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Through Thomas's Eyes
My name’s Thomas, but most people just call me ‘that scrubby kid’. I have a pale complexion, and my hair feels (and looks) as if it’s stuck to my head because of all the grease that rests on it. My closet has about as many outfits as the average American has pairs of shoes, and the sweet aromas of perfume are the opposite of how I smell. As I think about myself as a person, I don’t blame people for giving me the title of ‘scrub’. But it’s not as if I can do anything to change the way I live, because when you’re poor, the only privileges you get are ones that ‘normal’ kids take for granted.
The reason my family (if you can call it that) lacks money is because both of my parents are dead. Mom was murdered by Dad, who then got killed after getting run over by a bus. Tanner (my older brother) said Dad was a heavy drinker, and one day he decided to test out his new pistol after downing cans of beer. Seeing Mom walk into the living room of our trailer (in which we still live in to this day), Dad squeezed the trigger at her a few times because he thought she was trying to rob us. The gunshots were deafly loud, but none of our neighbors heard them because there was a thunderstorm going on at the same time.
After all of the screaming and loud noises, Dad took a nap for awhile. When he woke up, his foot got doused in blood after stepping on his wife’s dead corpse. Now sober, Dad was yelling in fright. He catapulted himself out of the door, and ran, overrun by anxiety. Because of the rain, Dad slipped before he had the chance to get out of the nearby bus’s way. That is how both of my parent’s lives were taken; both dying the same day.
Even though Tanner was a teenager at the time, both he and I couldn’t stop crying. We didn’t know Dad died at the time, but even if we did, we probably wouldn’t have had any tears left after mourning for Mom. But after we found out, this meant one thing; Tanner was the new man of the house. He had to drop out of school just to make sure he had a job that could prevent us from starving. Because he only got paid a decent amount, we had to turn the water off in our trailer (the same trailer that has Mom’s blood stained on the carpet of the living room). When it comes to electricity, we can only watch TV, and we’re limited to an hour a week. But I don’t care, because even if I’m considered a ‘scrub’, I’m just thankful that I’m still alive, and it’s all because of Tanner.
If you’re wondering why we never asked our relatives to let us move in with them, it’s because they all live on the other side of the country. You see, before the ‘day’ and all of the other days leading up to it happened, my parents used to be travelers, going on vacations every other month (we actually had money back then). One day, Dad got fired from his job as a teacher, and when he got fired, we were still vacationing in Michigan. But, seeing as he was the only one with a job in our family, we had to stay there. Mom and Dad ended up getting jobs in the local shops, but the only place we could afford to live in was a nearby trailer. And ever since, we’ve been stuck in the same place, away from friends and family, and closer to depression and problems.
When you’re parents pass away (especially if they did like mine, or in a way along the lines of it), you change both physically and mentally. I started to become afraid to talk to people, because I never wanted to lose anyone again. Nobody wanted to talk to me anyway with the appearance I possessed. Every once in awhile, Tanner and I would go down to the creek to wash ourselves with free water (we never took actual showers). But that wasn’t enough, and eventually you could tell we both had terrible hygiene. We began to get treated terribly as well. I wasn’t sure about Tanner, but I got used to the disrespect, and to this day, I still live the same lifestyle as I did five years ago.
School is free where I live, which means I have to attend it. But because of our shortage of cash, Tanner can only drive me to school every other day, no matter how bad the weather is. I don’t mind walking, but I do mind having to go to school. I wish I could just drop out like Tanner and live a life without bullies, but Tanner’s life doesn’t seem any more miserable than mine. You see, I’m a smart kid, but when I hear people always talking about me during class (they can’t whisper that well), it gets very hard to learn. Life is even worse when my classes end, because I constantly get punched, whether it’s an actual punch or a verbal one. Yes, I’m different, but I don’t understand why people can’t accept me for who I am, no matter how bad I smell. It’s a struggle, going to school, because I don’t have anyone to take the journey with. The only friend I have is Tanner, and I’m the only friend he has. I would add to my list, but nobody ever wants to even make eye contact with me; the only time I’m in the picture is when other people talk about me behind my back.
High school is rough, but there’s one part of it that keeps me motivated; Art class. Seeing as I basically don’t have a life, I just make drawings with the little paper I own. I usually draw one picture every week, and over the course of those weeks, I’ve been getting better to where even Tanner thinks I have talent. But as I was saying, in Art class, our teacher, Mr. Mason, has given us the opportunity to submit a drawing for the annual state drawing contest. The only requirements are that you must draw some sort of scenery and that you have to attend a school in Michigan. I drew a picture of my backyard back in California, with a sunset and everything. Mr. Mason told us he has no idea when he’ll receive the results, but it doesn’t matter, because my life will still be the same, most likely. It’d be nice to win, but it’s just not the same as if I had friends, because Tanner is the only person I could share the happiness with.
If there’s anyone that can ruin my inner joy, it’s Cain. His life is perfect, dating the most beautiful girl in our grade and being the star of our varsity basketball team. But, that’s not satisfying enough for him; he still needs to use his fists on someone every once in awhile and I’m his favorite scrawny sack of meat to try them out on. When I got out of Art class, he took the green paint he stole and smeared it all over my face. Being unfairly weak, I put up little to no resistance, and to finish off my beating, he winded me after kicking me in the stomach. I started to shed some tears. I didn’t want to put up with anymore of this; I skipped school for a few days. I decided to go back, but I think that was a terrible mistake.
When I returned from school, I saw Tanner outside, the top of his head peeking from beside our fence. Wondering what he was doing there, I slowly looked over the fence, only to see something more horrifying than what happened the ‘day’. Tanner was covered in red, his face ripped and scrambled into a puzzle, and his clothes having large tears. Was he dead? Obviously. How he died? I think I knew. Our neighbors own a Rottweiler. As I looked at their house, I saw that the chained leash that held the dog was ripped from the ground; it escaped. I guess the anger of the dog was bottled up inside of it, and when it freed itself, emptied it on Tanner. As I kneeled next to his body, I was anticipating tears to roll down my face, but I felt nothing. I ran out of tears back when Mom died, and ever since, I never resupplied. I was emotionless, and the only thought I had was that I wanted to be with my family again. I realized the only way that would be possible is if I were to die as well. Was there really much in store for my future, anyways? With Tanner gone, I’m going to have to drop out of school, too, just to keep myself alive. But that alone would be a struggle. And to think if I stayed home, I could’ve saved his life. Why spend the rest of my life suffering when I could just end it and reunite with my family? I went inside of my trailer, and looked for the key to my answers.
When Dad left the trailer the ‘day’, Tanner took the gun Dad used on Mom, and put it under his bed (if an intruder ever showed up). He knew I knew its location, but he didn’t want anyone else to know, should they have been brave enough to venture into our trash-infested house in the first place. I lifted the bed sheet, and pulled out the pistol. My hand, both shaking and sweating, could hardly maintain a firm grip on the gun’s handle. But nerves didn’t stop me from taking it out. I sat on Tanner’s bed, thinking about all of the happy moments in my life, even though they were outnumbered by the bad ones. Tanner said the pistol was still filled with a few rounds after Dad used it, but I think I only needed one shot to do the trick. I knew this would be the best decision for me, but part of my conscious was telling me not to do it. As I gently put the end of the pistol on my temple, I took a deep breath, as my heart was beating rapidly. I closed my eyes, saying goodbye to everyone, something my fallen family members never managed to do before their final moments. Even though my voice was never one that was heard, I still thought it was a nice thing to do. I was prepared, but before my finger could push down on the trigger, Tanner’s cell phone started ringing outside. Over my heartbeat, I was surprised I heard it, but he always kept it on the loudest volume setting. I threw the gun down and ran outside.
I managed to answer the call, and I was surprised with who it was. Mr. Mason’s voice exited the speaker of the phone, and asked how I was doing. I lied, and said I was fine, but who doesn’t say that? Anyways, he said he just wanted to let me know that I had won the state drawing contest, and have earned the reward of one thousand dollars. My heart was beating twice as fast compared to when I was holding Dad’s pistol, I was surprised it didn’t burst out of my chest. I replied with a cheer of joy, and Mr. Mason laughed and said I can pick up my reward tomorrow at school. He also told me I have a great future in the art business, should I choose to enter it. Being in the moment, I asked him something I don’t know I should’ve. I asked him if I could live with him, because he seemed like the only other option I had, besides being alone. I thought he would have had a shocked reply, but he said I could ride home with him tomorrow after school to ‘talk about it all’. After saying goodbye to each other, I hung up Tanner’s phone. I also put the gun back under Tanner’s bed, and I later buried Tanner in our backyard. I sat next to him, thinking about what just happened these past few hours. I know, most would still say I’m a scrub, but after today, I think I can say I went from being a kid to a man. After all, I did escape death. As for people like Cain, what can you do? Odds are, my neighbors will eventually find out my brother died, and that will show up on the news someday or another, and hopefully, he can finally understand what I’ve been through as a person. But one thing I know for sure is that the sad, depressing, and suicidal part of me is behind me.
I hope, at least.