“Locate me in a swing” (Sanford 271). I wake up feeling tired and hungry. I walk into the kitchen. After I eat, I feel much better. Until my dad comes in and starts talking to me. He tries to be nice, but I know he’s only doing it because he feels guilty. His voice makes me irritated. If you want to treat me like a disobedient toddler working in a sweatshop, at least do it full time. When I leave for school, I play music. It helps me relax. I get to school, and I’m excited to see my best friends again after a weekend apart. We start to talk, but after a while I lose interest. Charlie, if you tell me anymore about your stupid shoe obsession, I’m going to scream. Anton, I could not care less about the rave you snuck into, or the s***ty music that was playing. Nate, watching Buzzfeed and reading their articles does not make you more aware of the world around you. It’s a bunch of first world liberal bulls**t that ignores true human struggle. But I can’t say that. I would feel bad if I snapped at my friends. They mean well, but sometimes it’s just too much for me.
During school, I can’t stay awake. I go to first period, my least favorite class. I’m in AP Computer Science, and joining that class was the biggest mistake I’ve ever made. My teacher, Mrs. Swindle, can’t teach to save her life. She has the most monotone voice I’ve ever heard, and she looks like a frog with glasses. One time I was going to my current ex-favorite burger joint with some of my friends, and we actually saw her there eating alone. I couldn’t pass on the opportunity. I would never let myself live it down.
“I guess this is where the saying ‘you are what you eat’ comes from.”
I muttered it under my breath, only loud enough for my friends to hear. They reacted exactly how I expected and I snickered as a sign of satisfaction from their responses. I didn’t need to look at any of their faces to know they felt guilty for laughing.
The memory make me smirk, but my joy left as soon as it came.
“Hello, Ray.” She says to me in her robotic voice. “How are you doing on this fine Monday morning?”
“I’m peachy, Mrs. Swindle. How are you?” I reply, mocking her tone.
“I’m doing just fine. Thank you for asking.”
After that, I sit down in my seat. I see the diabetes hasn’t killed you yet. Sometimes, I crack myself up.
In class, I try to listen to Mrs. Swindle teach, I really do. I don’t want to work with computers when I’m older, but I truly find coding interesting and I think that understanding the language will really come in handy later on. Yet, whenever I hear her talk, all I can think about are the parents from Charlie Brown. “Whomp whomp whomp” is all I hear. And it’s not just me. I know that three quarters of the class isn’t paying attention. The only kids that seem interested are the three honor roll students that sit in the front right corner of the computer lab. Nobody really knows them or talks to them. They always have perfect focus in class, and once the bell rings, they simultaneously pack up their notebooks and pens and scurry out without missing a beat. They’re not even relevant. I don’t think they do anything outside of school except more school.
All of a sudden, the bell rings. I wait a few seconds and then I pack up my stuff and drag myself out of the room. The rest of the school day is a swirl of some fun classes, and some boring classes. I really like my AP Music class, but that’s partially because I’m convinced my teacher shoots up in the faculty bathroom before class. Everytime I tell myself that, I laugh.
Once school is over I meet up with Charlie, Anton, and Nate at the school parking lot. We hang out until their parents come to pick them up, and then I walk to my car. I’m the oldest of the four of us, and I’m getting my senior license in a week. I could not be more excited, because taking drivers ed made me reevaluate if my life had purpose, but all the mental torture was worth it for the freedom I’ll be able to experience. As I drive home, I realize I’m going 50 in a 30. I don’t slow down. Not because I’m in a rush, I just like going fast. For me, it’s fun. This is what I tell myself, but I know I’m lying. The real reason why I speed home is so I don’t have to see my dad. He’s the most insane man I’ve ever met, and I’m pretty sure the only reason why I still live with him is because I’ve developed Stockholm Syndrome. When I get home I notice my dad’s truck isn’t in the driveway. Thank god. I go inside and walk to my room. I drop my bag down with a huge sigh, and I fall into my chair. I make a homework plan, and I set an alarm for two hours, which is when I have band practice. I begin to start, saving my AP Computer Science work for last.
The alarm rings. I jump out of my chair and run for my guitar. I gently place my guitar inside its case, grab my keys, and bolt out the door. I run into the car, tossing the guitar case in the back seat, and I race to Anton’s house. He might be crazy, but he’s one of the best singers I’ve ever heard. I get to my salvation and everyone else is already there. I plug my guitar into the amp I keep in his garage, and we begin to play until the sun is gone and his parents kick us out. We all leave his house with beaming smiles, and go our separate ways.
I like driving alone at night, because it gives me the chance to think to myself. Is it really his fault? I mean, what do you expect from a man that grew up living without any parents? I’d probably drink myself to sleep every night if I had to grow up constantly moving to different foster homes after never being adopted. He’s still smarter than I’ll ever be - that man had to work for everything he has today, and had to teach himself everything he now knows. He managed to deal with the death of the only woman he’s ever loved, and still hasn’t cried about it. I guess after going through everything he has, I can’t really blame him for wanting to beat the s*** out of me every time he drinks away his problems. I know why he does it too. He wants me to know that life will never give me a break, but he’s also jealous that I’ve never faced real hardship, so he thinks he can take his anger out on me to teach me a lesson. He thinks that everything will be ok the next morning when he’s sober. I guess I’m his emotional punching bag. Literally.
As I pull into my driveway, I see my dad’s beat up truck in the garage. I rub my eyes to make sure I’m not imagining this. I guess I’m not that creative because I still see the piece of junk after I remove my hands from my face. As I park next to his car, all final signs of happiness have been drained from my face. I slowly hoist my guitar out of the car, and as I take myself into the house, I can feel ice rushing through my veins. I take my time closing the door behind me, and I’m greeted by the scariest thing I could think of: my dad waiting for me in the kitchen, with five indistinguishable bottles behind him. He’s wearing his typical home outfit: a black shirt that makes him look like Popeye after going through a can of spinach, and navy blue jeans that tuck into the black boots he’s kept in perfect condition since he got them four years ago. I see his arms are folded, and his deep-blue eyes are fixed on me. Inside his tightly locked mouth, I can see his teeth are clenched to the point where they look like they’re about to explode into dust. He doesn’t even let me put my guitar down before he loses his s***.