A Quick One
What do I know? I know about awkwardness. That’s as much as I know about. People walk around all finding it easy to converse, wearing their smiles like it comes so easily. Me, I need to practice that stuff. Had to be taught it from a young age. I could feel my body taking in new things, but never really understanding them - only doing them because I was told they were the right things to do.
Age nine, walking around MFI with my family, my sister told me off because I was scratching my balls. Why? I thought. My balls are itchy, and the guy showing us the kitchen probably couldn’t see.
Age six me and a friend had a conversation; he told me about a girl he hated called Pippa. I said, casually, “why don’t you kill her?” When he realised I wasn’t joking, he told me that murder was bad. I realised that until then, I had thought of killing as something that was just done to bad people. Blame the murderous Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles (now renamed Ninja in the UK - no idea why they were ‘Hero’ in the first place and I can’t be arsed to google to find out why).
Age twelve I hit a girl in the playground on the head because she was being mean to my friend. She was called Lucy. When she started crying, I remember saying “Oh, come on” and hit her again. An intervention by the teacher would have been beneficial, but no teachers were around. Subsequently, when she cried in a way that let me know she was really hurt, and really upset, I garnered it from the sound, and watched her run away. The fact that she was too scared of me even to tell a teacher about it still haunts me. For the rest of my time in primary school she became quieter, and I never once apologised.
Secondary school I used to pick on a kid because he was a Christian. Usual things: pouring drink down the back of his trousers at lunch, kicking the football at him during lunch... by this point, even I knew there was something else at work here, some force that no longer felt like it was me. I would go home and tell my parents what a nice day I had, and believe it. It was only when I went to bed that my mind would come to life, voices would haunt me from the day, cries and whispers, all entreating me to sit up and remember, and do something to myself as punishment, because nobody else in the world seemed to be willing to do anything.
So I took the knife to my arm and cut. When I first did it, I thought I was doing it as a joke, because I’d read about teenagers doing it to themselves. I thought they were silly and meaningless. I decided I wasn’t doing it for the same reasons as them. I wasn’t really doing it, anyway. It was just a thing that happened, and the scars on my arms afterward would probably go away.
One evening I looked at my arm and saw what a mess it had become. The point where I cut into the scar tissue to see what would happen was the point where my mum walked in and screamed the house down. I wanted her to be angry, to tell me what I was doing was silly, and that I was naughty... I even wanted her to laugh at me. Anything would have been better than the tears and the embrace. I didn’t want any of that. I wanted someone to shove me into the light and hold me up to all my sins.
Instead I got home schooled. My mum decided that school was making me this way. For the next two years I sat at home, losing whatever friends I had, losing whatever will to live I had left, wishing and hoping that it might all come together somehow after this was over, that going to college might change things round. Those two years I felt parts of my brain come away. I looked at things on the Internet that I knew I would never forget. The cutting stopped, replaced by a new will to die: computer games. I played, but it wasn’t really playing. It was a duty to the hatred within me to make everyone I played against as miserable as I was. To bring someone to tears was the ultimate victory. In those moments, I lost whatever regrets I had over the things I had done, over the girl who I had hurt in primary school. She was gone, in the past, never to be seen again.
The first day of college let me know that I had wasted my life waiting for it. I was ignored, and rightly so. My ego shone through like a boil. I was not here. Whoever I was had departed. There was only this shell, a remnant.
Deciding to kill myself, I logged onto my computer one last time. A Facebook friend request. That never normally happened. It was from Lucy Hearst, the girl I had fucked up in primary school. She probably wanted to add me, tell me I was a wanker, and then unfriend me. Fine. I deserved it. I accepted it, and waited for her to come online. I said ‘hello’ and waited for the semi-illiterate stream of abuse.
Hi, how ru? Long time :) she said.
Im ok ty. You?
Not bad ty.
Hope u dont mind me asking but y did u add me?
I was mean to you.
There it was. It was out there.
In primary school. I hit you.
Yeah i remember
There was a long pause. I guess it was now or never.
That’s ok. I’m surprised u still remember lol
I do. It was really mean. I dunno what i was thinking
You were a kid its fine
Is it really? Ar eyou just being nice?
You’re just being a bit intense :P
Sorry. I’m just expecteing you to say something like ‘ure an arsehole’ and then unfriend me
Well, i’m not. I just want edo tsee an old school friend
You think of me as an old friend?
Even thouh i was mean?
You were only mean once. You were ok otherweise. Dw about it! :)
Lol but what
You really dont think i’m a mean person?
Well i dont know u that well, i dunno what uve done since. Killed any cats?
Err lol no
Then ure probably ok
I stared at that for a moment. ”ure probably ok”. It was lacking in proper grammar or punctuation. Incredibly basic vocabulary. And yet it was the nicest thing anyone had said to me, apart from my parents, who had always been nice to me just because I was their kid. I was probably OK. Maybe I was OK.
Thanks, that means a lot
That’s ok :)
Then came some stuff I look back on as childish immature stuff, where I got all hyper-emotional and thought I was in love and asked her out and eventually scared her off but, for a moment there, I was OK. I would never have a conversation with her again, but she remained a Facebook friend - and somehow, that was all that counted.
As for me, I went on. Didn’t cut myself as much, did some bad things, did some good things. But, I guess I turned out alright.
I’m Morgan Freeman. This was my story.