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The silence in the room is disturbed by the paper that he smashes into the palms of his hand and suffocates with his fingertips. He throws it in the trash beside him.
The corners of the room are dark. Thick but dim rays of white light shine out of the one and only large windows in front of him as the winter sun sets at 5 o’clock. He rests his head on his desk and sighs. He stands and lifts his coat off of his bed. Slamming the door behind him, he leaves his room.
“Where are you going?” a small voice asks him from the hallway left of his room.
“Out, mind your own business,” a stronger and louder voice replies, stampeding down the stairwell, dragging the fur that lines the hood of his coat behind him. The owner of the small voice watches how the hood bounces with every step it takes and how the small hairs attached to it stick up like spikes with the static of the beige rug. He hears the muffling of his older brother putting the coat on right before he opens the front door and welcomes the bitter air into his lungs. The small voice goes back into his room, closing his door slowly, and lets out a deep breath of nervousness.
The chilly wind brushes over and into the openings of his coat, and relieves the heat that radiates off of his neck. He hears the crackling sound the plastic-straw makes as he forces his weight onto the welcome mat.
He stands still, ignoring his racing heart and jittering body that reacts to the cold that encases him like a bubble. Walking out into the road, he trips on his shoelace and falls. The pebbles that had chipped off of the concrete scratch his sensitive, pale cheek, splotched with red circles and visible veins. He feels a stinging in his knee as he tries to get himself off of the ground. His chest hits the floor after an attempt to stand up using his weakened elbows for support. An uncomfortable warmth fills his senses.
I have to get up, he thinks.
After laying in place for a while, he finally finds the strength to stand up. He limps off of the road, onto the street, and follows the dirt path he believes he made himself. He follows it to the miniature town filled with people who all know his name in hope to be left alone. He knows in the back of his head that he won’t be able to find that kind of relief where he’s going. He could turn back and go home. It would be the smartest thing to do after hurting his knee badly on the concrete, but the goal was to get away, and he wouldn’t let his little brother win. Not with his small, whiney voice. Not with his large, bright green eyes that stare into his mother’s when he wants something.
Tony had always been jealous of his brother’s eyes. They are piercingly green and balanced perfectly with his deep brown hair and freckles. Tony is stuck with brown eyes and brown hair. Nothing unusual. Nothing like his brother’s.
With his head down and hands in his oversized pockets like he usually positions them, Tony walks through the snow at a fast pace, stomping his boots into the ground with each pace. He makes perfect, long oval-sized indents with his shoes that document each step he takes.
Tony walks further into the dead trees than he ever usually would, especially in the middle of winter. He didn’t care, though. If he dies, buried in the snow, frostbitten, it would be his mother’s fault. His teacher’s fault. His teacher’s fault for making him do that assignment that he just couldn’t bring himself to do.
“Write a story about your family history,” she had instructed the class.
What family history? He had thought to himself, turning back to face his friends behind them and give them a face and share a laugh about how completely stupid this assignment was.
If he died, he would be showing his mom that he “was fully capable of managing his homework on his own time,” just as he screamed back at her when she told him that it was “getting too late to do the rest of his work later.” But he had finished his math homework and his English homework and every other assignment he needed to do, just not this one.
So he had sat down at his desk and angrily ripped a piece of paper from one of his notebooks, grabbed a fallen pen off of the floor, and tried to write.
My Family History, he had written on the top of the page below his name, the date, the class, and the name of his teacher.
He had thrown away many pages, all with no more than three sentences on the page.
He knew this wouldn’t be difficult for his friends in his class who had interesting family history stories about grandparents or great grandparents who had fought in wars in other countries or just had exciting lives in general, and he knew he was not somebody with a story like theirs. So he didn’t know where to begin, or who to begin with. His entire family had lived in the same place for as many generations as he could think back to. Yes, they had been through wars and probably other exciting things he could write about, but no one had told him about any of it.
So Tony left his house, with the goal in mind to do something exciting to be the boy who had run away from home and started his own town and populated it. He wanted to become another boring chapter in textbooks that students would learn about in years to come. He still knows deep down that walking into the woods won’t give him a story, but he doesn’t turn back around and go home. He will not go to school the next day and tell his teacher that he is sorry he didn’t have anything to write about. He refuses to face the consequences and the uncomfortableness he will feel having to listen to everyone stand up and read their stories, knowing he will never be the next to go. He will not let his mom scold him or his dad tell him that there were “a million things he could have written about, but decided to be lazy and not finish his homework.” That would be admitting defeat, which is something Tony does not do.
He will not go home and let the clock tick against his will. He will not be forced to write a paper about his mother. He will not be forced to write a paper about his father. After he finishes school, he will be able to leave them, his green-eyed brother, and his large, blue, ordinary house that will no longer belong to him. The blue house. The color blue. Such an ordinary color. Such an ordinary colored house to cover up his ordinary family with a big, blue bandage that Tony tried to bleed out of. His mother and father kept trying to put the bandage back onto him, and while they succeeded some of the time, Tony was determined to escape their plastering routine. Tony aimed to be the spot of blood that managed to escape from the wound and leak into the bandage, and then slowly drip out.
Walking through on the unordinary path would be the final step he needed to take to bleed from his ordinary life.
Tony feels a tug on his foot as he steps on his shoelace and falls face-first into the snow. An ordinary circumstance. He feels the powder attack his face, just as the pebbles on the road did a few hours earlier. His frozen palms slip under the snow as he tries to push himself up. He lays there in defeat once more, but this time, he would not get up.