Chapter 5. Survival of the Unhappiest
Blood is gushing from my broken nose so hard I’m choking. Breathing is laborious, almost impossible, so I breathe in through my mouth in big inhalations as I run. My body’s aching all over from that fucking bitch. Mother will probably be furious I look like hell and that I’ll need bandages. After all, that’s money she’d rather invest in her own selfish self. I scoff and roughly wipe a bit of the blood away. People scream and jump as I push them out of my way. No time to lose; the cops are surely on my track.
Damn, damn, shit… I don’t want to go back inside.
I just wanted money. Pills cost a lot when your mother buys clothes for herself instead of medication for her son. And your father doesn’t do a GODDAMN THING to stop that fatass. Fortunately, there’s my little sis, Leigh; she’s lovely, a real sun in my life. They don’t feed her enough… so the stolen money’s for her too. She deserves the best. I might not be the best, but I’m what she’s got.
And the voice. Didn’t. Fucking. STOP!
I slap the side of my head, groaning, enraged at myself, at it. It’s ruining my life; it’s ruining me! Everything I care for… everything I want in life. Like my stupid secondary school diploma, out of reach yet so far (only one year, one freaking year!). Trees, pavements, and people, they’re all blurry as I turn here and cross that street.
Until I reach… well, not home per se, but my apartment. There are no good feelings or emotions here. It’s not a home. It’s a prison. Funny enough… Panting and in pain, I force myself up the swirling, metal staircase, one step at a time. I cringe with pain with each step. Finally at the top, (I’m sure it took me 5 minutes, no less), I fling the first door open; it bangs against the railside.
“WHO’S THAT?! WHO’S THE FUCKING LOUD IDIOT?!”
Sweet as always. Wait till she sees it’s only me… Her pathetic son. I really wish I had succeeded at suicide. I wouldn’t be here to hear her nagging, disgusting voice. She wouldn’t plague me, same as the voice. And I wouldn’t have to steal to live a bit of a normal life… Nor would I get beaten up by a girl. A gorgeous girl, but still beaten up.
My keys fall to the ground, my fingers too shakey. I curse under my breath and bend to pick them up. The door opens and I straighten up to look at my father. His brown eyes are wide opened, his mouth ajar. He’s looking at me like I’m a ghost. Gosh, I must be beautiful.
“I need to get in,” I gurgle through the blood, a hand under my nose to prevent the blood from staining the floor.
He nods and lets me in, not a word comes out of his mouth.
Hahaha… You could be dead and they wouldn’t care. Now, you should have cut deeper, Thomas.
“SHUT UP!” I shout, slamming my head again as the door creaks closed.
“Ah great, he’s at it again. No meds, told you,” Mother says from her lazee-boy. Her fat falling in cascades around the chair. She’s ugly, what with her stringy, unwashed brown hair and big acne-filled face.
I hate her, I hate her, I hate them…
Seething, I stumble to the bathroom. On my way I hear squealing and a “Tommy” cried aloud. As fast as I can, I enter the bathroom and close the door. I DON’T WANT HER TO SEE ME THIS WAY! She sees enough bad things.
“Shouldn’t we help him? Call someone?” I hear my useless father mumble.
The walls literally have ears here because it’s a shitty place and all we can afford, so walls are thinner than an ant’s leg.
“TO-M-MY!” Leigh is banging on the door and I’m crying, sobbing. It’s pitiful.
Tears and snot is mixing with blood.
I grab the sink and stare at my reflection in the bathroom mirror. Blood is dripping on my hands, down the sink, staining everything… And I see myself, lying on this floor again, razors fallen a few centimeters from me, my wrists cut, bleeding out.
You should have died. You should kill them all.
I clench my teeth and sway, sobs coming out louder. I try to reason myself. I inspect my wounds.
Yup, my nose is broken, bent and purple. I grab toilet paper in a bunch and plug it in my nose, trying to stop the bleeding. It’s slipping in my throat and I vomit in the toilet. Blood mixed with bile. Amazing.
I don’t know what my mother replied to my father, but I’m pretty sure it went along the line of: “Why care for him? He’s worthless.”
I’m not sure they’re right, not sure they’re wrong either.
I don’t know, I don’t know…!
“Son? Do you need me to call the ambulance?” my father’s voice cuts through the door.
I retch and shake my head, though he can’t possibly see me. I need help, true, but I can’t go. I don’t want to. The cops will take me back to youth centre. No… My sis, she needs me…
I gulp, retch again, and fumble in my stained jeans pockets to find the girls’ wallets. That’ll have to do.
I fling the door open and my father jumps.
“What’s this?” he asks, looking at the wallets.
“Just take it, don’t tell Ma, and feed Leigh. She needs it.”
I hope my narrowed eyes and grim, steady voice do the trick. He nods and hides the wallets in his own jacket pockets.
“I… If you need… anything…”
“We need a lot of things, dad.”
He’s struck at my reply, one of the bravest I ever dared utter to them. I look at the floor, acting coy. I’m not used to telling them what I think. Anyway, it doesn’t matter. They would just incriminate me more.
“Yes, well… What happened?”
I lift my suspicious gaze up. “You don’t want to know.”
My bones are screaming. My stomach wants to turn itself upside down. And I want out. Out of this miserable life. Out of my failed dreams. I had potential… yes… I was a good student, yes… But not a good enough person. No…
I shake my head, shaking some sense into me. “You haven’t seen me tonight.”
Staying here is impractical. I don’t care about them, I just don’t want the cops to alarm Leigh. Speaking of her, where’s she? Wasn’t she banging on the door?
“You’re a mess, as always,” the nastiest voice tell me.
I turn a dead gaze to my mother, who’s hugging Leigh against her bulging chest, turned away from me.
“Don’t worry, I’m going,” I quip as I slip by her, tagging the wall in case I brush against her.
She scoffs and nods at father. “Your son, he’s just like you… Pathetic.”
I turn around at a small gasp. Leigh’s looking straight at me over our mother’s shoulder, her eyes wide as my absent pills. My heart falls into my chest.
Shit, shit! Didn’t want to scare her! Oh, baby.
Her lips are quivering. “To-m-mmy…? You are hurt?”
I swallow with difficulty and shake my head left and right. “Don’t worry, sweetie. Big brother will be fine. He’ll see you soon.”
“Make it not too soon,” Mother says, her voice dripping with venom.
I don’t even look at her, my eyes are fixed upon my sister. I wish I could hold her, play with her hair and be the best brother she can have. But I guess she’ll have to make do with me.
“I love you, Lee-lee,” I tell her, sending her an air kiss.
She smacks her lips together in a vain attempt to kiss me back from afar. My eyes well up with tears and, reluctantly, I leave her behind and get back on the street.
Told you, the girls should have been killed. You’re pathetic, pathetic… No one loves you. You suck. KILL! KILL!
On these awful words, I run away again, hoping to fall into a bush, or hide… or die on the spot.
I know they will find me.
I don’t want to go. But I’ll have to and Leigh will be left alone. Again. I suck at this, at life. Crying both with a broken heart and pain, I limp around the corner and walk far away from this place.
The place most people call home.
I call it hell.