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Looking Through Collene
Looking Through Collene
I opened the door and looked out to our fresh green, fake lawn and began to daydream of flying to Ireland without any cares in the world. But Mickey quickly threw me out of my fantasy my only friend snapping his fingers in my face telling me to hurry up.
'No wonder you're always late Collene! You sit around and daydream all the time.'
Mickey didn't know about my mother. He knew that she had a temper, and she 'occasionally' lifted her hand at me, but other than that I kept my life at home a secret. I never wanted to jeopardize my relationship with Mickey. If he wasn't with me, I would have killed myself long ago.
'I'm sorry Mickey! Gee I'm a few years younger than you, I'm sorry if I haven't adapted to you're fast-paced life!'
What I said was more than a bit of a stretch. I was ten years old, and he was fifteen, sixteen in four weeks.
'Oh the sarcastic tones that I live for.'
He smiled, and I returned one back. Fake smiles were the only thing that would really satisfy him. I loved Mickey as a lover, as a husband, and as a friend. It's sad but true; he was gay and had no interest in dating me or any girl for that matter. It stung deep in my heart, but I knew that his friendship would always be enough for me.
'Anyway, where are we going today?'
'Collene, you know that's not how we do things!!'
I hated doing this everyday. He was my best friend, and even though he wouldn't admit I was his too, he had me lift up my sleeves or take off my bracelets every morning to see how much damage I had done to myself. He knew that my mother would do nothing and knew nothing of my suicidal ventures. He wanted to know first-hand if I was going to be ok. So as usual I did as I was asked. I slowly took off my black and blue bracelets that represented the bruises that I cover up. They represented my deepest regrets and desires. And as I took them off, I could feel blood coming back into my hand and my long sleeved shirt loosening. So he rolled up my sleeve and looked so disappointed. He looked hurt, betrayed, frustrated, and most of all I could see the sadness in his eyes. Me of all people. Ms. Collene does these things to herself, but he just couldn't understand that my life wasn't as perfect as I sometimes made it out to be.
'Oh Collene . . .'
He was rubbing my scars and my newly regretted cuts. It felt nice to feel like I was under his control, under his safety. At that moment the only thing that mattered to him was helping me, being with me. It made me feel wanted, needed.
'It's ok'.Mickey'I'm good today, see?'
I showed him that it was already healing and even though it was deep the cut would sooner or later turn into nothing more than a scar. But I have learned that these scars, are not only scars, they are a look into my past. Something to show me of what I have done, to show me that even if things are tough and unbearably frightening self destruction does nobody any good.
'In the short year that I have known you, I have never asked why you do this to yourself. I have never asked questions, but today I am going to. And I want truthful answers.'
My heart fell into my stomach. Mickey always knew when I was lying to him, it was his own little 'Collene Radar'. If I lied to him, I would lose him. If I told him the truth who knows what would happen!
I nodded my head slowly, trying to think of more lies. We started to walk when he opened his mouth, began to say something and then I suppose think better of it.
'You can ask me.'
I glanced over at him and could see the indifference of what I said in his features. That's the way Mickey was. You can say something earth-shattering to him and all that would matter was his opinion of it.
'What do you cut with Collene?'
I could feel myself far away, answering him like a little puppy; it felt as if Becky was back inside of me. Earlier Becky was a voice inside my head that helped me get through life. With my mom at home and partially through my time at school Becky's presence gave me a chance to be the person I want to be. Also to stand up to my horrible mother. Becky you could say was my imaginary friend, but I heard someone's voice and Becky was more to me than an imaginary friend, and she left when I needed her most.
'Well a lot of times it's with my scissors, but on occasion I have razors that I found in my mother's bathroom last year.'
I remember that day, it's sickening to say but I was excited when I found those razors.
He sighed and looked at me deep and hard,
'You're mother hits you doesn't she?'
My mind began to race. How did he know? I couldn't answer him, I just stopped and looked dumbfounded. How could I tell him what she does? I opened my mouth and just as I was about to say yes I heard brakes and in a split second noticed that we were standing in the middle of the road.
I saw it all in slow motion. It was as if I wasn't even really there. Mickey's eyes grew as a blue car hit him from behind. He flew a few feet and as the car was trying to stop I heard him scream and hit the car's dashboard window.
It was over in a second and all I remember was hearing a high, loud, long scream. I didn't know it at the time but it was me who was screaming.
Mickey's face was plastered with horror, his eyes were open and blood was dripping from his mouth. His head had blood from behind, and it was all just one big nightmare.
Mickey was dead.
I was screaming when the man in the car got out to see if Mickey was breathing. I knew he wasn't. I half yelled, half screamed at the man. I punched him. I kicked him, bit him and swore that he would go to hell all the while crying like I've never cried before.
'Get off of me! You kids were out in the middle of the street! I never even saw you!'
'WHAT?! YOU DON'T HAVE EYES?!'
I fell by Mickey's side only half hearing what the man was saying, soon I would know his name. I was sobbing and I just put my face on his chest. I could barely understand myself but all I could do was say what could never be done.
'Mickey...come back. Mickey please, I'll tell you everything! Mickey PLEASE! I love you, don't leave me here alone, oh my god. Oh my god, oh my god.'
It was two months since the incident with Robbie, the beatings with mother had become worse and her growing fascination with torture made me disgusted. She would occasionally bring me into her bedroom and from a chair that she had made with chains attached I would sit and she would make me stay. She would secure my arms, wrists, and fingers into little holders and stick needles under my fingernails. She would shove them up and down, and when I deserved to be punished even more she would get pliers and proceed to tear off fingernails. One by one, she acted like it was a game.
I would scream, and she would slap me.
'Stop being such a baby Collene!'
I had snapped back into my obedient ways. Something I'm not sure I will ever really be able to overcome. Through tears I would say,
I was sitting on my bedroom floor staring at the ceiling. Thinking about what had, had happened to my empty room. Only my razor kept me company now. She had taken my bed, my posters, my music, but I had kept my razor tucked safely under my shirt. She saw my cuts, but she never mentioned them. I never expected her to, but this day was...different.
She came storming into my room like a madman like always,
'Collene why do you do this to yourself?!'
She pointed at my wrist and gave me looks of disappointment,
'It helps me mother.'
'What do you need help for?!'
She was obviously angry . . .she grabbed me up without a word and loaded me into the car.
I could see her looking at me through the rear view mirror, but I didn't want to meet her eyes. I looked out my window at the green cactus and then at the dead, dry earth.
I thought about me being dead somewhere in the middle of it.
'Collene, you are not going to stay with me anymore.'
I looked up and gave her a confused look.
'You're going to stay at a home in Albuquerque. They deal with kids like you.'
'Like you...' Those words were horrible to me. They categorized me into nothing more than some troubled teen. How was I supposed to reply to that?
'A home mother . . .?'
'Yes Collene, a home. You need to read more, you are getting so stupid.'
I looked down in shame,
'What do they do at the 'home'?'
'They help kids like you! You'll get better Collene, I know it!'
With my big mouth I muttered . . .
'Who was the one who made me sick?'
She gave me a stern look, and I flinched just from her stepping on the brakes, to stop at a stoplight. She turned around to me and said,
'Collene, you better be a good girl! Do you understand me?! If you get sent back because of some stupid idea, or another one of your stupid schemes you will be severely punished. Improve Collene, or I personally will have to knock some sense into you!'
I had fear on my face and I simply nodded.
'Don't you dare disobey mother, you never know when she might just bring up Robbie in a less indirect way . . .'
Truthfully I was afraid of where she was sending me and who else would be there. Maybe children who didn't talk, who were troublemakers? I wondered though most of all about my mother and what I would have to say about her. I realized then that I would have to keep my mouth shut and never let a word about her slip through my teeth.
We drove up to a place that looked like a hospital. It had colorful banners at the top of the doors with the words 'WELCOME!' written on them. I looked at the windows of the car and into the eyes of the girl staring back. I mouthed the words 'Happy Birthday.'
We stepped to the counter and my mother gave my information kissed my cheek, said I love you and told me to be a good girl and that I would see her in seven months. My life had changed drastically and I wasn't entirely sure what to do with this new chance, but for right then I knew that I needed to follow the nice lady in white into my new room.
I sat in a big chair in the psychologists' office. The night in my new, completely white, dull room was interesting to say the least. I was like a newborn baby everything seemed fresh.
'Collene do you know why you are here?'
'Collene, are you with me?'
Reality was never something that I liked very much but I answered even though I loathed talking to this stranger about my issues. Although today he wasn't going to get much out of me.
In a very polite voice he said,
'Then will you please answer the question I asked you?'
'I don't know why I am here. Why don't you tell me?'
I felt like he was using head games on me. I didn't think that I needed help, so why should I tell him anything?
'You're here because your mother thinks that there is something wrong with you. She loves you and thinks that for right now this is the best place for you.'
'She tells us that you cut yourself.'
'Does she now?'
'Yes she does, do you mind telling me why?'
'No I think I'd rather keep it to myself.'
He scribbled down notes on his notepad like what I was saying was breaking news.
'May I see them?'
'Sure . . .why not?'
I lifted up my sleeves and walked over to him with my wrists pointed up.
'My Lord . . .'
'Am I going to be able to leave your office soon?'
'Yes . . .'
While slowly inching closer to my wrists. When he was about a centimeter close I snapped my arm back like he had just burnt it.
'You can see them, not touch them.'
'Right, well I think that you need to go to the nurses office. Those cuts are very serious.'
'Alright. Tell me where that is.'
'Down the hall and take a left.'
I turned around quickly and was half way to the door when he said with a stern look,
'She will know that you are coming, and if you are not there in two minutes we are going to look for you. Remember that you cannot do whatever you want here, you are here to be fixed.'
'To be fixed? I'm not broken.'
I walked out and slowly went for the nurses' office while looking down at my wrists. They didn't seem that bad to me, although sometimes the cutters eye is never the best. I was at the door when I heard him phone in to the nurse,
'She has cuts that look like she drove a knife down her arm and ripped her skin apart. She needs serious help.'
'Alright, I'll keep a lookout for her.' Said the nice lady.
I pushed the door open and walked towards her. She looked about twenty, definitely young but in her eyes I saw wisdom. I knew though that even with a smart lady like this she would be dumb when it came to me. Completely oblivious to everything that I had been through. I expected nothing more, and nothing less.
I wonder if they will actually help me.
'Hi Collene, I'm Taylor.'
'Hi Taylor . . .uh can we get this over with? I kinda want to go sleep.'
'Yes of course just give me your wrists and let me sterilize them.'
'So how was the dear old psychologist?'
I looked at her with confusion. Who talks like that?
'He was fine, than- OW!'
She had stuck a needle into my wrist without me knowing. Surprise I suppose was her specialty.
'Sorry but I needed you to be relaxed.'
I was mad now, not the best way to go. Although I suppose she had dealt with kids like me in the past. Maybe she knew what she was doing.
'Lift up your shirt please I need to give you another shot.'
I panicked. She would see the bruises from mother. What lie could I possibly make for being black and blue?
'You heard me! I don't want any more shots. Now may I PLEASE leave already?!'
She was taken aback by my sudden burst of anger. Her features said it all. She was thinking what every other person thought of me.
I was some crazy chick who couldn't control herself.
'Collene, I can't help you if you won't let me.'
'I don't need your help.'
I turned around and walked out the door while she was pleading with me to stay. With teary eyes I just continued to say in my mind 'I don't need your help. There is nothing wrong!'
I walked slowly past the white rooms and watched as people came and left. How could people be so calm here? So put together? It made no sense to me. This place was just another prison.
I packed all of my things without a sound and crawled through the window surprisingly unnoticed. I walked through the grass suspiciously and to the lush woods that I knew led to a road somehow. I skipped over the small stream, and very calmly went to a tree and sat down.
'What am I supposed to do now?'
It was times like these that I missed Becky the most. I heard a twig snap and I gasped quickly and looked over. There was a kid I had seen earlier in his room; looking for something, probably me. I stood up and acted as if his presence didn't scare me.
'What do you want?' He looked up obviously surprised.
'I saw you leaving . . .I want to come with you!'
I was absolutely furious.
'Excuse me?! Kid you don't even know me, I work better alone''
Who was this kid anyway? Probably just some rat who I wouldn't dare trust.
'Come on man . . .I've been stuck here for three weeks. Completely stranded. The people in there are crazy, and that ain't my scene.'
He talked funny and he insulted me. What in the world was he thinking?!
'I am no man!'
'Chill, its slang girlie. No worries I want something from you, why would I insult you? That ain't very good for business now is it?'
I liked him he had spunk.
'Okay you can come, but don't you dare get in my way. Understand?'
'Crystal clear baby.'
'If we're gonna be together for awhile, I wanna know your name, why you're here, and why you decided to follow me of all people.'
He started in on his story, like a storyteller reading to children. It seemed all too natural.
'Well, my name is Ray, and I'm 16. My mum and dad divorced when I was only ten. I was a bit upset, as I'm sure you can imagine. Although I ain't really got a reason why to tell ya the truth, 'cause they been having problems since before I could remember. Guess it just hit me 'cause I never thought that a divorce would ever happen to my 'rents.'
He looked as me as if waiting for my approval to continue. I just nodded my head like I understood the pain he felt.
'After that my mum started drinking like there was no tomorrow. When she was drunk she would insult me a lot, and a few times she even hit me with things. I left to live with my dad because he understood, maybe a little too well, but uh anyway he died shortly after that and I had to move back in with my mum. I didn't know how to handle her, ya know? She didn't even see me as human anymore.'
'What the hell? This kid is totally pouring his life out to a stranger!'
'I started drinking just as much as she was, it ain't no picnic I tell ya. Getting drunk every night with your mum. It's really a goddamn shame. I was an alcoholic by the age of thirteen. How right is that? I ran away, she was too much for me, but she called the cops and I've been shipped around foster homes ever since. And only recently did my foster 'rents send me here. Devil's Island is what I call it, but I see you walkin' and I know you got somewheres to go! Take me with you, I need to breathe!'
'Get that, we are never coming back and from now on we are new people, quite literally. Your name isn't Ray anymore: it's John. My name is Alex. Understand?'
'We're crystal kid, how old are you anyway?'
He was totally shocked: I read faces well. Eventually we found a road and walked our way into the nearest Walgreen's, looking out for people who looked at us suspiciously. I mean c'mon we had just broken out of the Looney Tunes Bin. While nobody was looking I put on a bra three sizes too big, and stuffed everything from new clothes and a new hair color into it. Whatever, I could take what I wanted to. Nobody had control over me anymore.