The Past

May 10, 2017
By , El Paso, TX

Everyone avoided him. They didn’t get near him, didn’t look at him, and didn’t talk to him. Everyone thought he was crazy; he was. All he would do is eat his meal, go outside to the yard, and talk to the little dolls he had made from some pieces of cloth from his bed sheets. No one knew why, and no one wanted to know. Not one person dared talk to him; only the new guy did.
He had been transferred from the Tennessee house. He didn’t know that no one was supposed to talk to him. He had started to make friends. Not many, just a couple. They were in the same laundry shift as he was, just small talk, nothing much. They didn’t ask him anything personal, and he didn’t ask anything personal.
One day he was sitting on the bench out in the yard, looking at the yellowing grass flowing softly in the calm wind. He saw a man out in the middle of the grass sitting with his legs crossed, with little rag dolls in his hands. He walked up to him and introduced himself.
“Hello,” he said to the man sitting in the grass.
“Hi,” he replied.
“What’s your name?”
“Derek, yours?”
“Hello, Jacob, go away.”
Not many people were friendly here, everyone just wanted to leave and go back to the real world. No one was there because they wanted to. Jacob had a different opinion though, he would be there for a long time; a very, very, very long time. With no way to get out earlier. He had decided to make the most of his situation. All he could do is work, make friends, and try to forget his past.
He tried again and again to befriend Derek. At lunch, at work, at the yard, nothing seemed to work. Then when he noticed that his bed sheet was starting to unravel he had an idea. He started tearing it up into different sized pieces and got to work.
Jacob walked up to Derek as he was sitting on the grass as he did every day of the week. Sitting down across from him, he pulled out the little dolls he had made from his sheets the night before and tried again.
“Hi, Derek.” he said.
“Did you make them yourself?”
“Why do you want to know?” Derek said defensively holding them closer in his hands.
“I’m curious,” he replied.
“Yeah, I made them.” He said slowly easing his grip on his prized possessions.
“Why did you make them?” Jacob asked curiously.
“To remember them.”
“Remember who?” Jacob asked as he leaned in now full of curiosity.
“My family,” he answered, his voice subtly breaking.
“What happened to them?” Jacob asked, now wanting to know as to why he had made little cloth dolls to remember his family by.
“I killed them.” He said, his eyes red from the flood of memories breaking the dam that he had built to keep them away from hurting him. “I used to be a drunk. Sometimes I would get mad at my wife, and I would beat her. One day, I was cleaning my M-16. I- I didn’t know that the magazine still had bullets.” He says as he starts to break down, the dam having completely fallen.
He had been cleaning his gun when she went up to him to complain.
“You need to get off your lazy ass. It’s been eight months. I know it’s the middle of the recession. But I don’t believe that there is not a single place that is hiring,” said Derek’s wife. This was the third time this week she had said something similar to this. It was barely Tuesday. Finally having broken, he reached for the now cleaned gun that was at his side and pointed it at her. She didn’t flinch, she assumed that there was not a single bullet in the gun so there was no way that it was possible for her to get hurt. He pulled the trigger, expecting a clicking sound to come out. Never did he expect for a bullet to come flying out. But that is exactly what happened. As the casings hit the white carpeted floor with small thumps, she hit the floor too. But it wasn’t a soft thump, it was the drop of a soul-less body hitting the floor and staying there. Inanimate, just as lifeless as the warm casing just a foot away. He watched in horror as her blood filled every fiber of their dirty white carpet, making it a bright red that after just ten seconds made a red halo around her head. He could not stop thinking about his little girl. He didn’t want her to live a sad life adrift in the foster system.
He opened the door to her pink colored room. “Papa?” she asked groggily. He tried stifling his sobs to not make her cry. “Is everything okay?” she asked, now worried for her father. He pulled out his Glock from its holster, and pointed it directly at her neck. He didn’t want for her beautiful face to be ruined by a piece of lead. It was the hardest thing that he had ever done in his life. But he knew that she had no life after this. Her mother would be dead, her father in prison. He pulled the trigger, but he didn’t hear anything. He just went to sit down in his chair that faced the television and waited for the police to take him away. Nothing more could be done, he contemplated suicide, but he decided that he couldn’t leave so quickly without being punished. So, he waited.
Derek was tried and convicted of second-degree murder. Sentenced to fifty years with no parole. There is not a day that he wishes that he had just applied at McDonalds. If he had just gotten a job, any job, maybe all of this could have been avoided.

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