by Jack Moore
“It’s so loud.” As I lie on my bed, all I can do is listen. The ticking of a clock, the purring of a fan, the voices downstairs…I can’t sleep, but that’s been a problem for a while. I need my clock to know what time it is; my fan is the only thing that gets me through the summer; the voices never stop. I feel utterly powerless and unable to stop them.
One noise is the distinct voice of my mother. Her pitch is lower than most of the women I’ve heard speak. She sounds demanding, as if she has been neglected. It would not surprise me if she felt that way. She’s lived her life with a son who hardly pays her any attention. I can’t fulfill any of the dreams she has for me anyway. Perhaps I should have been kinder, but I feel indifferent to it now.
She’s getting into it downstairs. Whatever frustration she might feel with me, it can’t b worse than my father. He doesn’t spend much time at home. Working every day but Saturday with no breaks would strain a marriage. She clearly thinks he’s avoiding the family. I even think so myself, not that I really care. He’s downstairs only making his voice heard
every few minutes or so, interjecting into my mother’s rants. He is not the loudest, but his voice is strong when he’s upset.
Would it kill him to not work Sundays? Just stop trying so hard to avoid us, and I will be able to sleep well. It’s half past midnight, and I have to be up at six.
Class was awful. Being in my car is the only relaxing part of my day, even if it is just in the school parking lot. At home, my parents are good for nothing but making sure I can drive myself to class. At least I don’t have to walk.
The drive was uneventful, but nonetheless the high point of my day. I could hardly hold my eyes open in first period, even though I had an exam. I misspelled my own name. “Saul” is what I wrote. Perhaps that is a highlight though; most everything else on my paper was left blank. I’m sure I failed.
I tried to nap during my next period. Sleeping in class earned me a three-day detention, but what did I care? I was exhausted. Of course, I did not expect to be woken up so forcefully. That teacher is the worst. Although, I probably went too far in telling him that. I might be suspended for the stream of curses I sputtered out after I was awake.
I tried again to sleep at lunch, but my friend John kept badgering me about why I looked so miserable. I told him to buzz off. He’s a nice guy, but a little too nice for my taste. But part of me wished I had whatever fortitude allowed him to come approach me with such confidence.
I got my test back later that day. it was a C, the most average of grades. I took my disappointing grade and tried to get back to my desk as fast as possible, so I could just get out of that school when it was released. In my haste, I tripped over the foot of my own desk. I knocked all of my work onto the floor, along with my water bottle. My things were soaked and I was humiliated. As I focused on trying to stop tears of frustration, I could hear my classmates snickering in the background. I don’t cry, nor hardly feel drastic emotion anymore, but in that moment, I had reached my limit.
After cleaning my mess, I sat through my hour detention and left. I fled the school to the sanctuary that is my car. I’m exhausted, but feel the need to do something to distract myself. Perhaps I’ll go to that party everyone was talking about today. Not as if they have a guest list, right? Maybe I’d find some satisfaction there.
When I got to the party, most people were drinking. Even I had a couple of drinks, but I was still a wallflower. People-watching is fun, especially when they’re dancing and singing their hearts out. I don’t fully understand how people live so recklessly, but it made me laugh a little. Even then, I still felt like I was missing something. I still was not satisfied with my life, even with that enjoyment. While I was reflecting on this, a pretty girl walked up to me and started a conversation. She was witty and interesting, and talking with her was the closest I felt to fulfillment that night. So, when she asked me if I wanted to hang out at her place in the morning, how could I say no? I feel excited now, as I pull into the driveway of my home. I will find some peace tomorrow.
I forgot that not all things go according to plan. All I had desired, I had gotten. Why do I feel as if I have lost out more than anyone ever has?
I had met up with the girl I met at the party for brunch at a place near her home. Sharing breakfast with a girl who liked me made me feel like a king, a feeling which only intensified after we went back to her home. I left an hour later thinking I had finally been satisfied. How could I not?
I really felt like she and I had a connection. I realized shortly after I left that she did not feel the same. I tried my hardest to understand what she was thinking, and I kept pushing for answers over whatever means of communication I could utilize. It took a little over three hours since I left her home for her to block me. Perhaps I was a bit too forceful, but I really wanted to know what I had done wrong.
I felt out of it after I realized I could no longer talk with her. I went to a park in one of the nearby neighborhoods to be alone with my thoughts. Questions swirled around in my head. Everything has been frustrating recently, but this situation is outright demoralizing. I thought I had found my answer to my problems. Maybe that was the issue, thinking there actually was an answer to my life. Did I think of her as just an answer? If it had been any other girl, would I have done the same thing?
I feel a sensation I have not felt in a very long time. Tears. I am crying. Even if these tears come from my own self-pity, I feel more shame than anything. I let the tears fall, and I feel emptier than I had ever before I made my mistake. It felt like pure agony without any pain I could try to claim as unfair or undeserved. That was the truth. I deserved it. While going through my thoughts and emotions, I did not hear someone come up behind me. He put a hand on my shoulder and asked me what was wrong.
I am finally alone in my room. This day has been a whirlwind of confusion. I am both grateful and embarrassed that John had been there to witness that. That hand on my shoulder was something I really needed.
I am not the talkative type, but when John asked me what was wrong, I spilled everything that had happened. He sat with me and just listened. Getting my story all out felt like it lifted a weight off me. Once I finished, John took a deep breath and told me I had made a massive mistake. That did not make me feel better. But he also said he was there to help me. Simple, but comforting. He had stopped my spiral. This friend-ish person of mine, who I so rudely dismissed yesterday, had done far more than I could ask of him.
After some silence, I opened my mouth to give him my thanks, but he spoke first. He told me he also had issues dealing with his emotions, but he found help in his church. He offered to have me visit tomorrow just to see if it could help me. I was hesitant. My shame pulled me in the opposite direction. I am not religious; I have never really thought about it. I had always heard about how judgmental churchgoers were. Even so, I felt I owed him and accepted his offer.
I still do not know why I felt inclined to accept. Usually, I am averse to the idea of repaying kindness, but I just felt I had to accept. I should sleep. I at least need to look presentable for tomorrow. It is very quiet tonight. The voices are not there, so maybe I will sleep well tonight.
The service was pleasant enough. It was a different experience than what I am used to, but just like most Sundays I am in my home’s kitchen around lunchtime. How odd? Even after doing something so abnormal for my routine, I am still here, in the same place I always am. I feel different though.
I don’t know why I feel different. I thought back to the sermon that morning, when the pastor turned his sermon to grace and forgiveness. I could not keep up with all he was saying, but the idea that even at my worst I could be forgiven brought a smile to my face. Afterwards, I thanked John who was sitting next to me for the invitation to join him this morning and turned to leave. He responded by asking me to come again. I merely nodded my head in response. He was too kind to someone who was so rude to him.
Wrestling me from my thoughts, my father enters through the door. He is home several hours too early. He greets me while I am sitting at the kitchen table, saying he took half the day off. He asked if I wanted a sandwich for lunch since he was making some, and for the second time that day, a smile was brought to my lips. He makes our sandwiches and sits down at the table with me. We sat there for a second in silence, but it was a nice silence. It felt pleasant for once in a long while at home. After that moment, I decided to say something.