The Story in Those Eyes

February 13, 2008
By Isabel B, Milpitas, CA

My life has been a mess for as long as I can remember. Since I was a child, everyone rejected, abandoned, and forgot me. When Mom died, Dad wasn’t afraid to show how he truly felt about me. It was really a blur when she died since I was only twelve at the time. Dad had yelled at me constantly, screaming that I was the cause of her death. It was as if I was the one who had stabbed the knife through her heart that night, but that reckless woman had done the murderous crime to herself.
My old man hollered at the top of his lungs, how she killed herself because she couldn’t handle me or control my wild personality. I was a rebel, even at an early age of three. Having tantrums when I was a toddler was what my parents were hoping was just a phase I would soon grow out of, like a snake shedding its too tight skin. Unfortunately, I just got worse everyday, living with those two people who call themselves parents. The result of my rebellious attitude I had wasn’t entirely my fault. Sure, I was a stubborn kid and liked to do things my way, but the environment I had at home wasn’t something you would find out of a Disney movie.
Mom and Dad always fought over petty things, such as Dad staying out late without a reason or even an excuse, the bills weren’t being paid, and Dad’s incessant drinking bothered her. Hey, isn’t there a pattern here? All of these problems center that man. Yeah, Dad was the problem Mom wanted to die and get away from. She couldn’t handle HIM, not me. Sure, she didn’t understand me at times and wasn’t Mary Poppins, but she wasn’t as bad as he was. No wonder she killed herself. I don’t blame her either. If I could, I would, but I feel that I would miss out on a lot of things in life if I accompanied her.

Dad’s problems and arguments with Mom was something I was accustomed to and thought this was normal. I already had implanted the idea in my mind that every kid had parents like mine, the way kids are supposed to have a dog or computer. I soon learned that this wasn’t necessarily true.
It was rare for me to go over to someone else’s house to visit or have dinner. Actually, now that I think about, I remember doing this only once. It happened when I was around eleven. We had been invited to the Wilsons’ house since they just moved in. After a long argument about going over to their house for dinner or just staying at home, they finally came up with a compromise. We would go over to their house, as long as we didn’t have to bring over any food.
When I arrived, I don’t know what it was. I guess I was expecting someone to scream somewhere in the house, just like our own. However, this “homey atmosphere” was something different. There was laughter from what looked like the parents of a newborn. In the arms of the young mother laid their newly born baby, and she looked so happy just looking at the thing. I wondered why, but her eyes explained it all. I saw her happiness in her eyes and wondered why I had never seen my parents look at each other or at me that way. The look the Wilsons gave to their child made me hate them right to the very cores of their souls. I wanted my own parents to look at me lovingly and actually care for me. I wanted to feel like I was needed, that I was important and had a use in the world. My parents never gave me the feeling of achievement, that I could do something for myself, like I was a failure, a mistake. It was true enough. I was a failure. I failed to be a perfect child. I failed at being a great student. I failed at being someone who deserved to live. I so badly wanted to be liked, even the tiniest bit. I longed for that feeling so much, that I felt my heart would rot waiting for such an impossible idea to happen.

Since Mom died, Dad felt he had no more use of me anymore. He didn’t need anyone to boss around like a dog since he was going to hire a maid. I guess he was tired of the responsibilities of a parent, so he decided to drop me off at his alcoholic brother’s front porch. I would have rather been murdered than live at Uncle Jack’s house. He would beat me up senselessly at least once a day for no reason, on account of being drunk all day. Sometimes he would blame me for random things, such as not having enough money for cigarettes, losing his job which he lost three years ago, or that his girlfriends left him hanging at the bar.

I would also go hungry every night, only having the crust of his sandwiches I peeled off if I wasn’t caught. I remember I had lost twenty-one pounds in just those six weeks with him. Fortunately a neighbor found out what Jack was doing and called the police. Old Uncle Jack got arrested for child abuse and driving drunk. For me, I was immediately taken to the closest diner and fed almost everything on the menu. I gobbled down everything I was fed since all I had in all those six weeks was the occasional dry pieces of crust. However, I was also weak from being beaten with a belt or a chair, whatever he had handy, so I was fed by a policeman.

They decided that it was best for me to be sent to Mr. and Mrs. Jenkins, my new foster parents. Mrs. Jenkins was a huge softy and acted like my grandma I never had, but she was surprisingly cool. She was lenient on rules and curfews. She also spoiled me with several things, such as food and clothes. Mr. Jenkins was also this way with me. I guess they treated me this way because they never had any kids of their own. Too bad I didn’t take advantage of this, but I guess I had a reason.

When the police brought me to them and told them my story, the Jenkins started to make a huge fuss about me. I was surprised and overwhelmed, but deep down I was deeply overjoyed. I may have even cried, no matter how lame that might look for a sixteen year old boy.
I had finally felt important and needed. Even if they didn’t know me at the time and just wanted a kid to care for, I was happy to be that kid. Around that time, I was already sixteen and behind in school, so I decided to get back to work. Since I was home schooled for a while and was able to catch up with work, I was allowed to enter the third year of high school at Pearson High. Going there wasn’t as bad as I pictured it to be. Sure I got lost on the first week, but I surprisingly got a group of friends that liked me for who I was, not for having rich parents or great clothes, but the person who I was. My life finally went up hill after all the things I’ve been through as a child, until the morning that changed my life. I awoke, not because I smelled Mrs. Jenkins’ cinnamon waffles wafting throughout the house, but because it was unusually quiet. There was always the chatter of the Jenkins’ voice in the morning, debating who would clean the dishes that day, but this wasn’t one of those mornings.
I started to go downstairs, when I heard sobbing. It was coming from the Jenkins’ room. I went in cautiously, and to my surprise, I found Mrs. Jenkins crying over Mr. Jenkins’ lifeless body. I had lost part of my heart that day, believing that it was lost forever.
I was allowed to stay home for a week to recover from his death, but it wasn’t enough. My friends tried to pretend nothing had happened so I couldn’t remember, but their attempts at trying to cheer me up didn’t work. I tried to forget myself, but when lunch rolled around, I felt like I was going to lose my sanity. I had just run from the cafeteria to the greenhouse, when I bumped into this girl. When I looked into those big, brown, innocent eyes, I felt like I could trust my whole life into her hands. I didn’t even know who she was, yet I longed to be with her every moment of my life. I soon found out that her name was Nicole Williams, a third year like me, but she just transferred a week ago.
We decided to sit down on the bench outside the greenhouse, which was where I started to spill my story, from when I visited the Wilsons until the day I found out that Mr. Jenkins died from old age. Usually, if a teenage girl listens to a long story that doesn’t involve them, they would space out and not even remember a word you said. However, Nicole was different. She always nodded her head at the right moments and said “I’m sorry” when I needed to hear it the most. I never had anyone listen to me that seriously and understand.
You see, she was an orphan, since her parents died in a car accident a few months ago. I thought I had it bad, but she already worked at a part time job to pay for her apartment. She said I didn’t need to feel sorry for her because she was used to this way of living. I couldn’t believe she had no one to support her like I had the Jenkins, plus she was able to stay an honor student. Nicole had gone through so much and had no one to care for her, yet she was able to stay so strong and always smiling. I saw her in a different light in just those few minutes.
All that hurt, sadness, happiness, pride, and so much more emotions filled her eyes. I could see that she truly understood me and I understood what she went through, just by looking into those deep brown eyes. It was just like the day I saw the Wilsons look at their baby. I once again felt like I had a use in the world and was important to someone. That day, she had helped me recover that part of my heart I lost when I found out Mr. Jenkins passed away.You wouldn’t think about it, but just like a book, eyes can tell a story. They can tell a happy story, a sad story, a comedy, or a drama. All you have to have is a heart and to look into the eyes you want to read.

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