the story of James T. Sullivan: water stain

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic
A young man who lost everything he never had.

Submitted: February 04, 2016

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Submitted: February 04, 2016



As a teen James T. Sullivan stood about 5’6” and weighed about 110 lbs. with the frame of a wrestler. He had a tan complexion year round do to the bit of American Indian he inherited from his mother. From the Irish side of his father (so his Mother always said) he inherited strong facial features with a strong jaw line and a small dimple on his right cheek when he smiles, and his teeth are straight and white. He has little to no pimples on his face for a teen and a smile to die for (so he’s been told). His eyes are of a rare color of dark brown and olive green with a hint of black.  His hair is mostlyjet black with a hint of dark red, which he always kept short and trimmed.

James was born and raised as an only child in Magna, UT, where he lived with his mother in a rundown old house that always seemed to smell of stale cigarettes and cheap bourbon. He attended grade school, Jr. High and High school in the Granite school district. He was an average student with average grades. Even though he kept to himself he had one friend which he’s known since grade school. The way they met was by chance, but that is a story for another day.  While in school he did his best to stay to himself and never really tried to stand out, but of course there was always a bully trying to pick on him. Which for James it never really bothered him that much because even at a young age he understood that bullies usually had a hard life at home. James knew the burden of that all too well. His mother was a raging alcoholic and a constant abuser of pain pills, who seemed to resent him because of what his father had done to her even though he never knew his Father. Since before James could remember he has always had to take care of his mother and himself. He regularly did the laundry, dishes and cooked every day for her and all he ever got in return was a nightly beating.  James tried his hardest to please his mom and be the son she wanted.  Unfortunately he didn’t realize until the day she died that she never wanted him in the first place. Every morning he would be woken up with a beating if he did not have her breakfast ready once she woke up from being passed out from the night before of binge drinking and popping pain pills. Monday through Friday after making breakfast he would head to school and mind his own business, do his work and dread the moment when he would have to head home. He would do his homework, cook dinner, clean the house all before his Mother would come home from work; in hopes he would not receive his nightly beating before bed. On weekends he would sit in his room and read trying to stay out of his Mother’s way in fear of provoking a beating.  For many years James suffered through this routine.

One Saturday night when he was about 17; after his nightly beating for not putting the toilet seat down, James laid in his bed staring at the water stain on his ceiling, wondering if his life would ever be normal. All of a sudden out of the blue James had the urge to pray, he’d never really done it before and it seemed odd, only because he didn’t know a whole lot about God, but from what he’d learned on TV.  James decided to give it a try anyways, “what’s the worse that could happen, people gonna think I’m crazy?” James said to himself as he chuckled.  James sat up and swung his legs over the bed and tried to straighten his sore body, he sat there for a minute trying to block out the noises of barking dogs, police sirens and the neighbors fighting  about god knows what this time. He started to think about how the people on TV prayed, but to no avail. Instead he placed his face in his palms like he did every night to hide his crying from his mother and started talking about everything on his mind. This was something new to James for he never spoke his mind for fear of what his mother would do to him if she ever found out how he felt about her. Even though James loved his mom he also had a deep hatred for her, but was afraid to admit it to himself.  As he sat there crying and pouring his heart out into his palms, James realized that he did have a hatred for her and promised himself that he would never allow her to hurt him again. To this day I could not tell you exactly what he said during his moment of prayer; I’m not even sure James can remember, but whatever was said seemed to appease the urge he had in the first place to pray. He laid back down closed his blood shot eyes and fell asleep with tears still rolling down his face. The following morning, James openedhis eyes to see the same water stained ceiling as always, wondering if he should get up and risk waking his Mother.  After about an hour of having to use the bathroom and hearing his stomach growl he decide to get breakfast made before she woke up. After using the bathroom that always held the distinct odor of mold and vomit, he shuffles to the kitchen and quietly starts cooking.  After he had breakfast complete he walks into the living room to wake his Mother and notices the complete silence, he momentarily wondered if he had lost his hearing, until the neighbors started their morning argument. He rolls his eyes as he says “Good morning Mr. and Mrs. Gonzales” with a slight chuckle. The stillness of the room quickly brought his attention back to the abnormal silence.  As he walked closer through the empty bourbon bottles on the floor towards his mother he notices there is no rise or fall to her chest. He stops and calls out to his Mother “Mom are OK?” after a moment of no response he tried again but a little louder “Mom, wake up breakfast is ready” with still no response after a moment  he decides to move closer to check her pules like he’s seen in the movies. After not being able to feel a pulse, which he wasn’t even sure he had done it right he decides he should call 911. As he was calling 911 he thought to himself “Man I hope she is dead cuz if not, the ambulance will have to take me to the hospital”.  About 15 mins later the ambulance and the police show up. James sat at his kitchen table with a blank expression on his face as an officer began to tell him the news of his Mother and to James’s surprise he was more focused on the stench of rotting food coming from the garbage can. Without realizing it James said aloud “that smells like the meat loaf I made last week”. The officer paused and looked at James with a confused look “Son are you ok”? “Did you hear what I said? Your Mother has passed away”. James slowly moved his eyes from the garbage can and looked at the officer, and with a concerned look on his face said “What happens to me now?” The officer placed his hand on James’s shoulder with a firm grip and told James”DCS will be here momentarily to take you into custody and probably put you with a foster family or an orphanage till you’re 18 son”. James shook his head in understanding. He then went and laid on his bed and stared at the water stain on his ceiling like he did for many years, till DCS showed up and took him away from the only house he knew. As James walked out the front he thought to himself “Hopefully I will never have to smell stale cigarettes, cheap bourbon and the odor of mold and vomit again”.

As James walked to the sidewalk he caught himself smiling at the trees as they were swaying back and forth in the wind, and with every little gust of wind he would catch the sweet smell of perfume coming off the blond haired woman walking up to him from DCS. While giving James a reassuring hug, the blond woman says to him, in a soft tone of voice, “Everything is going to be ok.”  “I know” says James as they continued to the car. As the blond women opens the door James hears a voice behind him “Umm excuse me I’m looking for James T Sullivan?” James, a little shocked, spun around to find himself looking at a young man riding what looked to be a motor powered bicycle.  With a confused look on his face James said “Yes sir, that’s me.” The man then hands James a clipboard with some paper work to sign, so James signs it and the man gives him a letter. As James stares at the letter with a dumbfounded look on his face, the blond woman reads over his should and asks “Who’s Allen R Sullivan?”

James replies “I don’t know”.To Be Continued…







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