what’s wrong is called into question.
Older by fifteen minutes, the weight of every decision presses on his shoulders and every consequence belongs to him. At first, he believed it wasn’t fair, but now he mostly just agrees. He’s the mature one. The thinker, his mother says. The one with his head screwed on right his father repeats. He knew better or at least he was expected to.
Cover for me, okay?
When it came down to it, there was something much stronger than obediance or disobediance or even regular sibling bond. Most didn’t seem to understand what it meant to have a twin, didn’t realize that despite want or denial, it was two halves in two whole bodies. There was nothing like a twin bond, nothing like the loyalties a pair held – greater than Nathan Hale’s. Willing or not, twins held missing pieces to each other. Though, he often caught himself wondering, how big the piece he holds really is, for it seemed to be shrinking with every lie.
Cover for me, okay?
He’s gotten off the bus, almost done with his trudge home, when his phone rings. Mom.
He fumbles and braces himself, pressing the rectangle to his ear. “Hey, mom.”
“Are you home yet?”
He sees the faded brick lying ahead amd cuts through a few lawns. “Yeah, pretty much.”
“Good, do your homework quick, I’ll be there in time for soccer, all right?”
“And tell Aaron to hurry too. He’s going with us.”
Cover for me, okay?
“How long do we have?” He unclips his keys from his belt loop and lets himself in. Pauses once inside, hesitating before giving his excuse. “I’m wondering if I should make anything.”
“I’ll be there in an hour. We can eat after-” He hears shouting in the background – she’s needed. “I have to get back to work, okay honey? See you soon.” He hangs up the phone before he can even say bye, but he’s fine. He’s already tapping on another contact.
It rings three times and he’s ready to call it quits and send a text, when finally the call connects and he hears breathless laughter. “Hello? Adam?” The tone instantly takes on an annoyed twinge. “What do you want now?”
“Mom’s coming in an hour, you need to be here by then.”
“Is that all?”
“Yea-” And Aaron’s gone, having recieved the warning and immersing himself into his fun with the limited time he had.
He sighs, his conscience made to settle with the decision made. Against the rules, guilt deep knowing how hard his parents worked, anger for never getting to have fun himself, for never daring to, and he sighs and sighs, exasperation leaking with every gust of air.
Screw it, his mind starts, suddenly. Screw it all. It was harmless. Didn’t hurt anyone, right? It was Aaron’s life, not his. All he needed was to keep repeating that to himself and he’d be fine. After all, repetition made it true.
He slings his bag off his shoulder and settles into his chair, already reaching into the thing for his homework. Grabs a pencil off his desk, quick glance around the red of his room – happy with the color, yet none too cheery with the memory of being forced to move out of his old one – and immerses himself into linear equations.
It’s settled. Good, his mind was settled for now. Aaron’s life choices would not affect his.
Adorable, she thinks, perfectly adorable. She clutches the baby closer to her breast and brushes a finger across its lips. Smooth, plump, starting to scrunch up. Her baby boy.
“Adam,” says Henry. “His name is Adam.”
She glances up, smiling broadly, and soaks in her husband’s pride. He’s holding their oldest, finger clutched tightly in tiny fist, and wonder in his eyes. Gaze on her, but focus on him. “His name is Adam,” he repeats and shakes the tiny fist at her. “It’s a strong name, don’t you think?”
“Yes,” she agrees. “And this is Aaron, after my dad.”
He nods, knowing how much it meant to her. How deeply her father’s sudden death had hit her. How she cried, night after night, for the man who had raised her. A single father who had desperately tried to teach her right, walked her down the aisle, and wiped every tear after every fall.
He wonders briefly why it was the youngest that was gifted the sacred name and not the baby he was holding, but dimisses it to her holding Aaron first and not Adam.
“Don’t worry,” he murmurs to the bright eyes surveying him. “You matter too.”
And he does matter, Adam knows, but he’s not his mother’s favorite.
But he understands why things were like that.
Aaron drew people in, with an easy, perhaps a little too naive, personality. All grins, energy, and friendliness that Adam knew he couldn’t be – shouldn’t be, if they both were going to make it in the big, bad world. His brother was going to be a superstar. And Adam would be right behind him.
He was only seven.
“How do you do it?” He asked once, after Aaron had handed his box of crayons to the new girl, smiling and making friends instantly. “How, Ronnie?”
“Do what?” was the innocent and wide eyed reply. “What are you talkin’ ’bout?”
Earnest and so blue, vulnerability deep in his little brother’s eyes, and he couldn’t do it. Couldn’t explain to him what he felt and what he wondered. It was like the world was a marshmellow for Aaron. Soft and fluffy and chewy. Nothing could go wrong, nothing would dare go wrong, and he just couldn’t wreck that for him – ask him how he kept believing in that marshmellow dream.
“Nevermind,” he muttered, returning back to his classwork, brown crayon scratching paper.
It’s silent between them for a few minutes before Aaron’s poking his shoulder. “Can I use your pink crayon?”
They’re coloring a forest, but he hands over the vibrant color anyways. He takes a quick peek at Aaron’s paper and isn’t shocked to see the neon bushes, trees, and ground. It’s so bright and blinding. He uncrosses his eyes. That’s Aaron, always loud and full of life.
Quietly he swears, he’ll never let them destroy that – knows how cruel people can be, sees it everyday around them – Aaron won’t lose who he is. It’s a promise he’s determined to keep, too young to realize he can’t control life no matter how much a prayer is prayed.
Is mom there yet?
No. His thumbs quickly type back. Hurry.
Five minutes later, the front door swings open and pounding footsteps scurry up the stairs. His door is flung open and his chair is wrenched back. “Thanks, Adam.”
It’s all over him, he realizes, wrinkling his nose in disgust, the pieces falling into place. The moodiness, the temper swings, and the constant staying after school excuse. How had he not seen it earlier? How could he have made such a stupid mistake letting her near him.
He whispers, “You smell.”
“Really?” Aaron sniffs his shirt and rolls his eyes. Crap. “Thanks for this too then.” He then leaves, the corner of his eye catching Adam’s piercing stare. He doesn’t have time for it though. Adam doesn’t understand. Could never understand what it was like, never know the feeling of pain and hurt and being rejected by the one person that mattered. Athletic, intelligent, silent, mature Adam could never hope to understand what it was like to always be the center of attention for so long and yet to be denied by the one he actually cared about.
It wasn’t fair.
No, logical, cold Adam would never understand that sometimes you can’t control your feelings and that sometimes you need help. And when you’re as desperate as he was, you receive help in whatever form it comes.
His had come in the form of an angel. An angel he’d follow anywhere. An angel that listened, that cared, that radiated warmth, and said what he needed to hear. He had come so close to the edge, had been about to take a falling step into the deep abyss, contemplating all sorts of ends, when she had swooped in, white halo and wings, and had wrenched him out from his tortured state. Now, all they had left to do was place the bandages on the cuts and wait for them to heal.
“You need to get away,” she says, “you need to get away from here. They’re holding you back. Holding you from really being you. Conformity”, she nods and points towards the fence of her backyard. “They’re controlling you, suppressing you, chaining you, and you need to set yourself free.” Run, she pressures. Run with me, and hands him the lit blunt.
He slumps on his bed, feeling tired and worn. Then slowly peels off his shirt and jeans – just in case they smell too – and shuffles over to his window. He props it open, reaching for the clips he has especially for this and hangs his clothes in the open air. His room is on the back side of the house and while his neighbors might question, his mother won’t notice them airing. He’ll bring them back in later.
Closes his eyes, feeling the breeze carress his face. It’s just to relax he thinks, he just wants to feel happy. Was that too much to ask?
Adam sees his brother leave and his stomach lurches, familiar and aching. No! He wants to scream, Come back! Please!
He knows, a mutual friend having confessed to him what Aaron had been hiding, he knew his twin was hurting. But that doesn’t make it okay, his mind growls. It doesn’t make it okay to destroy oneself. It doesn’t make it right. Not for someone who wasn’t worth it.
Fifteen. He was fifteen. There was plenty of time, plenty of people, plenty of things to expierence and this – this was wrecking it all. She was wrecking it all. Wrecking Aaron, who he was and who he was going to be.
Wrecking the superstar.
“Why don’t you smile, Adam?”
“What are you saying?” Glancing at the skinny kid clutching his cherry slurpie, “I do smile.”
“Well you don’t smile a lot. Aren’t you happy?”
“I’m happy,” he replies, kicking at a stone in the path and shoving his hands deeper into his pockets. He’d only had enough for the one slurpie and didn’t feel like asking for his share. Not with how Aaron kept eagerly slurping it.
“It doesn’t show at all.”
He mulls it over for awhile and finally he says, “You don’t need to smile to be happy. And you don’t need to be happy to smile. Inside and outside are separate things that sometimes share with each other.”
“What? We’re twelve Adam, not twenty or forty. Stop trying to act smart.”
He laughs because that’s the only thing he can do and punches his twin in the shoulder. “Fine, fine. What I mean is, just because I’m not smiling, doesn’t mean I’m unhappy. I prefer to just enjoy the moments. Understand?”
Aaron makes a face and wipes a hand on the back of his cargos before grabbing his straw and digging out the last bit of cherry. “Why not just live in the moments? That’s the only way to truly enjoy life. You know, sing, laugh, scream, smile. Everyone keeps asking me if you’re depressed or something.”
“What do you tell them?”
“That I don’t know.”
When they reach the park, Adam is quickly called over for a game of soccer, and before he leaves, he beams a large smile at his brother. I’m happy.
Aaron returns the grin, his own group of friends starting to surround him, lips stretching wide, and lifts his arm in mock salute. I’m happy too.
It’s funny what one remembers, what memories stick close, every image imprinted deep in the brain. The smells, sights, tastes are brought forth in the random of times and he’s left with the aftershocks, pulsing, stabbing, ripping his heart and reminding him of what once was.
He doesn’t smell it anymore. But that’s probably because Aaron leaves in the morning with one shirt and comes back in the afternoon wearing another.
With every day that passes, his conscience bites back and growls, almost pleading for him to take action, and every day he forces it down, squishing and smothering until it quells and he can fall asleep. He knows he needs to do something – anything would be better than this – but the bond keeps him quiet, shushes him. The piece he holds, sealing his lips.
Months go by and he stays silent. It’s just a phase, his mind argues. He’s young and doesn’t know what to do. Too young to know that life isn’t just about one thing; it’s about many things put together, good and bad. That’s what life is. What is beauty? He once read. What is worth losing your life for? Hope, Love, Dreams, Happiness, Joy, Success… And Life.
It’s just acting out. Soon, Aaron will be back, his Aaron, not hers, not what she’s creating, and everything will go back to normal. Life, Aaron would agree, Life is beautiful.
He doesn’t know who he’s talking to anymore -whenever they do talk, how rare that is – whether its him or her speaking out of that mouth. When I graduate, I’m gone. You’re all controlling me. Let me be free, Adam. Leave me alone. Go away. You don’t understand anything, you’re so damn unemotional, you don’t care about anyone. It’s impossible for you to feel anything. You never could, could you? All these years, you’ve been pretending, and I believed it, believed you, but I’m not falling for it anymore.
“Aaron stayed after school again?” his mother asks, walking into his room.
“Yeah.” He lies.
A thoughtful look crosses her face and she ruffles his hair. “Your brother really works hard doesn’t he? He’s always staying after with his teachers. Aren’t you proud?”
He nods, mute from the lump in his throat. If she only knew. But he couldn’t utter a word.
“You have such a great younger brother. My boys. I have perfect boys.” Ruffles his hair again and then she’s gone, taking his guilt with her and leaving anger in its wake.
He’s furious. He can’t stay like this. And he’s got to try, for the sake of his mother and more for the soul of his brother. He’s reminded of a promise he made when they were young. And he intends to keep it.
“Get out of my room, Adam.” He rumbles, not even looking up from his laptop. “I’m busy.”
“No.” His door closes and the shadow of his brother falls across the bed and partially on his laptop’s keys. “I wanted to talk to you as soon as you got home, but you locked yourself in your room.”
“Should’ve kept it locked, my bad.”
He hears the frustrated sigh and his stomach twists. He knows he’s worrying Adam, but it was necessary. His twin just didn’t get it. He just wanted to be alone, needed to be alone. He needed time to get his head straight. Time, that was all, just a bit more time.
“Look, I think,” Adam chooses his words carefully, “I think you should stop what you’re doing.”
“Enough’s enough. I never liked covering for you and I won’t do it anymore. Can’t you see you’re destroying yourself?”
“I’m not destroying me, you’re destroying me. You don’t want me to leave ever. To be someone. You just want to keep me by your side forever.”
“That’s not true. I just… I want you back. I want my twin back. This isn’t you.”
“This has always been me. I’m just finally showing who I am, for once. Now go away. You don’t need to cover for me anyways, I don’t care.”
“No it hasn’t! This isn’t you. Why are you trying to be like S-”
“Don’t you dare say her name,” Aaron hisses, pure venom in his voice and anger in his eyes. “You don’t get to say her name. I’ve finally found someone who actually cares about me and you just want to take that away!”
Something breaks in Adam’s eyes, and for once, the veil of a bright eyed, cheery skinny blonde is lifted away, and what’s real is what he finally sees. He sees a teen full of hate. Black uglyness swarms the teenager in a cloud of angry gnats.
“R-Ronnie..” his voice breaks on what was thought an extinct nickname.
Aaron flinches at the slight cracking noise and for a second thinks he’s going to see his brother break. For once, the solid, steady Adam would crumble, for once, the unemotional pillar would falter and he could make himself belive that Adam cared.
But, the flicker of weakness disappears and Aaron feels the putrid, sickening twist at almost falling for it again. It had taken an angel to open his eyes that his brother was – what was it? – a sociopath -was that it? – yes, his brother felt nothing. Cold and emotionless, never showed his emotions, could never trust feelings, everything had to be thought out, had to be logical, had to be the best decision. Adam could never make a mistake and couldn’t understand that Aaron had to. He wanted to make mistakes.
“Get. Out.” And Adam does. Like he knew he would.
I’m happy too.
It’s Adam who finds the note, and it’s Adam who holds his mother as she cries, his dad calling everyone furiously, demanding to know where his child was.
“Did you know about this?”
“No.” He says truthfully. They weren’t close, haven’t been close, and he’s surprised his father still thinks they were. When was the last time he heard them have an actual conversation? The last time they actually looked at each other? Years.
But why now? Why leave when he was so close to graduating? Barely graduating, but still graduating. Why throw that away? They didn’t have to be friends, Aaron didn’t want to be friends, didn’t want to be brothers, but they could have still had their graduation party together.
Later, in his room, he pulls out a box from under his bed. Lifts the lid and pulls out a photo. Runs his finger across the smiling faces of two young boys, the tallest’s arm across the shoulders of the other. They’re in ripped jeans, green splattered up and down legs, torsos, and chests, and face masks are perched on their heads.
“You were right, Adam, it was fun.”
“Of course I was, how is paintball not fun?”
“Well, I dunno… the idea of shooting people… it just made me feel so evil.”
“It’s a game, Ronnie. Just a game.”
A salty droplet splatters on top of one of the identical faces. Runs down, marking a path, and pooling at a corner. Stupid. So stupid.
His fist crunches it and then he’s hastily smoothing it out. Gently places it back into the box, his fingers brushing across another. He pulls it out and studies it. Three teens, captured laughing, before it all changed, before he had x’ed himself out, removing himself at the first glimpses of black.
He should have dragged Aaron with him, should have made them both leave at the beginning, should have never let it continue, not when he knew better.
He knew better and let it happen anyway.
He rips the photo up and throws the pieces out the window, letting the wind take them away. He’d seen it in her eyes. Some people don’t like to be alone. He understood that. No one wants to die alone, ever. But why did it have to be him? Why did she have to bring Aaron down with her?
I need to find myself, please don’t look for me. I’ll be okay.
They searched for him. His father searched to knock some sense into his son, his mother searched for her baby boy, and Adam? Adam searched for his missing piece, gut-praying he wouldn’t be too late.
Eventually his father resigned himself, the law was the law and at eighteen Aaron didn’t have to come home. His mother threw herself back into work, and bit by bit, they seemed to be doing better. He knew they missed him terribly, but it was pure faith in that Aaron had found what he was looking for that kept them going.
But Adam knew better. Known what kind of state Aaron had left in and with who. Two mentally unstable people traveling to who knows where, ingesting who knows what, and all he can predict is disaster.
He keeps searching.
With every year that goes by, with every success he has, degrees and jobs and promotions, he becomes a man and he keeps searching.
At night, when it rains, his chest hurts and he pats his heart, trying to calm that bond. The ache never goes away, but worse than that, worse than losing a part of him and worse than feeling what left he had of Aaron slip through his fingers, was the guilt, knowing he had failed.
Had failed his twin and nothing could convince him otherwise.
But sometimes though, sometimes he’d slip into a daydream where he saw Aaron, happy and carefree. He was taller, his hair longer, and his eyes were bright and full of life. He was the living the way he was supposed to, living like a superstar. He even imagined Aaron with a wife and kids, and one day he’d run into them and Aaron would say “This is your uncle Adam, kids.” And he’d get to hug them, wrap them in his arms, spoil them rotten. And he’d smile. He’d smile so wide and Aaron would smile back and it’d all be okay – because Aaron had made it.
He’s driving home from work one day, when he feels it, quick and ripping, and he ends up in a ditch. Fine and yet not.
In a split second, he feels an overwhelming emptiness and he’s hollow.
“Aaron,” he gasps. And then a piece is gone, for good.
Now his nights are full of second chances, haunting him in his sleep. He relives them, cries in them, begs for another shot. Cover for me, okay? Pleads to get the chance to tell his younger self to stop it then, to stop it before, but to do something. Don’t let him get away. Don’t.
In the mornings, he pretends. He pretends Aaron is out there fullfilling his dream. He found himself. He pretends for himself and for his parents, who don’t realize they’re pretending too.
And at times, he even catches himself believing it.
But what could he have done? He was only human, could only control himself. That’s what Aaron couldn’t seem to understand. No one had ever controled him, because no one ever could.
So where did that leave him?
“I don’t ever want to grow up. I want to be young forever.”
“We all have to grow up Ronnie.”
“I’m not going to, I don’t want to.”
He takes his brother’s hand. “You have to grow up. We all do. But you want to know a secret?”
“Youth has no age.”
It ends like this. A sinking darkness, and the emptiness of a promise.
Posted on July 18, 2014, in Miko's Corner, My Blog, My Writings, Short Stories and tagged emotions, enemies, family, hate, letters, life, miko, pit person, pity, short story, teenagers, Writing. Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.