Title:All of This
Summary:Go to school and sit in class and listen to mindless morons drone on and on, and slam your head against the wall, basking in triumph when the blood seeps from your head because at least you're feeling something for once.
Rating: R (for excessive profanity and violence)
I wrote that phrase over and over again in my notebook as the Geometry lesson dragged on and on in seemingly endless tedium. I was really getting sick of everything. Every day, the same old crap, go to school and sit in class and listen to mindless morons drone on and on about binary metrics or whatever it’s called, and slam your head against the wall, basking in triumph when the blood seeps from your head because at least you’re feeling something for once.
A paper airplane hit my shoulder, and I slowly looked up from my notebook, glaring. The guy who threw the plane started laughing like he had just done the funniest thing in existence. Oh, yes. Really witty. A regular fucking comedian. You should be in the movies, buddy. No joke.<
I decided that a fight was beyond my strength at the moment, glared down at my notebook, and wrote:
“Mr. Williams,” the teacher addressed me.
I looked up from my notebook once again. “Yes?”
“Can you give me the answer to number thirteen?”
The class tittered, and the teacher smiled wryly.
“Very funny,” he said sarcastically. “It’s wonderful how you know this material. Really shows a lovely incentive. You’re probably going to get an A this marking period.”
I didn’t say anything. It’s not like it would’ve mattered if I did. No one ever pays attention.
The teacher went on with the lesson and I laid my head down on my desk. I had a terrible headache—you know, those headaches that feel like someone is putting a vise to your brain and twisting it so hard that you excrete brain fluids. You know, those headaches.
I don’t think it’s too hard to figure out that I’m not exactly a happy person. I have problems seeing what the point of anything is. I suppose you could call me “depressed”, but then you’d be putting me in a class with those people that pop pills every time they feel a little low. We all feel sad sometimes. Get over it. No, my problem is that I just don’t care about anything. School, friends (which I don’t have), family, anything. People will just leave you; why bother getting attached? And school? Don’t even get me started. If I could have a private tutor and not have to put up with all this high school bullshit, maybe I wouldn’t mind learning so much. But I don’t. So I’m stuck here.
I started stabbing my paper with my pen, wondering when the hell the fucking period was going to be over, when my question was answered and the bell rang.
Praise the Lord, I thought, even though I’m too cynical to believe in God. I stuffed my notebook into my overly large backpack and shuffled out of the room.
My backpack is way too big. My mom went back-to-school shopping for me, and I honestly have no idea what was going through her mind when she got me this backpack the size of Switzerland. I could probably fit two midgets in that backpack, and they’d have plenty of room to breathe and walk around. They could even open a chain of restaurants.
So, since my backpack is so big, I don’t really need a locker except for my equally large coat. I’ve gotten quite strong shoulders since I’m always carrying around five book and two binders. Not that anyone cares.
The one good thing about Geometry is that it’s last period. I headed to my locker, put on my overly-puffy, down-to-my-knees coat (once again, courtesy of dear old mom), hoisted my backpack onto my shoulders again, and trudged out of Hell—I mean school. Oh, wait, they’re the same thing. Never mind.
It had snowed the previous night—not enough to cancel school, of course, but enough to make me freeze my feet off and trip over myself while I’m walking through it. Fuckers.
I was getting up for the umpteenth time when all of a sudden my mom’s car idly pulled up alongside me.
“Mom?!” I said in disbelief.
“C’mon in,” she said lazily, one arm slung over the back of her seat. She was wearing a scarf over her head and sunglasses. It’s fucking WINTER. Why the fuck was she wearing sunglasses? I’ll tell you why. She’s crazy.
I got into the car and slammed the door shut. “Why didn’t you just pick me up at school?”
“I was running late,” she said.
“You’re always running late,” I muttered, but she didn’t hear me.
Pulling neatly back into traffic, she said to me, “You know, I had an excellent idea today.”
Oh, great. Another one of her brilliant schemes. “What is it?”
“I was thinking maybe we could...” Her voice trailed off into nothingness and she started wistfully ahead of her. She does this a lot. It’s not good when she’s driving, however.
“Mom. MOM,” I said, shoving her a little bit so she’s snap out of it.
She suddenly came to and shook her head. “I’m sorry, dear. I must have dozed off. Did I miss the movie?”
“Uh...what movie?” I asked dully. Man, I was getting really sick of this.
“You know,” she said. “Snow White.”
“We’re not watching a movie, Mom.
“Oh.” She sounded confused. “Okay.”
Luckily, she pulled into our driveway just then (I don’t live far from the high school, you see), so I was spared of nonsensical chatter, at least until dinner time. I ran inside, grateful to escape my mother.
You probably thought I was kidding when I said she was crazy, right? Wrong. She is, actually, crazy. It has to do with my dad’s death. I don’t want to talk about it. I don’t remember much, anyway. I was only four.
I entered my rat-hole of a room and slammed the door shut, dropping my backpack off my shoulders and throwing my coat on my bed. I hate my mom. Honest to God I do.
I had about a million hours of homework to do, because my teachers are homicidal maniacs who take joy in their students’ misery, so I figured I might as well get started on it.
I hoisted my Geometry, Biology, and History books out of my backpack and let them fall on my desks. Time to be suicidal.
A couple hours later, as I was still struggling through my fucking Geometry homework, my mom knocked tentatively on my door.
“Dinner’s ready,” she said quietly, and scurried back downstairs.
I sighed heavily and left the room, hands in my pockets. I vaguely wondered what was for dinner. Maybe while Mom was cooking she was in the middle of mental clarity and dinner wouldn’t be a single piece of lettuce and a bowl of Cheerios. It was too much to hope for, though.
I entered the kitchen, where my mom was placing our two plates on the kitchen table. It appeared as though dinner was going to be spaghetti and chocolate. Not too unusual. Could be considered a normal dinner, almost.
That was, of course, until she placed an orange on top of the pasta. It was one of those oranges that look so orange that it doesn’t look orange.
She sat down primly in her chair, grabbed her spoon (what the fuck? A spoon? How do you eat spaghetti with a spoon?), and started eating.
I sighed and grabbed a fork from the cabinet, removed the orange from my plate and started eating as well. Surprisingly, the spaghetti-and-chocolate combo wasn’t half bad. It was pretty damn good, actually. After discovering this, I ate my meal vigorously.
I seemed to be done in no time at all, while my mom was only about a quarter of the way through hers. She stared at her plate solemnly, stood up, and calmly burst into tears.
I groaned inwardly. “What is it now?” I asked. I couldn’t help but be irritated. She had outbursts like this on a daily basis.
My mother did not reply, and simply ran into the first-floor bathroom, sobbing something awful.
I sat in my seat for a few minutes, listening to her gut-wrenching tears, then put my plate in the sink and went outside for a walk.
I like taking walks. They clear my head. You can just roam around on the street, not tied down to anyone or anything, not school or your crazy mom or your own thoughts that swirl around in your head in a jumbled mess and give you a headache. I like looking at the houses and the scenery when I walk around town; it helps me not to think.
Sometimes when I walk I start jogging a little, which turns into a brisk run, which turns into a full-on sprint. I leave everything behind me—my inane hopes, my fears, my anxieties—they all just get whipped away with the wind and don’t plague me again until I stop. You can’t really think about those things when you run. You’re too busy focusing on the gnawing pain in your side or your aching lungs or avoiding pedestrians and cars. It’s freedom. Freedom from yourself.
The problem, though, is that you have to stop eventually. You can’t just keep running forever. And when you stop, all your thoughts catch up with you in one huge rush and you scream and try to hide because you don’t want to remember anything.
When I returned home later that night I found my mom asleep on the couch, the glow from the television illuminating her face. I looked at the screen; I Love Lucy was on.
I trudged upstairs to my own room, completely exhausted. I didn’t bother changing into my pajamas and instead fell face down on my bed, falling into an uneasy sleep.
Oh, shut up, I thought to myself, tugging the pillow tighter over my ears.
“Oh, FINE!” I shouted, and got out of bed, but not before I threw my pillow at that stupid alarm clock.
Walking to the bathroom, I hoisted my jeans up a bit and rubbed my eyes. I twisted the handle of the bathroom door.
It was locked.
I sighed and looked at the clock that hung over the staircase. It was seven o’clock.
I knocked on the door. “Mom, can I have the bathroom for a minute? I just need to brush my teeth.”
“Go away, Carlos!” she shouted in agony. “I told you, I don’t you around me or my son anymore!”
“I’m not Carlos,” I said. “Now let me in.”
“No! I won’t let you hurt him!”
“I’m not Carlos, okay! Now let me in so I can brush my goddamn teeth!”
“No! Go away!”
I banged my fist on the door. “This is getting ridiculous! Do you want my breath to stink, Mom? Do you? Open the freaking door!”
Silence, except for the sound of someone tearing toilet paper.
I stood there for several seconds, then, rubbing my hand over my face, I turned on my heel and left her.
When I got to school, I went to my locker and put my huge-ass coat inside. I was just about to close it when some stupid freshman came over and pushed me.
“You big son of a bitch!” the freshman shouted. His idiot friends laughed, and I was strongly reminded of Curly from Of Mice and Men.
I turned around slowly. “I suppose you think you’re cool or something.” I kneed him in the balls and he fell to the ground, screaming, then whimpering, with pain.
“That’s what you get when you pick on someone a foot taller than you,” I said, closed my locker, and left while the freshman’s friends laughed at him.
“I’ll get you for this!” the freshman called after me.
“Whatever,” I said, not bothering to look at him, and turned the corner.
After the usual hellacious day at school, I was once again at my locker, taking out my coat. Plopping my huge backpack on the ground, I wiggled myself into the coat, much to the stares of some people passing by.
“Why the fuck is your coat so big?” someone yelled at me.
“Because your mom likes things BIG!” I shouted back, then heaved my backpack onto my shoulders and quickly left before the person could jump me.
I was walking through the, now thankfully, shoveled snow, when I felt someone from behind kick me in the shins.
“What the f—?” I said, and turned around. It was the freshman, of course. “Oh, it’s you. What do you want?”
“To kick your ass!” the kid shouted, and somehow managed to tackle me to the ground, despite my being much taller and heavier than he was. He started punching my face.
All of a sudden, all these people were gathered in a circle around us, chanting, “FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT!”
I rolled my eyes and took hold of the freshman’s minuscule waist, throwing him to the side. He landed on the white snow, looking astonished. I kicked his ribs and he yelped in pain.
“Don’t you know how worthless people like you are?” I asked him, pulling him up by his hair. “It’s exactly because of people like you that I come here—” I pushed his face into the snow, “–every—” I smothered his face, “—day—” I beat his head into the ground while he screamed at me to stop, “and WISH—THE—HUMAN—RACE—WOULD—JUST—DIE!” I let go of his hair and kicked him once more for good measure. “Are we clear now?”
He just stared up at me with such a defiant, cool, infuriating look that I couldn’t help but punch him in the face.
The freshman shouted and held his nose, which was bleeding. The crowd whooped and shouted and taunted the freshman (whose name, apparently, was Billy). He rolled over to his side and the blood dripped onto the snow.
I felt a lump in my throat. More blood was coming out, staining the pure, white snow, spreading everywhere until it felt like I was drowning.
I stumbled backwards, my hand over my stomach, which was gurgling strangely. “Look at him!” I shouted. “Look at all that blood! Why doesn’t someone do something?!”
“What are you talking about?” said the freshman, who sounded very far away. “It’s only a couple of drips, man.”
What was he talking about? There was blood everywhere; the red and the white were mixing together and spreading spreading spreading getting closer—closer—closer...
Overcome by a wave of nausea, I kneeled down to the ground and puked everywhere. There were shouts and sounds of people running away, but I could barely hear of any of it. I laid my head down on the snow as the spinning everything slowly faded to black.
“Hey, dude! Are you dead?”
“You’re so stupid, man; he’s, like, breathing and stuff.”
“That doesn’t mean he’s alive!”
“Dude, you are so stoned.”
“Yeah, I am.”
I flickered my eyes open and saw two guys standing over me, one with long, blond hair and one with long, black hair.
“Dude! Are you okay?” the blonde guy asked me.
“I guess,” I mumbled, sitting up. “Did I pass out or something?”
“Yeah,” said the one with black hair, nodding. “There were, like, these kids and stuff, and we saw you kick that shrimpy kid’s ass—”
“Major kudos on that one, dude,” the blond guy chimed in.
“—and then when the kid was bleeding you started freaking out, and you spewed and passed out, dude,” the black-haired guy finished.
“Then all the other kids ran off when you puked and the shrimpy kid went with them” the blond guy added.
“Oh,” I said, standing up. “Well, thanks.”
“You’re welcome, dude,” said the black-haired guy.
“Are you scared of blood or something?” asked the one with blond hair.”’Cause I can totally relate, man. Don’t feel too bad about puking and fainting in front of everyone.”
“I don’t,” I replied. “Well, ‘bye.” Then I left.
“Good luck, dude!” they both called after me in unison.
I walked home, hands in my pockets, trying not to think about what had just happened. I didn’t feel embarrassed, if that’s what you’re thinking. I didn’t care about any of those people and cared even less about what they thought of me. No, I was trying not to think about the blood on the snow.
I started walking faster.
You can’t keep me from him forever!
Running running running, my heavy backpack thumping against my large coat, making me sweat despite the cold weather, but I didn’t care. I just had to get away.
“Sweetie, I cannot go and face those people,” my mother said calmly, washing the dishes. She was having one of her rare lucid moments.”You know how I hate suburban couples and parents and—no. I can’t go.”
“But my Geometry teacher said he really needs to speak with you,” I pleaded, “and he’ll get so pissed at me if you don’t go. And you’re feeling well tonight, so—”
“Forget it!” she said, opening cupboards and putting the dishes away. “I cannot go to Parent-Teacher Night. I can’t. I’m sorry.”
I groaned, conceding defeat. “Fine. Whatever.”
“Do you want me to write a note?”
“No, that’s fine. Forget it.” I went upstairs to my room and slammed the door shut. I was probably going to get hell from Mr. Cavendish. And I couldn’t have my mom write a note because he’d just assume that I’d forged it. I stuffed my pillow over my face. What the hell is the point of Geometry, anyway? When the fuck am I ever going to need to know what the sum of the angles are in a triangle? Who CARES?
“Sweetie?” my mom asked, tentatively knocking on my door.
“If you really want me to...I mean, I will go, if you need me to.”
“No,” I said. “It’s okay.”
There was silence, then a whispered, “Okay.” I heard her feet tip-toe back down the stairs.
I put my pillow back on my bed and stared out the window. Unbelievable. It was snowing again.
I hate living near Buffalo, I thought. I spotted a snow globe on my bookcase. I think it must’ve been from before I was four, because I’ve hated snow globes since then. What the hell was one doing on my bookcase? My mother probably put it up there after one of her many excursions to the goddamn attic.
I grabbed it and stared at it for a couple of seconds. I started hearing things that I didn’t want to hear.
He’s my kid too, you know!
I don’t care! Go away!
I won’t leave!
Go away, Carlos!
I won’t let you hurt him!
I gasped and dropped the snow globe to the ground. The glass must have been fragile, because it smashed into a million tiny pieces.
“God...no...!” I shouted, my hands over my face. I didn’t want to remember, I couldn’t, I wouldn’t—
The memories I had tried so hard to suppress were rushing back.
Remember how I said I couldn’t remember anything about my dad’s death?
Well, I lied.
I remember everything.
It was Christmas Day. I knew this the instant my four-year-old eyes shot open. I climbed out of bed and ran eagerly to my window to see if it was a genuine white Christmas, like in the song. It was. Snow was falling gently from the clouds onto the ground, which was already heavily coated with snow. I grinned and raced down the stairs.
Praying fervently that I wouldn’t get caught by my mom, I hastily put on my coat and snowboots and ran outside to play in the snow. And I didn’t have to worry about cars or other kids like I did back when we lived in Toronto with my dad, because now we lived in a really secluded cabin in the mountains. I didn’t really know why we’d left. One day my mom just told me that me and her were going on a “little trip”, away from Daddy for a while. That “little trip” ended up lasting a year. But I didn’t really care. I was never a very social kid, so I didn’t miss the companionship of others too much. And I never really liked my dad, either. After he’d drink from his red bottle he’d get really angry and yell a lot. One time I saw him hit my mom. A couple weeks after that is when we went on our “trip".
Anyway, I was just playing around in the snow, having a grand old time, when my mom came outside and shouted, “Sweetie! Get inside; you’ll catch your death of a cold. Come and open your presents!”
As soon as I heard the word “presents”, I went rushing into the house, much to my mother’s amusement.
I sprinted into the living room, which was a rather small room with a two-person couch, a TV, and a Christmas tree, with a modest array of presents underneath it. I dived at the biggest one, a huge, eager grin on my face as I tore off the wrapping paper. My mom came in and turned on the television, then hit PLAY on the VCR. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs came on; apparently she had been watching it while I had been sleeping and when I had been outside.
I opened all of my presents, save for one small one in the back. I grabbed it with some difficulty and ripped off the wrapping paper. It was a little music box.
“What song does it play?” I asked my mom.
“Open it and see,” she said, smiling.
I did, and it started playing a popular nursery rhyme that I enjoyed. I clapped my hands in delight and sang along with it, as the little figurines in the music box twirled around and around.
After the song was over, I closed the box and brought it with me to the couch, where I snuggled with my mother as we both watched Snow White.
We had gotten to the part where Snow White was about to take a bite out of the poisonous apple, when suddenly we heard a car pull into our driveway.
My mother looked out the window and instantly a great shadow seemed to cross her face, making her brows furrow angrily and her lips to tighten.
“That’s your father’s car,” she whispered. “How did he find us?”
She abruptly left the room. I saw her go into the kitchen, then come back holding something behind her back. She discreetly shoved whatever it was into the pocket of her coat, then put said coat on and went outside, where my dad was getting out of his car. I ran to the window and watched the proceedings.
“Go away, Carlos!” she shouted at him as she approached. “I told you, I don’t want you around me or my son ever again!”
“He’s my kid too, you know!” my dad yelled, taking long, angry strides towards her.
“No! I won’t let you hurt him!”
“How dare you! You BITCH!”
“I won’t leave! Let me in!”
“No! Go away!”
My dad grabbed my mother roughly by the shoulders and started shaking her. “You can’t keep me from him forever!”
My dad reared back his fist, when suddenly my mom took a long kitchen knife out of her coat pocket and stabbed him in the heart.
He fell to the ground instantly. My mother stumbled backwards in shock as the blood from his chest tainted the pure, white snow, spreading in a circle around him.
My mother met my eyes and looked horrified as she realized I had seen everything that had happened. All I could feel was numbness. I wasn’t even sure if what I had just seen had really occurred or not.
She looked back at the body, still terrified at what she had done, taking deep, ragged breaths. Then, her face turned stout and resolute and she walked briskly back into the house with a determined step, still clutching the knife.
She came back in the living room and kneeled down to my level, gripping my shoulders tightly.
“I’ll help you pack your things,” she said quietly. “We’re leaving.”
I don’t really remember much after that. Somehow we got out of Canada (with fake documentation with fake names that we still use, I would presume) on some train that took us to Buffalo. I don’t really know the details. But I do remember my music box being crushed under a car after I dropped it while were crossing the street.
My mom, still in a state of shock, over the course of the next few years morphed into the state she is in today—re-living that day over and over, and unable to focus on reality for very long or very well. I learned how to mostly fend for myself, and in the meantime tried valiantly to block the memories of that day from my brain. It had worked, for the most part—until now.
I moaned and got off my bed, which I must have laid down on at some point. I felt oddly peaceful, but not a happy peaceful...more like the kind of peaceful I imagine soldiers have in between battles. You survived one, but another one is just around the corner.
I walked downstairs and saw my mother watching Snow White, silently crying, clutching the knife she had used to kill my father. I don’t know why she keeps it. I would have gotten rid of it by now. But she still keeps it in the attic for some reason.
I sat on the couch with her and snuggled up close.
We watched Snow White.
Please let me know what you think! ^_^