Alone in a Crowded Room
I stand outside in my front yard watching my dog Taco run around and smell the plants and grass. My other dog barks at her because she is small. I look across the street seeing a figure which appears to be 5’8, black hair, brown eyes, and brown skin. A man walks up to him and points a gun at him, and in the blink of an eye he is dead. But no one comes to cry over him, no one shows that thy care. I just stand there watching, as I cry for myself.
“Come on Taco,” we make our way back into the house. Its quiet, but I know that I am not alone. Ryan, 19, my older brother is in the den with some of his friends playing Madden 2009. He is in his second year of college and plays football for USC after receiving a scholarship. I walk upstairs to hear laughing coming from the room next door. My sister Laura, 21, also attends USC, she is majoring in Biology. In the room across from ours belongs to my parents, my dad got his master’s in engineering and is the CEO of his own company. And my mom got her PhD in Psychology and a B.A. in Sociology. She is a Psycho therapist. I feel like I am forgetting something. Oh yea, and there is me, hi my name is Jacob I am 17 years old and a senior in high school. I have a passion for science, the heart for poetry, and the mind for thinking. What most people don’t know is how I feel when it comes to my family, and my inner thoughts about death. But that is a story for another day or is it…
I sit in the hallway against the wall, I feel slightly sad or maybe depressed. I listen to my parents argue about me, there are times where I think I am better off dead. My dad believes that I should be more like Ryan, and play sports because it is going to make me more of a man, he is disappointed in me. My mom at least says that I will find my way; but that my sister and brother combined has more heart then me. She is not pleased with me. I hear footsteps coming up the stairs, and I run back into my room.
“Laura take Jacob to the mall with you,” said Mrs. Moore.
“What? Why?” my sister said.
“Ryan has practice and I am going to a meeting,”
“Mom, I don’t want him to go with me.”
“Look here is fifty dollars, now take your brother.”
My mom walks into my room and tells me that I am going to the mall with Laura. I just say ok.
I sit in the backseat of my sister’s car, a sporty BMW SUV. She got it for graduation. My brother got a Mustang Cobra convertible. It’s a nice car. I stare out the window as she picks up three friends. I hear one of them say “why is he here?” “my mom made me bring him.” I just stared out the window…
I remember when I was 12 and my sister 17, she had a boyfriend who would hit her from time to time. One day I got in his way while he was about to hit her and took the hit. I quickly got up and continued to protect my sister “Jacob get of my way,” he said to me in a harsh tone of voice “this has nothing to do with you,” he barked at me “it has everything to do with me, this is my sister,” I said to him. He laughed while bit his bottom lip. Then he pulls out a gun. Holds it at his side. I brace myself for the worst as he points it at me. His finger sat on the trigger. I waited. Then he turned around and ran out the house. My sister grabbed me and held me tight as she cried. And now she treats me like shit, I wonder if she ever thinks about that day.
At the mall my sister and her friends drifted as far away from me as they could. I just went to the movies and saw X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Not that much action in it, but at least we get know where he came from and why he has no memory of it. I walk around the mall watching people, thinking to myself if there life is any different from mine, have they ever felt what I am feeling. I sit on the bench and wait, as my mind begins to make lines of poetry and thoughts.
I feel her behind me,
Her arm wraps around my neck,
While her head lays on my shoulder,
I see her smile out of the corner of my eye,
She is the peace in my life,
The happiness to my heart,
If I could only tell her,
I like you as more then just a friend,
Part of me feels that she already knows,
Is she waiting for me to make a move?
Is my time…
“Jacob.” I snap back into reality to hear my name being called. I stand up and smile
“Whats up,” I said giving her a hug.
“Not to much just doing some shopping with the girls,” she said.
“What are you getting me?”
“Oh yea you are graduating soon aren’t you,” she said smiling.
“Yep, I can’t wait either.”
“I will call you later on tonight, you better answer.”
“And if I don’t,” I said smiling.
“Don’t test me Jacob.” We gave each other a hug and I watched as she walked away. I never thought that I would have a crush on my bestfriend. I receive a text for my sis, its time to go. I make my way to the car.
Finally on our way home after dropping off her friends, I sit and stare out the window. Until we are home, I go into my room. Taco is curled up on my pillow, and then becomes excited when she sees me. I smile. I lay on my bed, staring at my chemistry set. This was the nicest thing that my dad has ever done for me. We knocked out the wall, pushed it out and made it bigger. Then built a lab for me to work on my science experiments, there is also propane and an oxygen tank connected. I love it. Tomorrow is Saturday, I have to wake up and cut the grass while Ryan and dad play basketball. I change and get ready for bed because I have to wake up early. I lay my head down, close my eyes and then my phone rings. Its Andrea, we talk until we fall asleep on the phone.
Saturday morning. I wake up to an alarm clock that I have set on my other phone. I hear Andrea move while she is still sleeping. Its 6:00am, I am ready to cut the grass before anyone wakes up and begins telling me how to cut the grass. I go outside into the cool air, cut the grass, edge it, sweep any grass down the driveway and rinse it down. I go back into my room, pull off my clothes and get back in the bed. “Jacob,” I hear a loud voice calling me, as my heart begins to race and my door swings open. “Get up, you need to cut the grass,” said my dad. I stare at him “already did,” then I lay back down and wrap myself up in my blanket. I feel his hands on me as he pulls me out of bed “get the fuck out of bed, and do like I asked,” he yelled. “
I got out the bed, put some clothes on. “I already did it,” I said to him as we walked down the stairs. He opens the door and sees that the grass is freshly cut, I stand there waiting for a response, something, anything, but I get nothing. “That’s it, you get me out of bed for something that I already did,” he looks at me “I think you should apologize for that because I told you that I did it and you didn’t even believe me.” He turns to face me, “I don’t owe you shit,” he said “You did what you were supposed to do,” “and you didn’t believe me when I told you that I did it.” He pushes me against the wall, then my bro comes down the steps “lets go play some hoops dad.” Then they both walk out the door. I walk back into my room. Hang up the phone. Take a shower.
If he only knew half of the things that I did about his wife or his son. If he only knew what I can do to him, how I could ruin him. I know everyone’s dirty little secret, and I am the one being treated like shit. I feel like an outcast in my own family, I shouldn’t have to question my existence. If you didn’t want me then why not just get an abortion, then you could have the perfect family of four. Breath Jacob, I tell myself, feels like the same thing I had to do last time…
One day I had left to go to school, I got about half there only to realize that I had forgotten my senior notebook and an essay. I turn around and walk back home. The driveway is empty; everyone is gone off to school and work. I open the door, walk up to my room and grab what I need. I walk out my room, hearing noise I walk quietly to the edge of the top of the stairs only to see my mom having sex with a man who is not my dad. I stand there, I turn around as quick as possible and head back into my room. Open the window, claim on to the roof, close it back and then jump down into the back yard. I take off down the street. That night at dinner my mom couldn’t look me in the eye. Later that night, while I was in bed she came in and sat down “Jacob, I am sorry that you had to see that. I would appreciated if you would just not say anything.” Then she left. I only told Andrea.
A day at the mall with the family, is like being in the school cafeteria at lunch time; everything is separated. And I am left alone; at least when I am at school I have friends to sit with. I stand here alone in a building filled with people. No one can hear my cries. I feel like I have died, like Nicolas Cage in the City of Angels, I am here but you can’t see me. I could use a smoke. A drink. Something to calm my nerves. As much as I like to be alone I hate it. I don’t like being alone with my thoughts. My mind will be the cause of my destruction. “Jacob, hold up dude,” said my brother running up to me.
“Didn’t you hear me calling you?”
“No,” I said.
“Let’s go get something to eat, I am starving.”
“I’m not that hungry.”
“I haven’t seen you eat at all today.” I get quiet. “Lets get some pizza, I know you like that.”
“Aren’t you on some kind of diet?”
“Yea, but I need to eat to build muscle its better then the other way.”
I looked at him, as we walked to the food court; I started thinking about that day…
Sometime ago when I was 15 and he was 17, I walked in on him shooting up. I quickly closed the door and went back into my room. Two minutes later he walked into my room.
“Don’t you know how to knock, what the fuck is wrong with you?” he yelled at me.
“I think, you need to ask yourself that question.”
“Fuck Jacob…” he begins to pace back and forth. “It’s not like…like…I try…I bust my ass to be the best, to be the fastest and stay above everybody. It just never seemed like I could compare to those kids at USC, they are everything that I am not.” We sit there in silence as he paces in my room, tears fall from his eyes, but his anger is greater. “Steroids…I’m taking steroids,” he stops and looks at me. I just stare at him. “You’re not going to say anything?”
“You never wanted my opinion before, so why should I give it now.”
“Cuz you’re the only one who doesn’t expect anything from me,” he said and then turned around and walked out of room, slamming the door behind him.
I laid on my bed, thinking, this through me off, this confused me. I talked to Andrea about it; she just said they are always going to treat you the same, but you need to help him before it’s too late. So, I made him a video and gave him a list of everything that happens to you after taking steroids for a long period of time and then quitting.
We sat down at the table, I got subway and he got a pizza. We were talking and eating, it was different because we haven’t done this since I was 7 years old. It made me a little happy, as much as it made me uncomfortable.
“This is so good,” he said while taking a big bite of his pizza.
“You better slow down,” I said to him.
“I’m good man; you don’t know what its like to not really have too much of this.”
“I can only imagine. It’s better then that other stuff.”
“What…” before I can get my words out my dad comes to where we are.
“I was looking for you,” he said to Ryan. “Come on I want to show you something.”
“Can we go after I am done eating?” we had switched the food.
“Walk and eat.”
He looked at him and then sat down, I never finished what I had said we just sat there and ate. Then he got up to go and get something to eat and then we switched food. He finished his pizza and I finished my subway. My dad got done eating as well.
“Alright let’s go,” he said.
“Come on Jacob,” said Ryan.
“You stay here Jacob,” said my dad.
“Why can’t he come?”
“Because I said he can’t, now let’s go.”
“Dad, let him come so he want sit here alone.”
“I don’t give a damn if he sits here alone, now we have to go.”
I watched as they walked away, more surprised that my brother stuck up for me. He always stuck up for me, always tried to get my dad to love me the way that he loved them. When it comes to my dad I feel like I am the child from another marriage, and Ryan and Laura are his kids. It is time to go. We head to the car. I sit in the backseat. A feeling of sadness and anger consumes me. I feel like crying but the tears want come. I feel like screaming but my voice doesn’t want to be heard. I feel like dying but death is not ready to take me yet. We finally arrive home; I jump out the car and started heading for the door. While I am walking I hear Andrea talking to my parents and giving them hugs. I go inside and head to my room. I lay on my bed just looking up at the ceiling. I hear my door open and close. She kicks off her shoes and then lays with me in my bed, her head on my chest and moving her hand across my stomach.
“You impact peoples lives more then you know Jacob, just because your family treat you this way doesn’t make you less of a person,” she said.
“My mom doesn’t even talk to me unless she is sending with Ryan or Laura. And she is really nice to me when you come around. My dad treats me like I am not his sperm. Ryan seems like he is tryin to get back close to me again and Laura only talks to me when she wants help with her homework.” I said.
“That’s crazy; you need to stop thinking like that even if it is the truth.”
“How is everything going with you?”
“Everything is going good, school is good, can’t wait for it to be over. I just want to know whats up with me and you.”
“What do you mean?”
“Jacob, we have known each other since elementary, dated other people, kissed other people, and yet we always come back to each other.”
“You know don’t you.”
“I have known ever since I started dating Tommy in the 11th grade, and you hated seeing me with him. You just didn’t like him.”
“I didn’t, but you dated him so I dealt with it…Its true, I like you as more then just a friend.”
“I think that we are way passed like Jacob.” She looked up at me, and for the first time we kissed.
7 months later
I just graduated. I decided not to go to a university and go to a junior college instead. My parents were pissed. But I didn’t care. Disappointment was something I always saw in there eyes no matter what I did. No new car waited for me in the driveway. No surprise party behind the doors that I entered. Just a congrats grad card with some money and a teddy bear. Wow. So this is what happens when you go to a J.C. or don’t play by there rules, instead of support you get this. What great parents I have. The rest of the night I spend with Andrea and her friends. Did I mention that I and Andrea have been together for 6 months now? It’s great.
“I hate to say this, but in some way you were right,” said Andrea as she was eating.
“It doesn’t matter; it is always going to happen like this.”
“It shouldn’t be that way though, you do more for them then they even care to know…you take care of Ryan and Laura when they are sick…clean up after her when she comes home puking her brains up after drinking so much…you keep everything inside and to yourself…you don’t ask to be thanked, all you want is to be noticed.”
“They will notice, one day they will open there eyes, call my name and I will not answer because I am no longer there.”
“I really hate when you talk like that…” she said pushing me away from her. She got up from the table and walked outside.
“Jacob, I love you bro but you have got to stop sayin shit like that to her,” said Andrea’s bestfriend Ronnie.
“I don’t see what the big problem is.” I said.
“That’s because you are so used to feeling that way that you never take into consideration about how other people feel. You are blinded from what it’s like to know love from other people because you didn’t get it from where you deserved it most.”
I look out the window. I get up from my seat, go outside. I walk over to her, “I know that I let my thoughts consume me that my world is turned upside down and death in a sense has become my bestfriend,” I stood there looking at her.
“I know that this is completely off topic, but I have to ask you something,” she said.
“One night you spent the night at my house, you were dreaming, talking in your sleep, you couldn’t breath and I couldn’t wake you. Tears came down your eyes and then you calmed down. What was that?” she said.
“I have told you almost everything about my life and what happens in it, but I don’t tell you everything.”
“Is this one of those things?”
“I was 12 years old when my dad first laid his hand on me, I didn’t do anything wrong, brothers fight, Ryan made me mad so I throw something at him. He didn’t bleed our get hurt; it was a pillow for crying out loud. He through it back, and we started going back and fourth with each other. Then he came over to where I was and we started fighting, play fighting. My dad came in and pulled us apart. Sent Ryan into his room, then he told me don’t ever do that again, that Ryan can not get hurt playing around with me. I questioned him. He got mad. I didn’t understand. He got madder. I just wanted to play with my brother. He sent me to my room, later that night he came into my room, woke me up, yelling at me, hitting me, telling me to never question him again and to do as I am told. I felt myself bleed; I felt my blood drip down my face. And yet still I wanted my fathers love.” I said.
“Where was your mom?”
“My mom had just got home after the fact, she saw me in the bathroom just to wash my face, to clean it. She walked into her bedroom, and then came into the bathroom with me. For once I felt like she was actually being a mother.”
Silence spoke in volumes at that moment, everytime I brought up the past it was just that much more off my chest, like I was being freed from the thoughts that stayed in my mind. The emotion that lived inside me was coming out. I didn’t want it to come out to her; I wanted it to come out to my family. I didn’t want the night to end like this, so we went to a club, danced, and had the time of our lives. After that we dropped off her friends. It was my turn. We talked for a little bit in the car, she wanted to hangout since we were both off; I thought that would be cool. I kissed her goodnight. Got out the car, into the house and went to sleep.
The next morning, I wake up to an empty house. I take a shower, get dressed and sit in the den with my dog. She is sleeping, making noise as she has a dream. I am happy. I get myself a bottle of water. It is a nice day. I let Taco outside. I go into my room, look out my window and see her runnin around in the backyard. I walk over to my lab, sitting my water down. I put my goggles on, and begin experimenting. I turn on the oxygen, right before I can finish I hear banging at my door and it want go away. I take off my goggles and answer the door.
“Whats wrong with you dude?” I said.
“Sorry man, is Ryan here? He told me to come by,” said the guy at the door.
“He not here.”
“Well give him this for me, alright and let him know that Mickey came by.”
“Will do.” Then I closed the door. That dude was kind of jumpy I thought to myself. I looked at the opened box that I had in my hands. I looked inside, I couldn’t help myself. Are you fucking kidding me? I took the box into his room, and sat it on the bed. Steroids.
I go back into my lab, picking up where I left off. I can’t believe he lied to me, why? After all this time, why would he go back? I turn on the propane, I am struck back by an explosion, my chemicals start to spill on the desk, fire begins to spread, I try to put it out but it’s not working. Fire all around me, I brace myself and jump out my window. I roll off the roof and hit the ground.
The fire truck and ambulance arrive at the house, soon after the family comes home to see there house in flames. Wondering what just happened.
“Jacob, where’s Jacob,” said Laura. Tears began to come to her eyes.
“We should have never left him, why the fuck did we leave him? Why?” yelled Ryan.
“Calm down Ryan, lets just see whats going on, I am sure that he is ok, he might be with Andrea,” said Mr. Moore. He takes out his cell phone and calls her house.
“Well?” said Mrs. Moore.
“He isn’t with her.”
“Where is my son?”
“I don’t know, I don’t know where he is.”
Ryan runs into the yard going around back, calling out for Jacob, he finds Taco and picks her up. And then he sees Jacob lying on the ground with burns on his body. He yells for help, the paramedics comes with a gurney and puts him in the back of the ambulance. At the same time they are getting ready to leave Andrea is there crying, wondering what happened. She gets in the car with his parents along with her bestfriend Ronnie and goes to the hospital.
Three hours later, Dr. Spade came out to talk with the family “Jacob is in intensive care you will be able to see him soon. He is very lucky to have survived, there are only burns starting in the middle of his back, going to his side, and the middle of his back.” The family asked the doctor a few more questions and then waited until they could go back in see him. The nurse then came into the waiting room and asked for Andrea. She followed the nurse into the ICU, and was led into Jacob’s room.
I am lying in a hospital bed, beeping noise, that’s my heart. I lay here arms wrapped around my side, I know that I don’t want her to see me like this but she has to see me. I turn and look at her, a half smile on her face, tears in her eyes. I reach out my hand; she hesitates but then grabs it. I pull her close to me holding her in my arms. Pain does not matter at this point.
“You’re going to have to see them eventually,” she said to me.
“Why? So that I can hear how it’s my fault and I should have been more careful…I don’t need that right now.”
“Give them a chance; if they fail you again then you don’t have to worry about it.”
“…fine, I am doing this for you.”
“I know.” She laid with me for a few more minutes, then left. I sat there alone with my thoughts I can’t believe that I am in the hospital right now. I started to cry. I closed my eyes and went to sleep, I soon heard voices but I didn’t open my eyes. My mom’s voice entered my ears, she was close to me, and she wiped my face.
“I have to say something…we never should of left him, he is apart of this family just as much as us, we treat him like an outcast and all of us manage to confide in him. He knows more about us then we know about him, all we know is that he likes science and has a girlfriend. And at the same time he knows all our little dirty secrets and he hasn’t said shit about it. We owe it to him to start acting like a family,” said Ryan. “I hate that it takes something like this for us to come together. I hate that he could have died, we have a chance to make it right.”
They leave the room soon after, and I lay there in bed watching TV. Alone, my thoughts can not be formed. And to some extent I was right; my mind was the cause of my destruction. What was in that box no longer exist, maybe there will be a new beginning after all.
We didn’t move back into the house after it was built, my mom and dad bought another one so that we can have a fresh start. By the time I was able to go home everything had been setup in my room. I got to stay home for a while, I was happy to be in my own bed eating better food. Andrea would spend the night from time to time; I liked having her here with me.
For the first time in a long time we all set together and laughed me, Ryan, and Laura. I felt happy at that moment; I believed that things would change between us for the better. No secrets were ever told, no more arguing or feeling like an outcast. You know, sometimes people ask why do bad things happen to good people, and I think to myself how can anything bad happen to bad people if they are already in the shit.
I stand outside in my front yard watching my dog Taco run around the yard and smell the grass, while my other dog barks at her. I look across the street seeing a figure that reflects me. A man walks up to him and points a gun at him, and in the blink of an eye he is dead. No one comes to cry over him, no one shows that they care. I stand over my body, but I don’t cry for myself.
3 months have passed (September)
I haven’t had the feeling of being alone in a long time, everything seems to be perfect, buy you and I know both not that nothing everything is always perfect. I don’t want to sit here and say that this is just a phase and that sooner or later the shit is going to hit the fan, oh wait, I already did. Well, you can’t rule it out giving the history of the family.
I go to school now with Andrea; I am taking 5 classes this semester, Chemistry, English, Math, Philosophy, and Cinema. A lot of people say I am crazy for taking classes like that, but I know that I can handle it given the fact that I am passionate about each one, some more then others. Laura is still going to school, she has been acting different lately I don’t really know what it is. She seems like she is herself but her attitude is kind of different when it comes to things, especially with the people in her life. Ryan and I never talked about Mickey coming over that day, and personally I didn’t want to know the answer if I confronted him about it. There are times where he seems to be having mood swings or being a little emotional though. My dad talks to me a little more, it’s creepy, very creepy. My mom is working hard and pulling long shifts, part of me believes that she is still messing with the same dude or a different one. Andrea is still my light at the end of the tunnel; we have been going strong for 9 months now. It just keeps getting better, we have the kind of relationship where everything is 50/50 no one does more then the other.
I look at myself in the mirror, staring at my new burn marks, it sucks taking a shower at times. I wonder if things would have been different if I would have died in the fire. I play it back over and over again in my mind. I try not to think about it, but I can not help myself. I think of my words, my poetry, and my thoughts.
I stand here looking at my reflection,
Unlocking the key to my soul,
Hiding behind stories that have already been told,
No one can see what I see what I see,
No one can bare the truth,
But I can,
I can see who I really am,
I am a person that has been damaged, scorned, be little, and tolerant of others,
I am a person that chooses to live in peace amongst the chaos…
Fuck. I can’t think straight right now. I go into my room, grab my ipod and start listening to Kutless, they are a Christian rock band, the chorus to there song to know that you’re alive, is what I love the most “Right now you’re bruised and bleeding/ I see the hurt within you eyes/ I know your pain is for a reason/ you need to feel just to know that you’re alive.” It makes me smile.
Time flew by the remainder of the year, I guess that’s what happens when you are busy doing things. Its December now, and I am wondering what to get these people that I call my family. And then what to get my girl, because our anniversary is on the New Year, that’s right January 1st. It’s the weekend so I and Andrea head out to the mall to do some Christmas shopping; I hate lines so I do it at least two weeks before Christmas.
“What are you going to get for your family?” she said looking at me smiling.
“I was thinking about giving gift cards because you can never go wrong with that.” I said.
“True, but don’t you want to give something with a little more meaning? I know that you are waiting for all hell to break loose but give them the benefit of the doubt.”
“How did you know I was waiting for that to happen?”
“I can see it in your eyes, and then how you act when you are around them. It’s like you put your guard up and become uncomfortable because you don’t know what expect.”
“I don’t. I mean it’s been a while since the accident and yes they have changed for the better. But at the same time not all good things last.”
“Oh, so your saying that we are not going to last?”
“Exactly, we want always be boyfriend and girlfriend, one day we will be husband and wife if we ever choose to make that commitment to each other.” I said smiling.
“I don’t like you,” she said smiling.
I never had anyone know me the way that she does, its comforting, she knows what I am thinking and feeling when it comes to certain situations. I took into consideration about what she said with the gifts. I just don’t like the idea of setting myself up for failure, at the same time you will never know until you have tried. Let’s see, first up Ryan, I got him a 1969 ZL1 Camaro model car. Because when we were younger we would always look at cars, collect models, he was into the American muscle and I was into some of the exotic type cars including mot