Most people enjoy the sunshine and being outside in the open, fresh air filling their lungs, feeling the warmth of the sun on their skin.I’ve never been one of those people.
It’s difficult to explain. I have always craved to be by myself, for people to just leave me alone and let me be. The thought of going outside, my feet touching the grass, bugs flying over me and the sun burning my pale skin has always been something that triggered panic attacks.
It didn’t help that my parents forced me to play outside, to jump in puddles after a rainstorm, to climb trees, riding my bike and run around with the other kids in the neighborhood. It broke me, psychologically it broke me.
Each time we would have an ‘episode’ as my parents called it, it broke out into a fight. Both my siblings and parents wanted me to play outside and be ‘normal’. All I wanted to do was be in the comfort of our home, watching television or poking around on the internet. I loved reading, I loved writing screenplays and building make-believe stages. I had no desire to be an actor or comedian, I just wanted to be behind the scenes.
No one understood me. I was completely alone.
One night at the dinner table, my parents insisted that I speak to a therapist. They made arrangements for doctor Pelgrim to come to our home. She was beautiful and friendly. She made herself comfortable on the light-brown suede sofa and wrote something in her notebook. I stared at her without saying anything. She stared back, smiled and then wrote something else.
“Do you know what is wrong with me yet”? I asked and studied her face for a moment. She looked up from her notebook frowning. Her lips, covered in red lipstick parted, as if she wanted to say something but closed them again while writing something else in her notebook. Finally she looked up at me, still frowning. “William, why do you think there’s something wrong with you”? She asked.
I stared at her. I sure hope my parents wasn’t paying her whole lot, she was a therapist after all. If my parents and half of the town could see there is something wrong with me, how could she not? I didn’t answer. Instead I stared out the living room window to where my siblings were playing on the tree-swing.
“William, you need to come to the realization that there is nothing ‘wrong’ with you. This is just the way you are wired. You are different, the way you think, the way you act, it’s all different. That doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with you”. She looked at me with sympathy in her eyes. She was right. I was just different. There wasn’t anything wrong with me. She got up and headed for the door.
“I will see you next week, same time, same place” she called over her shoulder before she sprinted to her car. I sat in silence for a while, staring out the window, not a hundred percent convinced that I wanted to be different.
My mother came into the room, looked at the empty chair and then at me. “Where’s Mrs Pelgrim”? she asked. “Did you scare her away”? she scolded and hurried out the front door. Did I? But she said that she would be back next week? I was confused. I could see my mother crying and my father hugging her. They were arguing, again. I didn’t want to be different.
My brother Charles came through the backdoor, he stared at me and then laughed, I could hear him calling me a freak under his breath as he headed upstairs to his room. I was not a freak, I was just different.
I ran up to my room and locked the door. I wanted to be alone. Mrs Pelgrim was right, there is nothing wrong with me. Anger started to build up inside of me. My parents, my siblings, I was going to show them how wrong they are about me. My fingers started typing on the black keyboard and for the next two hours I researched every website I could find.
Mom finally called us all downstairs for dinner and I made my way to the dining room table. I took my usual seat and mother dished mashed potatoes, roasted pork and green-beans. Father said a prayer and we ate in silence. After dinner, Mary-Louise helped mother clear the table and Charles went with father to the living room to watch television.
I put on my coat, a hat and two pairs of socks and gloves and headed for the shed that stood behind our house. Father kept his garden tools hidden away but I knew where the key was. I took what I needed and hurried back inside.
After what seemed like ages everyone headed upstairs to go to bed and get some rest. I went to my room and prepared myself for what I was about to do next. There was nothing wrong with me, I was just different. Why couldn’t they understand that? I took care of mother and father first, it was bloody and they screamed. Charles came running into the room to see what was going on but I took care of him as well. Mary-Louise came running down the hall and stopped in her tracks when she saw me. She cried and reached out to me to hand over the shovel. I did. I loved Mary-Louise and her kind hearted nature.
The police came. There was blood everywhere. The detective took me to the station and now, now I’m staring out my window overlooking a concrete yard. Do I miss my old life? No. I miss Mary-Louise but she visits me often. Mother and Father came to visit once but Charles is still angry. They are all moving away. I got what I wanted.
There’s nothing wrong with me I am just different.