Life Unforgiven This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

June 26, 2011
The alcohol couldn’t drown this feeling of worthlessness, but at least it could numb my memory of how I got here. I remember the days when I woke up from my deep slumber to the warmth and comfort of a home. Nowadays I don’t sleep, I drift in and out of feigned naps, usually awoken by a kick or a nudge. The days when I woke up to the smell of homemade breakfast. Today I woke up at 5:00 am to the cold streets of the city and to the smell of cooking food I could never afford. The days when I took my time getting ready and arriving to school late, but no teachers would dare utter a word of disapproval, just fake respect. There were always consequences because my father owned their homes. Now my father owns no ones land, in fact, he owns nothing. He just sits in his cell thinking about what could have been of his life. What he doesn’t know is that he didn’t just ruin his life. After school was football practice but I would never play. I belonged to the team but it was really just a title to hold. I would just sit on the bleachers with a new girl every week and tell everyone how she was the only girl I really loved, but that was a lie for all but one. Every girl that passes me now is horrified of the horror I’ve become. Then a bunch of people I hardly knew, let alone was friends with, followed me around as we roamed the streets of our town. Back then I roamed the streets for fun, now I roam the streets as a last resort, the only place I can go. It was all back to my loving home and my welcoming family. That is all gone, and those are just memories. They are just dreams that comfort me when I’m on the streets at night, alone, wet, dirty, sick, and never ending drunkenness. I wish I hadn’t taken my life for granted, because it all went to fast too even say good bye. Back then the grass was too high, or the fence was too yellowed, or the roof was missing a shingle, or a tree was missing a branch. Those are now the least of my worries for survival.
I remember the days when I would wake up to a cluster of stuffed animals and a pirate themed room. My nanny would wake me up and bathe me. I hated getting a bath, but a bath today would be an absolute luxury. Back then, everyone wanted to be my friend. Whenever I wanted to finger paint the teachers would call the student who was working on art over to the side and whisper something to him. Everything came to me, I didn’t wait for anything, I didn’t ask for anything. I didn’t earn anything, . If I wanted it, I got it. Now I don’t know how to handle myself... my life isn’t coming back to me. During recess, I would watch as a little boy passed us, in a gray, dirtied work suit. He didn’t go to school, and I always thought he was the luckiest boy in the world. What I didn’t know is that he worked while we went to school. He secretly envied us as I envied him. He was taught to earn his pay and work for what he wanted. At the end of the day, the nannies would take their children to the park to play on the swings, and one nanny was always pulling off one of the kids for me to have a turn. I would go home and have dinner, and never wanted to eat my vegetables because someone in school told me that they were poison. I haven’t eaten in two days, and I would eat anything, even those ‘poison’ vegetables. I would watch television and then go to sleep. I would have a fit if the door in my room was open the wrong way or if I didn’t get a cookie before bedtime.
I remember a faucet broke in my room’s bathroom and we hired some low paying plumber on the other side of town, which was the poor side. I lived on the rich side of town. The plumber brought his son, a boy about my age. He didn’t go to school and from what I saw, didn’t have any friends either. I was upstairs, watching a movie when I heard the boy run up my stairs. He stopped at the top of the stairs and just stared. It looked as if he had never seen a movie before, and I laughed. I laughed at him because he was surely making a fool of himself. His father walked up behind him, whispered something in his ear and pushed him along.
I walked into my room to watch them work, half interested, half distrusting. The little boy didn’t really work, he just looked at different stuff in my room. His dad barked orders at him a couple of times, but he was enjoying himself so much. He had his eye on this little stuffed giraffe on my bed, but never touched it. I just sat and watched the boy, making sure he didn’t take anything. His dad yelled at him to not go far, and he ran back. He wandered back into my room and back to the giraffe toy. He picked it up and smiled at it. He ran to his dad to show him, but his dad told him to put it back where he found it. He tried to position it the same, with its hands on its lap, and smiled when it’s hands always fell back to its side. He finally got it then looked up at me, almost guilty. “This ain’t no toy store,” I growled at him. He gulped and his face crumpled and he ran to his dad. When they left his eyes were red from rubbing and his father nodded at me. I was only thinking of my friends and what they would want me to do. “He didn’t take nothing, did he?”
Across the street, a young woman meandered down the street with shopping bags, laughing with her friends on either side of her. She was as beautiful as when I sat with her on the bleachers senior year. Her red hair flowed down her back, her brown eyes glistened in the sun. I remember the day I broke up with her, the day she planned to break up with me for being disrespectful and shallow. I broke up with her because I couldn’t bear her disapproval. She was the only girl I really loved, the only one I really cared about. She saw me and laughed. I felt ashamed of the new me. She now is a businesswoman with a successful husband and a family. The life I could have had walked away down the street. No money could fix this, she had told me many times before. I couldn’t buy her all the things in the world for her love, she would say. And then I broke up with her, because I saw it coming. She stared to date another guy from the other side of town she said, I wouldn’t know him. I always thought she was trying to rub it in my face that she moved on. And she just walked away, all the possibilities, just walked down the street and turned the corner.
A few months ago, two men in black coats came to our door and rang our bell. My father peered out the window and yelled for me to answer it. “Is your father home,” they asked and then took him away. Not until later did I know why they took him where they did. They took our home, they took our money, they left us with nothing. We had to fight to keep the clothes on our back. A week later, they found my mother. She was at a food shelter, crying that it was luck and pleading her husband didn’t do it. They told her if she came with them they would make the voices in her head go away. A man who witnessed her abduction said she got in the van with two men in white coats, never to be seen again. And this left me. Not cruel enough to go where my father went, and not crazy enough to be with my mother, just in between. Not dangerous enough to be removed from society and not sane enough to fit in. I’m in between, where no one can help me, not the men in black coats, not the men in white coats. For the first time in my life, I’m on my own.
I watched as a man walked towards me from down the street. He dug around in his pocket for spare change. I heard the jingle of pennies clicking together in his pocket, probably enough to buy another beer. He looked down and ours eyes met, a disgusted look came over his face. , “No change today, mister, maybe another time, sorry,” he snickered. And he walked away.





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