Because I Hear the Voices

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Introducing Sean

I was 17 when I found out the truth about who I am. Not the real truth, mind you, but the potential for it. Before this happened, although I considered my life to be very different from the “norm”, I could come up with no valid reason which could explain my curious upbringing. If someone were to ask me about my family life as a child I could answer the whole experience in one simple word, routine. There had always been a strict routine within my parent’s house, which began every morning at 6am with a walk around the neighborhood. This brisk walk took precisely 1 hour, unless it rained; if it rained they used the treadmill and exercise bike and I was able to stay cozily in my bed for an hour longer than usual. Our exercise routine was followed by the news every morning at 7am, which we watched from the breakfast bar as we consumed a healthy, undoubtedly boring, breakfast of bran flakes high in fibre and nutritional value. Then we had to pack our own lunches, take the necessary vitamin tablets with a freshly brewed pot of chamomile tea and then get showered and dressed. After that it was off to school and then on to after school care until one of them could pick me up on the way home from work. Subsequently it was dinner in front of the television to see the news, and then to bed where I was allowed to read until nine pm before lights out.

I always considered my parents to be unnecessarily strict. I was never allowed to stay at a friend’s place over night, I wasn’t allowed to watch television unless they approved of the program or movie and I wasn’t allowed to go out with friends without parental supervision. I felt as if I was being monitored constantly, and it didn’t occur to me that I had no privacy to speak of until I was five, when I visited my next-door neighbours Timmy’s house, and found that he, like almost every other child in the known universe, had a door to his bedroom.

My bedroom was my sanctuary from the overly structured regiment of my life with my parents. Whereas the rest of the house was strictly clean, tidy and respectable, in my room, disorder reigned free. I never knew if the masses of clothes on the floor were clean or dirty, because the only clothes that made it to the closest or laundry basket were my school uniforms. (These were the only items of clothing I wore that got ironed; otherwise I went for the shabby-sheik look, much to my mother’s disgust.) My bedroom had two windows, one that faced the front yard, and one that looked right into my next-door neighbours’ teenage daughter’s window, not that I ever looked over there…

I had one old secondhand desk that supported a very old secondhand computer for my homework assignments, which I lovingly named, ‘hunk of junk’. The shelf above my computer was dedicated to the action hero’s that I had collected over the years, all of which were displayed in small glass display cases, which were probably the only things I had dusted in the last four years. The only reason I was allowed to own this collection was because I convinced my mother that this was an investment proposition, which appealed to the accountant within her.

I had only two posters on my wall, both of which are of my favourite band, and the only reason I was allowed to have these posters on my wall was because my best mate had bought them for me for a birthday present. Both of these posters hung next to my single bed in the far left hand corner of my room. The only other things in my room were a chest of drawers pushed underneath my favourite window, a bedside-table with an alarm clock and a lamp, a dining room table chair, and a photo of my family hanging on the wall.

I do not consider myself to have had a deprived childhood; I always had clean clothes, the necessary school equipment, a present given at every birthday and Christmas and of course, new shoes brought for me every six months (well I grew into exceptionally large feet). My parents might have not been overly affectionate towards me, but I felt I was cherished in an obsessive, over-protected sort of way. The fact is I don’t think that my parents knew how to show their affection for me, and I only began to discover why that was on the 11th August 1996.

I must admit here that all my life I have hated Mondays. The beginning of the working week has never been a favourite of mine, mainly due to the fact that I hated school with such a fierce passion, and have carried on with the distrust of that day into my adult life. That particular Monday had begun just like every Monday that had preceded it, with a dark mood hovering over my head threatening to engulf me with sincere and devastating depression.

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