Chapter 1- This is my life

Chapter 1- This is my life

A Chapter by Esther Night
"

This is set in the late 1980's and early 1990's in Brooklyn.

"

Nobody wants to be friends with the kid who lives in broken down projects. Especially if the kid has a crazy drunken dad always making up stories. My earliest memories were sitting on my busted up bed hearing the sounds of my parents yelling with a backdrop beer bottles breaking.


"Come on Gina" my dad would scream.


"Bud, I love you too much to see you like this." My mom would scream back.


I would sit there crying, reading Peter Pan. "Come to Neverland, you'll never grow up there."


I would try to be quiet, but my wine always seemed to echo though the small apartment.


"What's wrong with you Jimmy? Why you crying?" His voice would bomb my room as he came in with his drunken eyes, blue like mine, but filled of unknown range.


"Sorry, I'm sorry Daddy." I would cry.


Then he would beat the sorry out of me.


This is my life.


This was the cycle for kids like me, to end up like their alcoholic fathers and abuse their own kids. It couldn't be broken.


I might have been right, if it hadn't been for a school trip to the zoo. The happiest of my early memories.


I was sitting on bench alone eating my half made lurch. Then I heard a scream coming from the pen of the petting zoo.


"Matthew, Matthew" this blonde haired girl called out.


I could've went on eating, but I made a choice that a day. I didn't know what got into me. I didn't know why I did it. I didn't know how much my life would change. I dropped my sandwich and ran. I reached into pen grabbing the first thing that touched me, this pale white arm and I pulled it out.


I looked at a pair of small brown eyes, black curly hair, and a dorky, but cute face.


He straightened up his glasses, "You saved my life. I'm Matthew, Matthew Edwards."


Okay, I know it wasn't really life or death. It's a truly pathetic story actually. However "saving" Matthew was probably the first "good deed" I ever did.


"I'm James, James Hunter."


I went by James. Only my family insisted on calling me Jim or Jimmy even though I hated it.


Then I noticed the perky blonde haired girl beside him.


Matthew smiled at her "This is my wife Alfreda" he chuckled.


A couple of kids playing house. I thought it was cute back then.


"Hey…can…" I started to say and took a breath "Can you eat lunch with me?" I said. I was scared the moment I said it.


"Sure, want some of my apple?" Matthew smiled pulling a bag of apple slices form a brown paper bag.


Then Alfreda (I know what a strange name it meant like elf or something. Her parents were into spritely hippie stuff) gave me an extra juice box that she had. So I couldn't help to like her too.


That is a day will never forget that is the day I met my best friend.

***

The reporter on Matt's TV was doing another story the AIDS virus. Something I never bothered to care about as kid.


Mr. Edwards and Mrs. Edwards were sitting on their couch. Matt stood behind them on the stairway lingering. I rolled my eyes and threw a baseball at him.


"Ow" he grasped rubbing his arm.


"What are you looking at?" I smirked.


He turned away from the TV, "Nothing"


I spent most of my time with Matthew. We had every class together. We read comic books and traded baseball cards together.  Matthew's house was well… really a house, a home. He had a loving family, corky but loving. They were everything that mine wasn't. Mr. and Mrs. Edwards were caring, nurturing, and…sober. His older brother Dustin was about three years older us and always loved rubbing his dominance in our faces. His little sister Mary was annoying but I couldn't help to laugh at her trying to boss around her much older brothers. I would make every excuse I could think of to stay there, any excuse to not go to home.


Mr. Edwards would always offer me a ride home, but I would tell him that I could walk. The Edwards knew where I lived and all. In fact Mr. Edwards worked at the supermarket where some Bud Hunter's famous drunken scenes took place. Mr. Edwards seemed to have always watched me carefully. As a kid I used to think he had laser eye vision, because I could felt his eyes burning into my skin. I just couldn't help to feel he didn't like me. Not that I could blame him, I ate his food, watched his TV, hell I was at his house more than he was. Not to mention every curse word and bad habit his son knew was probably because of me. He seemed to be friendly with me around his wife and kids, but I feared what he would do if we were ever alone together. So I refused a ride, it was always for the better.

***

I walked home through the white trash color scheme: the black color of the sky, the reddish brownish color of rusted pipes, and the very off white color of the bricks. Drunken yells ringed thought out the building, but after all these years their screams didn't really affect me as much. I just walked to my apartment to find my dad sitting on the couch watching TV. His face blankly stared at the old set.


"Hi dad" I nicely greeted him.


He didn't move or talk or anything to show that I was in the room.

I walked over and sat next to him waiting. Waiting for him to talk to me, look at me, or address me in some way. I waited and waited. His only movement was blinking once in a while. Eventually I quietly got up to go bed.

 ***

My mother taught me about make up.


"This is your skin tone, olive fair, you blend it with your fingers like this." She said applying it to my light colored skin to cover my latest bruise.


Then she took a tiny tan color jar and used it on her own purple eye.


"Bobby says boys don't wear this girly stuff." I said looking though the pink make-up box.


"Well it's not lipstick, though raspberry would look amazing on you." She laughed running a hand though my thick brown hair.


"But honey, this is a different type of makeup. It's for a good reason."

She went on. "You can't walk out looking beat up, people will talk or worst they'll take you away." She put down the jar and picked a shiny eye shadow color panel. "And your father would break without you."


"Really?" I smirked.


"Yes honey, I know it's strange, but your father loves you more than anything." She cracked a little smile and fluff her big black hair, she loved having big hair. "That's one of the reasons I fell in love with him…" She stopped herself. "Your father is a good guy he just….he is just..." She paused for a minute.


I picked up a small bottle of lipstick that I couldn't stop looking at.


"He just has problems." She finished as she saw me holding the bottle.


It was bright red with sparkles. Something about it was just so dazzling and rainbow like, it just had something that drew me in.


"You like that one Jimmy?" She asked.


My mom was the only one that I could get away with calling me Jimmy.


I nodded.


She smiled, "It's called Maria red."


"Why?" I asked.


"Why what?" She asked putting on her gold hoop earrings.


"Why did they name it Maria red?"


She smiled at me. She looked a beautiful Italian dancer when she smiled.  "Because the name Maria." She said shaking her shoulders and rolling the r. "Sounds like a woman that's sexy, bold, and fearless. She is the kind of woman that's in control of her life. I always loved that name."


It was nice seeing her excited.


“Mommy...why do we wear makeup?" I asked her.


Her eyes darken "To cover up, to cover up babe."



© 2014 Esther Night


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Esther Night
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Added on August 3, 2013
Last Updated on June 16, 2014

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