The rage Within

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Chapter 7

I was a skinny kid who grew up in southeastern Michigan. From my earliest memories it had always been just me and my mom, Patricia. We lived in a lower middle class suburb of Detroit for most of my younger years and my mom had very little help in the way of family. I had no living grandparents that I was aware of and my mom had no siblings. I had never even met a distant cousin. I didn’t think this was odd until I was older and discovered that families where typically much larger.

My mom worked extremely hard and made many sacrifices for me. One income and no help with child care is a tall order for anyone, but my mom never complained. Things got a little easier when Helen came over from Germany to live with us full time. I called her Grandma Helen, even though she wasn’t my real grandmother, and not much older than my mother. My mom told me she was an old friend of her mothers who had always wanted to come to America, so my mother sponsored her.

Her coming to live with us worked out great for everyone. She was an extraordinary woman with a knowledge base that could rival a Harvard professor. I was still young at the time, maybe eight or nine, and she was able to impress upon me that school did not in fact suck.

She specialized in art and art history and I soaked up everything she taught me. I fell in love with the masters of the renaissance and learned to appreciate some of the more modern abstract works. If that wasn’t enough she taught me to speak fluent German. She was a great teacher and knew how to make learning more like playing games than studying.

Helen died before I started high school, which was hard on both me and my mom. She had gone back to Germany to visit and was killed in a car crash. She left a void when she passed and I still miss her to this day. She was extraordinary.

Shortly after Helen passed my mom met David Miller. He was the perfect man for my mom and he even treated me like his own son. It was great having that father figure in my life. It was something that I had always wanted.

They got married and David moved us into an upscale neighborhood in the city of Plymouth. We had a great house, I went to an excellent school, and life was good. It took less than a year before David’s true colors came out.

The abuse started slow of course, verbal at first, then the mental, and before long it turned physical. David was a master manipulator and took advantage of every one of my insecurities and fears. He had groomed me to believe that everything he did was because I deserved it.

He never abused my mother, it was just me. David was a large man and had the most intimidating look about him. To a young skinny kid he was absolutely frightening, especially when he was angry. He constantly used the threat of kicking me and my mother out on the street if I ever said anything. The last thing I wanted was to see my mom hurt or sad, so I did as I was told.

In hindsight I should have told my mother right away, but the weirdest thing happened just prior to my junior year of High School. David stopped the abuse, and I mean all of it. He was quiet around me most times, but when he did have to talk he was cordial, bordering on nice.

At the time I didn’t care how or why the change occurred, I was just glad it did. I figured that he had found god, became older and wiser, or had a near death experience. I didn’t know it at the time, but I wasn’t that far off.

I think you could say that the real beginning to my story was when I went to college.

I was accepted to Michigan’s finest University, thanks to Helen and the fact that I was gifted with the proper genetics when it came to memory and common sense. Please don’t think of me as a braggart when I say that I was smart. I had been accepted to the top three Ivy League schools, but chose to stay in Michigan. I guess I felt the need to be close to my mother. Not because I was a momma’s boy, though I guess I was, but I still never fully trusted David and I felt better knowing that I was a short drive away from her.

College life was just as I imagined. Girls, parties, sporting events, and the everyday college atmosphere that I had seen in countless movies. It was everything that I had hoped for and more. Even though I didn’t participate in most of the activities that I just mentioned, I loved the fact that they went on. I hadn’t developed much since high school and I was still somewhat self-conscious and not that outgoing at the time. That being said I still made some good friends and went to the occasional party.

I lived in the dorms for the first year and didn’t mind it for the most part. Dorm life was loud, busy, and full of distractions, but it had its moments. I had always felt like an old soul, as do many who are an only child. I was never sure if it was a compliment or not, but I’ve been told I act far too old for my age.

By my second year I was ready to get out and into an apartment of some kind. The fewer people the better. I was not a complete introvert, but I was very selective with my company.

Before the fall semester of my sophomore year I had looked at several rooms without any luck. It was one flop house after another, or far too expensive. I even looked into a few Fraternities, but that was short lived as I was a semi neat freak who liked things orderly, so frat life was ruled out pretty quickly.

Just when I thought I was never going to find a place I saw an ad for a room to rent in the college paper. It was just off campus, which usually meant it was very expensive, but this one seemed reasonable.

When I got there I thought that there had to be some mistake. The house wasn’t huge, but it wasn’t small either, especially given its location. It was a block from the downtown area, but even more impressive was the fact that the home looked almost new. Ann Arbor is nothing if not rustic and you do not find too many newer homes so close to the campus and downtown. Even the run-down, outdated, about to be demolished houses, were very expensive.

I knocked several times, but got no answer. I was about to leave when the door started to slowly open. As it opened, the occupant was still somewhat hidden behind half the door. He was about my age and wearing a Star Trek t-shirt that matched the color of his wavy red hair. He was heavy set, wore glasses and looked as though you might imagine he would.

He invited me in awkwardly and let me look around. The place was even nicer on the inside. He had all the cool college amenities, such as a great stereo system, a big TV, and some gadgets I had never seen before. The most impressive part was how clean it was. Not just tidy, but bleach smelling clean. If it didn’t have such a large collection of Star Wars memorabilia I would have thought it was professionally decorated. I was impressed and cautiously optimistic that this guy was normal and not a mental case. Ann Arbor is a great city with all kinds of interesting people. The trick is finding the interesting ones you are compatible with.

Lucky for me I had recognized the guy from school right away, as I rarely forgot a face. He was in my Statistics class my first year.

“Ted, right? We had class together every Wednesday.”

He looked a little surprised, but then nodded remembering.

I lifted my hand to shake his and I think that put him at ease somewhat.

“Nice to officially meet you.” I said.

I saw that the TV was paused, as he was starting to watch a movie.

“If you are busy, I can come back later and look at the room.” I said.

“No, that’s okay. I’ve seen this movie a million times.”

“Which one?”

“Big Trouble in Little China.” he said sheepishly, thinking that I might make fun of him.

I gave him a hand gesture that was prevalent throughout the movie and he let out a laugh.

“You wanna watch it?” Ted said.

“Hell yeah, if you don’t mind?”

He looked delighted to have the company and I didn’t mind getting out of the dorm for awhile, even if he didn’t let me have the room.

I stayed and watched the movie and was glad I did. We laughed at all of the same classic lines and even had a good conversation. I thanked him for the movie and got up to leave.

“You can move in right away of you want. Start paying rent the month after next. Is that okay?” Ted said.

“Really?”

“Yeah, if you want too.” He said.

I didn’t want to sound too eager, but I was jumping for joy inside. Especially after what he told me what he planned to charge me. It was lower than was listed in the paper.

“Deal. I will start bringing my things over tomorrow.” I said.

As luck would have it, he was not mental and we hit it off right away. I couldn’t believe my good luck. Not only was the room immaculate, it had an attached bathroom. A college luxury not to be taken for granted.

I figured his family had to be well off, but didn’t find out until much later that he came from a very influential and wealthy family. He didn’t need to rent his spare room out to anyone, as money was never an issue, but I think he was hoping to find a friend. He did.

I moved in the next day and everything was going as planned. For the next year I couldn’t have been happier. My studies were going great, I was meeting people, and even getting out on a date or two.

Then things started to get...strange.

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