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It was plain and simple, I hated her. I know that most kids my age just say they hate their parents and really don't mean it. But this wasn't the case for me. Not for Jimmy Wetzler. My mother, Joanna Wetzler is no saint. On the contrary, as I discovered last night, she's a beast disguised in woman's clothing. But only I could see her true self. That fake smile didn't fool me. I saw right through that innocent act of hers. Yes sir, I saw what she really was. And trust me, it wasn't something a son wanted in his so-called role model mother.
“Jimmy,” my mother called in that nasally voice of hers. “It’s time for dinner Jimmy. Come down and eat something. Please!” I didn’t want to answer. After all those years of yelling downstairs to my mother, I was just sick of it. She had to understand that I was 14, and it was about time she let me live my own life. But, for my mother, the concept of independence was foreign. She didn’t understand what I went through every day at school, but then again, no one understood me. “In a minute Joanna,” I yelled back. “Just leave me alone.”
“You said that three hours ago,” my mother nagged. “If you don’t come down now your dinner will get cold. Please come down,” she pleaded. “I said I’ll be down in a minute,” I retorted. “Anyway, why do you care whether I eat or not. You don’t care about my health. Not one bit. You wouldn’t even care if I dropped dead this minute.” And then there was silence. Dead silence for what felt like an hour.
That’s when I had realized what was happening. I heard footsteps slowly trudging up the wooden stairs. Now look what you’ve done, I said to myself. She’s gonna come up and let you have it. Each step brought pain to my ears. The sound of her heels resounded that piercing noise that comes from a fork being scratched on a plate. I jumped out of my bed and ran to the door. I heard my mother getting closer and closer. I couldn’t let her come in, I just couldn’t. I instantly locked the door, keeping in mind how close my mother already was.
“Jimmy?” she called out in that artificial voice of hers. “Jimmy, I love you, please come out.” She took a deep breath. “I’m sorry about last night, but that’s all behind us now.” How could she say that, I wondered in amazement. Last night wasn’t something that you forget just like that. When your mother does something that terrible to you, trust me, you don’t forget it. “It’s not behind us,” I screamed. “It never will be. What you did….” I couldn’t even find the words. What happened that night was beyond cruel. You couldn’t just say “sorry” and expect me to forget it. No. Last night was unforgivable.
I went over to my bureau and picked up the green book entitled, “How to Deal With Your Inner Self.” I turned to page 48, still eying the door just to make sure that my mother wasn’t going to break it down. There was a small package taped to the bottom of this page. I ripped it open and poured out its contents: two cigarettes, one lighter, and a small dagger. I thought this was as good a time as any in view of the fact that my life would never get better anyway. I rolled up the bottom of my pants and stuck the knife in my left sock. Then I crawled into my bed, cigarette and lighter in hand. I hadn’t had a smoke for a long time. Nevertheless, it was like riding a bike. It always comes back to you. I flipped open the lighter and lit the cigarette with a quick flick of my hand. That first puff was sensational. All the stress and anger I had built up over these past days vanished. I had even forgot what I was so angry about.
Several minutes passed as I stretched out on the small bed. These were glorious minutes in which anxiety and stress were replaced with pleasure. But as they say, good times never last. For there my mother went again. “Jimmy!” She now sounded desperate, almost scared. “Jimmy, I smell smoke. You know I forbid smoking in this household.” “I don’t give a damn about what you forbid,” I shrieked. “This is my life, not yours. GO AWAY!!” I really couldn’t take it any more. I was going to kill myself if this back and forth arguing continued any longer. I stormed over to the door and swung it open. My mother was standing there, patiently waiting. She put her arm on my shoulder, but I pushed it off without hesitation. “I knew you would do the right thing in the end,” she said happily.
“The only reason I opened this door was”… well, I actually didn’t know. I guess deep down, beyond all that hatred, was a boy who needed his mother. A boy who couldn’t live without his mother, for he didn’t have anyone else to turn to. But, I wasn’t going to let her know that. “I opened the door to tell you that I hate you.” “You don’t really mean that Jimmy, you love your mom. Come down and we’ll rent a movie that we can watch together. Remember Jimmy? Like we used to do every night when you were younger?” I remembered. For the past seven years, whenever I came home from school my mom and I would rent a movie to watch after dinner. We would laugh and laugh until our sides hurt. But that was when we were a family. Until last night, when that bond we once had was broken.
“What do you say Jimmy?” I thought for a moment about this woman. She had long, auburn hair that fell all the way down to her hips. She was wearing a purplish-blue dress (a little too tight for my taste) with black, 4-inch heels. It’s true, she was a beautiful woman. But this was only her disguise, and it didn’t fool me one bit. “What do I say? I say go to hell Joanna. I don’t want anything to do with you now, and I never will. When I’m eighteen, I’ll be out of this house before you can even say goodbye. Joanna, I hate you. Just accept it. My thoughts about you will never change no matter what you do. You’re not my mother Joanna. Just a stranger. An old, worn-out stranger who doesn’t know the first thing about her own son.”
I suddenly pushed my mother aside and ran down the long, winding stairway. “Jimmy, come back,” my mother pleaded desperately. But I didn’t stop. I just kept running and didn’t turn back. I was heading for the basement where I would lock the door and remain there until I died. I ran past corridor after corridor, ran through door after door until I stopped dead in my tracks. I had reached the basement. On the wall to the side of the basement door hung a picture of my father and me playing baseball. Oh, what a wonderful man my father was. He knew everything there was to know from science to sports. He was the only person in the world that truly knew me. Unlike my mother, who pretends to love me. No, he wasn’t like that at all. As a matter of fact, we could be playing baseball right now if we wanted to. We could head on down to the big field up the road. Yes, we could do so many fun things, if it wasn’t for what happened last night.
“Jimmy, I’m not joking,” my mother exclaimed. Come to me this minute, or else I’ll…I’ll….” Did she honestly think this was a game? I was about to commit suicide, and she had the nerve to pretend it was all a game. As I said before: a beast disguised in woman’s clothing. “What are you gonna do Joanna?” Do you actually think you can threaten me? Because if you’re trying to scare me into doing what you say, well just forget it.” I put my hand on the door handle leading down to the basement. After taking a deep breath, I pushed the door open with all my strength. There lay a dark, empty room with no windows and only one door. The perfect place to cut yourself off from society.
I slowly walked into the depressing room and looked around. But, there was nothing to look at. The walls were bare, the floor cold, and the ceiling was covered in spider webs. “Jimmy?” my mother whispered. Joanna was just outside the basement door, hands on her head. And then that’s when I realized that I had forgotten to lock the door. How could I have been so absent-minded? I sprinted to the door, only to see my mother squinting into the dark room, frantically trying to find me. I had reached the basement door, and was now facing my mother. “Jimmy,” she cried out in excitement. “Yes mother, it’s me. Jimmy’s right here. But not for long.” I slammed the door in her face and locked it so that she couldn’t get in.
“I’ll be dead soon Joanna,” I said loudly. “Jimmy, think about what you’re doing. We can get through whatever issues there are. Believe me, I can help you. Just please unlock the door so we can talk about it.” I didn’t answer. I would never answer her foolish remarks anymore. I went over to the far wall and sat down. For a minute, I was actually happy. Down here, in this dark room, I was finally alone for once. There was nobody here to tell me what I could and could not do. In a way, regardless of how foolish, I was my own man now. And then there was a sudden bang on the door, followed by another bang and another and another. “Jimmy,” my mother yelled, “If you’re not coming out then I’m gonna come in. Even if I have to break this door down.”
Are you kidding me? I was finally happy and my mother was ruining it. What kind of a mother wants to keep their son miserable. I desperately looked around the bare room for some means of escape. I couldn’t go back to living with Joanna; I just wouldn’t be able to take it. And there came another bang. Any minute now Joanna would have broken down that wooden door, and then I’ll be right back where I started. And that’s when the unimaginable happened. I spotted a faint glow, as if something was slowly forming on the back wall. A blue mist rose out of the wall, creating a sort of hand shape. It slowly grew a wrist, fingers, and fingernails, just like a human’s hand. It stretched out its index finger and beckoned me to come to it. I was hesitant at first and just stood where I was, frozen. As the bangs got louder, the finger became more insistent. Finally, I couldn’t take the suspense any longer. I had no idea what the hand was or where it came from, but I didn’t care. I jumped forward and grabbed the finger. Just as I grabbed it, my mother succeeded in breaking down the door. But it was too late now. Nobody could save me.
The mysterious hand had somehow taken me behind the wall. I was now in a glass room, literally. The ceiling, floor, and all four walls were made out of glass. I didn’t know what to make of it, but all that mattered was that I was away from Joanna. I walked over to the front wall (also made out of glass) and peered through it. I could see the entire basement from head to toe, including my mother. She was running around puzzled, frantically trying to find me. But the best part was that I couldn’t hear her. She was yelling her head off, and I couldn’t here a thing. I smiled to myself and walked over to the center of this heavenly room. Slowly, I put my head against one of the walls and began to close my eyes. I pulled out the second cigarette from my pocket and took out the lighter at the same time. I was about to light the cigarette when a faint buzzing noise filled the glass room. It slowly grew louder and louder until I could distinctly hear it. At first, it was simply annoying but soon the sound changed into what sounded like a high-pitched yell. I covered my ears with my hands, hoping to block out the sound, but it didn’t help. It rapidly grew louder and louder until eventually I was banging my head against the wall, praying that it would stop.
I got up and ran to the front of the glass room. My mother was still there, pacing around the basement. I called out, “Mom, mom help me.” But, she just kept pacing. I tried yelling again, “Mom! Mom!” Nevertheless, she couldn’t here me. The buzzing had now become unbearably loud, and I just couldn’t handle it. I frantically looked around for any means of escape only to find my reflection all around me. I stopped for a minute and looked at my reflection. I was going insane. My face was bleeding from the constant banging against the wall and my eyes were filled with terror. I looked into the basement one last time, just in time to see my mother leaving to go back into the house. I yelled after her, praying that she would hear me. But of course, it was useless. The buzzing was now excruciating. My ears felt as if they were on fire.
And then I remembered the dagger that I had hidden in my sock. I slowly rolled up my pants and unsheathed it. With one thrust I plunged the knife into the center of stomach and pulled it out. Instantly, the buzzing went away. The fear was gone. The pain was gone. I was finally alone, with no one to tell me what I could and could not do. I was cut off from society. Free at last.
“Doctor, what’s wrong with him?” Joanna inquired. “Is my baby going to be okay?” “Ms. Wetzler, as you know, your son has been in this catatonic state for a few days now. We’ve performed various tests, and well, it looks like he won’t be waking up.” “So, that’s it?” my mother asked miserably. “After fourteen years, he’s just gone? Just like that? Are you sure doctor? Couldn’t there be some kind of mistake?” The doctor didn’t answer. He just looked at her with a solemn face, and she got the message. “Oh, my poor Jimmy. He was such a good boy. He just had a few problems, that’s all.” “Well, Ms. Wetzler, we don’t fully know what caused him to go into this unresponsive state. That’s why I called you in. Your son kept mentioning something about his father while he was sleeping. Did anything happen involving your husband that may have traumatized poor Jimmy? Anything at all?”
My mother walked over to the chair by my bedside and sat down. “Oh...um, well a few nights ago, Jimmy’s father disappeared. He claimed that he was going out to see a few of his friends, but he never came back. We called the police, but nobody knew where he was or if he was even still alive. She looked up at the ceiling as if she didn’t want to face the doctor. “Oh, well then, that must be it. His father’s disappearance was just too much for him to handle. Thank you for your help Ms. Wetzler, you better be going now.” Joanna got up and grabbed her purse off the table. She headed for the door, but quickly turned around remembering her manners. “Thank you doctor,” she said calmly and walked out the door.
As she pulled into the driveway, she quickly jumped out of the car. She unlocked the door and headed for the kitchen. There she dropped all her stuff down on the table and sat down. After a deep breath, she opened a small drawer hidden beneath the kitchen table. There lay a picture of my father with a bloody knife on it. She took out the knife and wiped it off with a paper towel. Then she took out the picture and stared at it. “If you had only listened to me Ralph, you would be alive, and our little Jimmy would be okay,” she said softly. “But it’s too late now. You’ve disappeared. Or at least that’s what everyone thinks. Only we know the truth Ralph, only we know what actually happened.” She put the picture and knife back into the drawer and locked it. “Good night Ralph,” she whispered. “Pleasant dreams.”
Cornish, New Hampshire
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