Troubled Beginnings | Teen Ink

Troubled Beginnings

April 30, 2018
By hunt909 BRONZE, West Palm Beach, Florida
hunt909 BRONZE, West Palm Beach, Florida
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

Olof Johnson’s parents passed away in an airplane crash when he was only 14 years old; the untimely death of both his mother and father left him and his sister Sarah alone. Olof and Sarah were sent to live with their only remaining relative, a distant uncle whom they had never once met in their lives. The orphans were in a state of shock at the time, and the increasing aggression of their Uncle made it difficult to cope.
“If you think you can get a better place in all of Queens; you’re free to leave any time you wish!” Another one of his Uncle’s episodes was coming to its close, this time Olof was left with only a black eye; luckily. Coming back from a late night probably at the bar hadn’t helped the situation in the slightest. This time Sarah had forgotten to turn off the lights in the kitchen and was now on the receiving end of a horrendous verbal lashing. Olof often protected his sister from their uncle’s outbreaks; but they became more frequent and violent. Their Uncle had lost his job for the second time in 6 months, this time for hitting his boss or as he described it “Putting him in his place.” These episodes came often enough for the school to be investigating the orphan’s situation. “You keep getting those people involved, and I’m going to have to pursue further punishment.” Their uncle threatened.  The orphan’s parents had left them a small fortune. However, the court believed the parents to be “Missing in action” and thus they withheld the inheritance from both the legal guardian and the orphans themselves. The highly publicized incident made the headlines all over the country; it was difficult to go anywhere without somebody sharing their opinion on the Johnson’s situation.

Olof had long since given up on finding his parents. His focus shifted away from finding his parents and on to his family; more specifically his sister Sarah. His now 13-year-old sister was as far as he was concerned “his only living relative.” Olof and his sister had never gotten along particularly well before their parent’s accident; however, Olof now felt sense of guilt when he thought of his sister. He remembered what his father used to tell them after they got in an argument: “Your sibling will be the only one that will love you through everything.” Olof now cared about his sister more than anything in the world. He tried to shield her from the dangers of everyday life including their increasingly intoxicated legal guardian. His plans while his parents were alive was to go off to Military school however, now he had not the financial means nor the willpower to leave his sister alone anymore.
Olof’s new life plan was to become an architect that way he could work from home as to protect his sister from their Uncle. Every single aspect of Olof’s day revolved around his sister. If he wasn’t at home making sure their uncle didn’t hurt her, he was studying tirelessly for a career that would benefit her. This hard-working mentality was one that was ingrained into Olof’s personality, however, it was the same trait that could drive him into the ground. High stress levels and anxiety kept him awake at night. He was always tired, and it reflected in his actions. At school, he became violent fighting back against those who insulted his family. Olof was hard-working but it put him in an anguished state.
None around understood Olof’s situation; they thought him a tortured soul unable to cope with the struggles of life. A common occurrence in the city. But there was one man who believed Olof to be just a lost youth in need of direction. Coach Atley thought that giving Olof a shot at the basketball team could be the perfect set of directions.

  Olof made the team easily with his tall naturally athletic build. Olof was a superstar from the beginning; he scored hoops with ease and was seen as a leader among his teammates. He helped his team reach their first State Championship and soon had scouts approach him offering him scholarships for colleges all over the country. At their championship Olof impressed all with an outstanding performance, the adrenaline in his body and the knowledge that his sibling was cheering only pushed him further. Playing basketball brought him a happiness that was unlike no other, and he thought he could make basketball his career. Life seemed to have more vivid colors and the simple pleasures seemed to have received a boost. For this happiness he thanked his Coach Atley tremendously as he considered his options for the future.
However, unbeknownst to Olof his sister had been keeping from him just how violent her uncle had become towards her. Sarah also wished for her brother to be happy and saw that basketball brought him joy which she felt guilty for interfering with. With Olof being away from the home later at night, the Uncle had forced Sarah to learn how to cook meals for him. She had had no previous training of any kind yet he expected her to make the most of the cheap ingredients he provided her with. If she accidentally burned a food item, she would be beaten and forced to wear make up to conceal her bruises. This went on for weeks until one-day Olof came home early from his training; he returned home just in time to hear his Uncle beating his sister. With his now agile body he towered over his uncle, Olof was sent into a rage in which he lashed out against his Uncle; Olof was now stronger than his Uncle due to the rigorous athletic training.   His uncle could no longer beat up on Olof as he had in the years before. The men fought violently bruising each other, and the little furniture left in the home. Once he was tired out Olof released his uncle and turned to investigate his sister’s injuries. While this occurred the uncles heart had been filled with hatred, and his mind intoxicated with alcohol drove him to the kitchen for a knife.
  When the police arrived Olof and Sarah were taken to a hospital, and the Uncle arrested and convicted of child abuse charges. With these charges Olof and Sarah were finally free of their burden and with Olof turning 18 years of age the same year; he could convince the court to release their inheritance from their parents. The Johnson orphans’ problems had finally been resolved.

The author's comments:

I've been reading quite a few old novels lately, quite a few of them pose a situation of siblings in an abusive situation, although I felt many of them had a disconnect between why the siblings care so much about each other. This was my attempt at trying to create that connection.

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