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abandonment issues

abandonment issues

A Story by bob, small b. aka invs
"

this is another exercise from a writing group. the picture was posted and we wrote stories inspired by the picture.

"

 

Abandonment issues. That’s what the shrinks say I have. Who wouldn’t have abandonment issues after having been abandoned over and over when growing up? Parents abandoned me, leaving me at relatives, then relatives abandoning me at the orphanage. Later in life it would be foster parents, friends, lovers, wives, children. They are all gone now and I feel as empty as a discarded bucket, full of holes. Or one of those refrigerators you see abandoned down an embankment on a back road no one ever travels.

 

The doctor says I need some closure. That’s what led me back here to the Israel Booth School for Boys. That’s what it used to be called. I called it the orphanage. Sometimes I called it hell. Oh, it wasn’t so bad really. No abuse to speak of. No “more gruel, sir” neglect. We were taken care of in a sort of benevolent indifference. No hate. No love. We were fed. We were clothed. We were scrubbed clean and paraded in front of prospective parents when the need arose. After a while, after you gave up your illusions that your parents would come back for you in a shiny new car loaded with toys and clothes, after you gave up the idea that new parents would come and take you away from all this, after you gave up to the idea of ever leaving there, it wasn’t such a bad place really. Making friends was difficult. Boys came and went. You didn’t want to become too attached. At least I didn’t. More abandonment issues, perhaps?

 

Well, anyway, here I stand looking up at the formidable façade of the Israel Booth School for Boys and it’s not nearly as formidable as I remembered it. Oh, it’s still impressive, but what I had remembered as a huge institutional building was actually an old cream colored brick Victorian mansion. Empty now. It seems it had been empty for some time. The wood around the windows was rotted and sagging. Windows were broken. Paint was gone. It was a sad shadow of what it once was. The front door was open and I peered though the torn screen door before venturing in. I’d forgotten the heat. One of the reasons I’d called it hell. There was no air conditioning. No fans. Only some of the windows opened. I felt the sweat running down my back before I even entered the old building. The only accommodation that was made for the heat were the screen doors on every room. Although they allowed for no privacy, in the deep south in the dog days of summer privacy was the last thing on our minds.

 

I walked through the front door, breathed in the musty air, looked around, then closed my eyes and let the feelings wash over me. I heard the sound of leather shoes on hard wood floors. I smelled the ever present mildew. I imagined stern faced teachers and prefects guarding the halls. I could almost taste the bland, but ample food from the dining room. I remembered the anticipation of visiting days. Who would be getting parents? Who would be leaving hell? I felt the afternoon heat and the welcome breeze that flowed down the central hallway.

 

Then I opened my eyes and I saw……myself. The hall mirror stood opposite me and I caught a glimpse of myself. A sad empty man standing in a sad empty house. And I had my closure. There is a sort of cosmic symmetry to things, you see. For what this house had caused me to become, it became itself. A shell of what it once was. A shell of what it could be if it had anyone to care for it. It was empty, neglected and, sadly, beyond hope of ever being repaired.

 

Abandonment issues.

© 2008 bob, small b. aka invs


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Featured Review

Oh God! Is this my future? Will these thoughts stay with me forever?

These were my thoughts as I read through this story. As you might guess, I, too, share this background. At the age of twenty, I've not had the opportunity to return to 'that place' in life. My life was complicated further in that I ran away.

For me, you resurrected all of those feelings I experienced back then. You were effective in that I could see, taste and feel my former life in the group-home and trial placements. You are quite skilled at writing, and I hope for the world's sake that you keep writing for a long, long time.

Susan E Jorge

Posted 13 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.




Reviews

Another aspect of this story, which seems to have eluded me two years ago, was the summation paragraph, analogizing the unloved, uncared-for house to the unloved, uncared-for child, the dilapidated and sagging structure to the sagging hulk of a man beholding himself in it's must and torpor. I am forced to ask whether this is all a self-fulfilling prophecy, though: was his perception of the house as larger and finer than it was, from his child's point of view, destined to make his future reality smaller and plainer in it's actuality than his imagined future? A real think piece, Bob, a weeper, for sure.

Posted 9 Years Ago


Echoing the words of other reviewers, this was a strong, pungent piece of writing that only a bonehead could fail to empathize with. Not one sentence was gratuitous or written for the mere purpose of flair. Solemn applause all the way around. I look forward to exploring your other works.

Best,

CFB

Posted 9 Years Ago


As always you write with a perfect pen .. every word seems to have its specific reason for being there.

Your description of your early life were so clear .. like a series of paintings .. no frills, not excess or melodrama - just clarity. What a cold existence, certainly not a life.

The final paragraph is near heartbreaking in its way .. 'A sad empty man standing in a sad empty house.' closure or not .. that sent a sharp chill through me ..

A hard to forget piece of writing.

Posted 11 Years Ago


So well done I was right there. Had a tiny tear for you and
it all; just everything at once that is not a regular childhood
for the innocent and eager to be loved.

I used to be a shrink myself and would prefer to call
abandonment issues PTSD.

You are a great writer. To the point yet eloquent.

Thank you for this fine read,
Jack

Posted 11 Years Ago


So I wonder: Is it worse to have had no parents, or to have had those who might as well not have been there? I never, as a child, felt abandoned, though I would have appreciated sharing the time my Dad spent with his jet-jock friends, drinking...then again, that small fraction of time we did share was rarely enjoyable! Despite that, more than one shrink has suggested that might be why I act as I do, and why all my preferred occupations are solitary ones...
Your closure passage was amazing, where he realized that the old house where he experienced such fear and doubt was, in the final analysis, just a house; that the past was dead, and deservedly so. The strong implication was that, though the house could NOT repair itself, he could, if he chose to.

Posted 11 Years Ago


Oh God! Is this my future? Will these thoughts stay with me forever?

These were my thoughts as I read through this story. As you might guess, I, too, share this background. At the age of twenty, I've not had the opportunity to return to 'that place' in life. My life was complicated further in that I ran away.

For me, you resurrected all of those feelings I experienced back then. You were effective in that I could see, taste and feel my former life in the group-home and trial placements. You are quite skilled at writing, and I hope for the world's sake that you keep writing for a long, long time.

Susan E Jorge

Posted 13 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

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Dug
A picture painted so well that I feel like I've been there.

Posted 13 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


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7 Reviews
Added on July 25, 2008
Last Updated on August 6, 2008

Author

bob, small b. aka invs
bob, small b. aka invs

WI



About
my name's bob. small 'b'. a hold-over from my e.e. cummings stage of writing. i just never went back to reclaim the capital B. or the capital letters to begin paragraphs and sentences. no significance.. more..

Writing