I was never one of the popular kids in school; actually, I had no friends. There seemed to be something about me, an aura or something, that kept people away. I wasn’t always friendless; I used to play with the kids from my neighborhood all the time. We would play tag, street hockey, soccer, baseball, all kinds of games. I miss those days. It all changed the day before my thirteenth birthday.
I got into a fight with my parents about something so stupid I can’t even remember what it was about. But I do remember what I said; I said that I hated them and that I never wanted to speak to them again. I stormed out of the house with my parents trying to catch me. Next door, my friends were playing soccer. One of the kids kicked the ball and it went flying towards me.
I kicked the ball into the street where a car ran over and popped it, but I just kept running away. I ran through my neighbors’ yards and up to Altec Rd, a busy street that led to the highway. My parents were right behind me begging me to come back home. I took the first chance I had and ran across the road in between a clearing of cars and into the forest on the other side of the road. I ran to the tree house me and my buddies built. We made a pact that it was our secret spot and we wouldn't tell anyone about it, not even our parents, so I knew I would be safe there.
Every day of my life I wish I had never said the words I said or did the things I did. I wish that I just suppressed that childish tantrum and went to my room to calm down instead of that treehouse. Because after I calmed down and came home, my mom was crying hysterically and my dad was comforting her, I felt really bad and I wanted to apologize but instead I went up to my room to sleep.
That was the last day I had any friends; they were still mad about the soccer ball incident and they must have told everyone else in school to not be friends with me because no one talked to me ever again. My parents didn't even talk to me, I must have really hurt them. So here I am, seventeen years old, a junior in high school, and without a friend in the world. I've grown use to it, though the loneliness still pains me. The lunch bell rang and I headed over to the library.
I used to go to the mess hall and eat with the other kids my freshmen year and I had a few sparks of hope I might actually talk to someone when kids would near my table to eat. But every time there was a remote chance that I could have a meal in the company of others they would stare towards me, no one ever makes eye contact with me, and then just walk away and find another table to sit at. I prefer the library better than the mess hall anyway, much quieter and I've grown to love reading ever since I've been wiped from existence.
I found the book ‘Huckleberry Finn’ placed on the table where I usually sit and it has been years since I read that book so I started reading it. I sat in the library reading the book until I was finished. I skipped my classes for the rest of the day. I knew I wouldn't get in trouble because just like my parents and all the kids the professors ignored me also. When I finished the book there was a half hour of school left, not wanting to go to class I left early.
While walking home I was thinking about Huck and how he ran away and then pretty soon I was thinking about running away myself. I spent the whole afternoon planning what I was going to do. I had no money to my name and no experience at all except at being self-reliant. I figured that it was better than nothing. I figured my best bet would be to head south. If I go past Altec Rd and through the forest there is a graveyard that I’ll sleep at tonight.
It is only eight to ten miles away with the path that I will be taking. I would stay at the tree house if it wasn't so close to my house and falling apart. There is a town fifteen miles away from the graveyard that I will head to in the morning and from there I will figure out what I’m going to do and where I’ll go next.
It's midnight now and I have my backpack packed with spare clothes, a blanket and other items I may need. I slowly open the door to my parents room to give my mom a kiss goodbye, I hear her cry my name at night in her sleep every once in a while. Even though she refuses to speak to me I know she still loves me. I stand over her sleeping body and I give her a kiss on the forehead and hug her goodbye.
A tear rolls down her cheek and she whispers “I miss you baby, why did you have to leave” In her sleep.
I cry. Even though she is sleeping she spoke to me. The first words I ever heard directed towards me in four years. “I’m sorry mamma, but I can’t stand being alone anymore. I need to leave.”
“You’re not alone. I’m always here for you baby. I love you.”
Now you are but when you’re awake I’m all alone. I thought to myself. “Goodbye mamma.” I said to her for the last time. And I walked out of the room hearing a faint goodbye from behind the closed door. I couldn't stop crying as I began my journey to my new life. It has been so long since I heard her speak to me, so many nights I went to sleep wishing to have her tuck me in and say that she loved me.
I've been alone for so long and I could tell by the voice she spoke in that she was alone also. Both of us wanting the same thing but neither of us did anything about it. After about an hour I sobered up and continued through the woods.
I came to a clearing and I could see the gate to the graveyard and some tombstones scattered about. I climbed the fence and started wandering around seeking a place to rest for the night. I tried opening several mausoleums until I come across an unlocked one. I laid the blanket on the stone ground and used my backpack as a pillow and before I knew it I was fast asleep.
“Get out of there you punk!” a raspy voice yelled, startling me from my sleep. I opened my eyes slowly to get use to the bright sunlight shining in. “Get out here now before I call the police on you!”
I sit up, moving my head into the shadow of the old man to block the sunlight, and looked at him completely bewildered. “Are you talking to me?”
“Of course I’m talking to you. And you’re trespas…” He stopped talking mid sentence and stared at me. Not through me like everyone else seemed to do but at my eyes, he even shifted his body to see my face in the sunlight. He closed his eyes and his angered face turned stoic. “I've been waiting for you to show up. I never forget a face.” He said in a soft voice.
“What are you talking about? Who are you?”
His face softened into a sorrow look. “You poor child, you haven’t realized have you? Come, follow me.” I had no idea what was going on, but I did what he told me to. I left my bag in the mausoleum, still stunned that he talked to me. Not only that having a conversation with me. But before I could speak he started talking to me again as I followed him.
“I’m the caretaker of this here graveyard. I dug all these graves myself, and like I said… I never forget a face.” He looked at me, his face full of grief. “It must have been tough growing up all on your own; your face has changed a lot but your eyes are the same…” I was going to ask him what he was talking about again, he must be drunk or something. But instead he motioned me to look at the tombstone we stopped in front of.
JAMES WILLIAM MAVERICK
JUNE 16TH 1982 – JUNE 15TH 1995
BELOVED SON AND FRIEND TO MANY.
Credited to Skoal