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Change in Tune
I’m sitting in the center of a dark room, all alone in silence. The only light comes from an elaborate chandelier hanging directly over head. It has exactly seven candles, all of them casting a sickening orange glow. In truth I’m scared and confused. How is this supposed to help my ‘behavioral issues,’ as my parents and teachers call them? I told them that it’s just stress, and they expect too much from me. It’s not like I tried to kill my parents on purpose, they drove me to that point. It’s their fault – entirely.
I’m assuming you want a back story. Without a back story you may not be able to comprehend the actual story. I’m having trouble comprehending it myself. A few weeks ago I was sitting at my desk, doing my homework like a good child. I have to concentrate and study really hard, because despite my efforts I can never get above a C average. So I was doing my homework and my dad came home, half-drunk as usual, telling me to clean the house until it was spotless. I didn’t say anything. In fact, I didn’t even acknowledge his presence. He came over to my cluttered desk, and said:
“Do you hear me, boy?”
“Can’t you see I’m trying to do homework?” I replied aggressively.
“Who you gonna listen to, me or your teachers?” he said threateningly. “You’re teachers don’t have the right to hit ya, but I do. So get up from your desk, and do what you’re told.” Meanwhile, he was waving his half empty liquor bottle around menacingly.
Now you must know something about my father. Whenever he’s out and around people, he appears perfectly sober. His face is clean-shaven, his teeth are white, and his jet black hair is always neatly combed. When he’s home or by himself however, it appears that he is a perfectly different person. His words slur, his hair is in disarray, and he has the worst temper. But I’m not afraid of him – not anymore.
“No,” I said calmly. “I am going to finish my homework, and then I will clean the house.”
I wasn’t surprised when he hit me on the top of my head with his bottle, but all I remember after that is waking up in my bed. Mother was tucking me in.
“Mom,” I said. “He hit me again.”
“And why did he hit you, sweetie,” she asked.
“Because I told him I had to finish my homework before I cleaned the house.”
“Well maybe next time you’ll listen to your father when he tells you to do something. It’s not proper to disrespect your parents,” she said passively. “Good night, love you,” she added. I didn’t reply.
My face turned red. After all these years, she came to accept the fact that I would be hit, and she didn’t do anything about it. She didn’t truly love me. I felt the huge bump on the top of my head, and I decided I would have to take action once and for all. It would be the only way to end all this torture.
That night I got out of my bed, and went out to the garage to get the lighter fluid and the lighter. As soon as I got the items, I tiptoed up the stairs as slowly as possible. If my parents woke up, there was no way I could lie my way out of this one.
Needless to say, my father appeared out of the bathroom, and saw me. He knew what I was trying to do, and a sense of dread came upon me.
“What’s this?” he asked concerned. It was unlike his usual demeanor.
“I – I was trying to burn myself.” It was the first thing that popped into my mind. Thankfully, he bought it. But I also got myself a thorough beating and two-hour therapy sessions twice a week.
That’s where I am presently. This is apparently a psychiatric trick or something to get me help. I’m not the one who needs help, I tried explaining. But as I said before, no one believes me.
As my thoughts conclude, I suddenly hear faint music. It sounds like – like a baby mobile. I try to get up to find the source of the music, but I forget I’m strapped to an antique chair. I close my eyes; it seems like the natural thing to do. All the sudden images flash through my mind. I’m in a cradle. Mother is rocking me while father looks on with loving eyes. We all look so happy.
The music changes to silly and nonsensical tunes. ‘The Wheels on the Bus’ and ‘The Itsy Bitsy Spider’ keep repeating though my head. I remember playing with my toys, and learning my letters. Mom and dad were so proud of me. I felt a sense of longing. I wanted to go back to that time of innocence and happiness. It seemed to me that all was lost.
The music changed again to pop, the music of today. I see myself drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana at parties. I feel ashamed. I see me parents looking on with sadness, trying everything they can to get me out of this deep, dark, never-ending hole. My heart hurts and tears fall down my face.
The music turns to heavy metal. Screams and bangs can be heard, as I am in a gang. A gang? That hasn’t happened yet. But then I realize I look a bit older in this scene. This must be my future. I have a gun in my hands, and I shoot someone. I don’t even know who it is, but when I see his deathly pale face as he tumbles down I realize it is just a boy. I had – no, I will – kill a child. How is that possible? I would never.
The music changes once more to funeral music. The organ plays heavily as I am sitting in an alleyway, taking a gun to my mouth. A bang goes off, and the next thing I see is my parents looking down at my casket, crying uncontrollably.
I open my eyes. It is too much for me to bear. I look above and all the candles on the chandelier are burnt out, the smoke rising slowly to the ceiling. My eyes go to a light source in the corner of the room. It is a door opening. The therapist comes in first, unbinding me from the chair. My parents follow, and we look back at each other with tears in our eyes. I run to them and we all hug each other in a long embrace.
“It’s my fault,” I say through my sobs. “I was the drunken, drug-addict, life-waster. You guys were doing everything you could to help me. I realize that now. I’m so – I’m so sorry.”
A burst of tears comes from us all, and they tell me it’s okay, and that we’re going to start over. It’s time to make a new life for myself, and a new life for them. I realize now that I was blaming everything that was wrong with me, on my parents. Their perfect souls had to suffer for my demonic one. But everyone has the capability to change – even myself.