Freedom | Teen Ink


February 23, 2013
By Lbehentz, El Paso, Texas
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Lbehentz, El Paso, Texas
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Favorite Quote:
Love me when I least deserve it because that's when I really need it.

Author's note: In my Physics class, we watched the movie a beautiful mind. I absolutely loved the movie and have been inspired since then to create something similarly dark and twisted. My creative writing teacher handed us a piece of paper and told us to write a story using what was on the paper as our starter sentence. What started out as an assignment, turned into a book. She encouraged me to add more to it and turn this little assignment into something greater. So here's Freedom.

The author's comments:
This book doesn't have any chapters really, it's more of a short story, but was enough words to make it a book, so here is the book/story.

People ask me all the time if I could do it again, would I do something different? My answer is no. I don’t’ like to think that what I did was a mistake. I don’t want to live the rest of my life as a regret. And I don’t. I don’t think people really understand the situation I was in. I also don’t think they would have done something different either. What I did was humane. It was justified. Some could call it manslaughter. I call it saving a life.

Lydia had always had something different about her. Her perspective on things was different. But it took me just a little over 18 years to realize it. My wife passed away, giving birth to Lydia, so she was my whole world. Lydia meant everything to me. Anything she wanted, I would do my best to provide it for her. Because of my career, I wasn’t always home. I guess you could use that as my excuse for not noticing her off sense of nature. But to me, that’s not an excuse. That’s a pathetic one if anything. Every time I looked into those blue eyes of hers, and watched her brush her blonde hair away from her face, all I saw was this beautiful baby that I got to bring home alone from the hospital. Every now and then, she would talk about this Colson character, but I never met him. I guess that was a red flag. She would always talk about how handsome he was. His dirty blonde hair and beard that sat on his face, his green eyes that changed color with the amounts of light and what color shirt he would wear, the glasses that hid his face from everyone else but hers, and the broad shoulders that would make her feel safe and secure. I had seen a sketch once, but that was all. It wasn’t until a month ago that I really understood.

I walked in her room, with my FBI jacket on and a clipboard in my hand. My assistant, Helen, stood by my side for support. “Now Lydia” she began “We’re not here to punish you. Just tell us what happened.” I looked to her and saw no sparkle in her eye. That sparkle had vanished around age 3 when, she started becoming very closed off and introverted.

"He should have never been there in the first place. It's his entire fault!” Lydia began. “I told him to stay at home. I told him to leave me alone. He's not my dad. He's not my boyfriend. He has no control over me. He can't dictate what I do and what I don't. It's all over now anyways. All that's left to do is sit by my window and watch the rainfall, and wait for him. Wait for a second chance. I had it all. Money, love, and time. Time. That's what I miss the most. Time. Sitting under house arrest kills me. I have all the time in the world and yet, not enough. I have to finish what I started. Mark is counting on me. Meet me in the ally he said. Bring the stuff he said. There's nothing more satisfying than feeling the adrenaline rush through your veins. That was my motive. That was my reason. An assist in murder? Me? Sure, that's what you could call it. I call it freedom. Freedom from rules, regulations, boundaries, and Colson. Colson. That poor kid. There was a time we loved. But that's over. He can't accept the fact that I don't anymore. And yet, maybe I do. Maybe that's why I'm reckless. I would do anything to see him again. He would stop me, and I would get to see those striking green eyes, pick my soul apart and understand everything all with one look. Mark is mad. So I’m mad. I met him in the ally at midnight and brought the revolver, just as he asked. But Colson showed up. Stop he yelled. Lydia you're better than this he said. The way he said my name fills me with life. My cold heart beats but doesn't bring life. It only sustains it. The plan to kill, the plot to murder is all over now. Don't you see? It was his fault. Not mine. I didn't attempt murder! Pre-meditated on it, yes, but I never attempted. So take your clipboard, and your car of FBI officials and leave."

Lydia leaned back in her seat with her arms at her side. She was thinking. I knew she had more to say. More she wanted to say but couldn't. I stood there and looked at her. Only 18 and yet, still just a small child in my eyes. She seemed helpless. She seemed as if there was no reason to live. Helen called me out of her bedroom where Lydia sat empty and broken. "There's no record of Mark Thorn, or Colson Smith at all. They simply do not exist." Dumbfounded I looked at Helen and then at Lydia. "Sir," she continued, "She is mentally insane. She will be classified as schizophrenic and sent to an institution." My daughter. Gone forever both physically and mentally. I never imagined I would have to file a case involving my own daughter. I knew once I joined the FBI as a single father it would be hard, but I never imagined it to be this hard. "Would you like to say your goodbye?" Helen asked as a man entered Lydia's room, to escort her out. Goodbye? I thought. This would not be the end. I would not let this ruin everything I’ve done for the past 18 years. She was my baby girl. I remember vividly bringing her home form the hospital: beautiful and perfect. She was my Lydia. When she was five, she had imaginary friends, like most kids. I didn't question it. She wasn't very social in school. Always played by herself and her imaginary friends. I didn't question it. She was my little girl then. She was my whole world. But it seemed I didn't know who she was anymore. This monster has taken over my baby, my life.

"No." I told my assistant firmly. My thoughts echoed the words "I will get you back." I watched the van take her away. It was raining harder than ever. No color in the sky, and no color on my face. I'm not sure what consumed me that day: hate, fear, anger, love, sadness, or even a mixture of all. I love the rain for many reasons, but the main reason is this: you can cry all you want and no one can tell you're crying. No one can see you're hurting, because the rain covers it up. "I will get you back Lydia.” I mumbled. “My baby.” I shuffled inside the now empty and quiet house. Up the stairs, straight ahead sits what used to be her room. On the wall, sketches, hung of Colson, Mark, and everyone else Lydia ever came into contact with. A few pictures to the right, a man stood strong and tall. I looked at the portrait of myself. No doubt entered my mind. Lydia had a gift. Through her darkened sense of reality, she found a way to express herself. She found light. Under the pictures, were long lines carved into the wall, hidden. Her bed sheets were ripped to shreds. Her dresser stood on three legs instead of four. How could I be the sane one, and not notice all the pain she was going through? How? I wish I could fathom. I hope one day I might.

I grabbed an empty bag from the hall and stuffed everything I could inside: clothing, pictures, escape money, passports, and a revolver. I zipped the bag shut, and walked to the front door. Molly, our dog, came running towards me. Looking at me with her big, brown eyes, she seemed to know. Quietly she lay down at my feet, hoping for my mind to change. I looked around the house, furniture and memories still intact. My eyes welled up with tears. I shut them and wiped the warm salt water away from my face. I would not let weakness overcome me. One day we may return Lydia. I thought. One day. I turned around and walked out the door, leaving it all behind.

Days passed, before I got to the institution. Never had I ever been on a journey as long as this one. Each day, my heart rate sped up a little, and my lungs seemed to close tighter and tighter. Once I finally reached the institution, my head flooded with thoughts. I reached for the duffle in the back of my truck. Slowly, I unzipped it. My fingers found their way to the gun. Tightly they wrapped around it, and took the position to shoot. I had to tell myself that murder wasn’t the answer to let go. I didn’t intend to do what I did. I only wanted to protect her. I slipped the gun under my pant leg, and walked up the steps of the institution. The outside looked like a jail. All the windows were barred, and the grey exterior matched the pain that was locked on the inside. I could hear screaming and wailing, coming from the inside. I can still hear the shrieking to this day. Inside, nurses in grey walked around. No white could cover the amount of sin that took place in the institution. I walked up to the receptionist and asked to see my daughter. The receptionist was in her late 30’s, but looked as if she had just hit 50. A scowl painted her face, permanently. “Down the hall, first door on the left.” She said blandly. It took her no time at all to tell me where my daughter was located, as if she had to tell others where to go. Two guards escorted me to her room, and waited outside. As I walked in the room, Lydia sat in a corner with a sketchpad drawing; escaping. The room was dull. No color. The walls were full of carvings and pictures. Just like at home. Lydia sat there; unaware I had entered the room. She sat in a white and grey nightgown. White seemed to fit her perfectly. I always thought so.

“Lydia.” I began. Her blue eyes looked to mine. They seemed duller than the room. Not as lively as usual. “Dad!” She exclaimed. In that instant, she arose from her chair and ran to embrace me. Hugging her felt so good to have my little girl in my arms again. “What are you doing here?” Tears ran down her face. “I…” I stuttered. I looked at the door; the guards were still there. “I’m here to break you out.” I whispered. “You’re going to come back home and live with me again. Wouldn’t you like that?” “Yes, dad; very much so. But how?” I took one look at the guards, and knew what I would have to do. We walked out the door and said we were going to take a walk outside. Closely they followed us. They were always one step behind. They always will be. Once we got outside, it wasn’t that hard to escape; one punch here, and two punches there. Then we ran. We ran fast, but for a while it seemed hopeless. We were trapped in what seemed to portray paradise with it’s green grass, and white lawn chairs. 6 feet tall stood a chain-link fence. Quickly, we climbed. Security guards chased us with dogs. I was surprised that Lydia jumped the gated fence before me. At the top of the fence, I sat and watched as nurses rushed patients inside the prison cell, and guard after guard came out. I lifted up my pant leg and pulled out the gun. 3 shots were all it took to slow down the chase. It only took 3 shots to define my escape. I hopped off the top of the fence and ran. I grabbed Lydia by the wrist, and pulled her in the car. We drove for hours. Hours of knowing we were being followed; hours of knowing we were not yet alone, and hours of not knowing if there would ever be freedom.

Finally, we came to a cabin that was hidden safely from in the woods. We had lost the cops and security guards. We were no longer under chase, but under hiding we had to stay. “This isn’t our home dad.” Lydia said. “I know, but we have to stay here; where we can’t be found.” I could see the disappointment in Lydia’s eyes. I could tell how desperately she wanted to be back home, but I couldn’t go back for fear we’d be found. I guess that doesn’t matter now, but I felt helpless. I couldn’t make her comfortable. I couldn’t help her. I didn’t know how.

As days passed, I started noticing her mannerisms. The way she would make everyday conversation. The way she would walk. The way she would sit in a corner and talk to herself, or to Colson rather. Even though she would tell me time after time that she was happy to be with me, I could tell there was no light in her eyes. She seemed dull. One night, I remember watching her sleep. Only then did I see Lydia as herself. That’s when I fully realized that she was only free when she wasn’t awake. She could actually be herself. She was comforted. Her dream state was her reality. Not this lukewarm world we call home. There was no confusion, or pain or suffering in her dream world. Try to put yourself in her shoes. Have you ever wondered if your reality was different from what others perceived? Have you ever wondered if maybe what you saw was not what others saw? In a world like that, there is no absolute. There is no truth. There is no sense of security, or rather a false sense of security. All you have to live off of is your mind, yet if that’s corrupted, then what have you got to live for? How can you live in a world like that? How can you truly live? Can you? You can only escape. For only moments of her life, Lydia was free. Only while she was asleep, was her mind able to comprehend reality. They say your dreams tend to solve all your problems. This is true for Lydia. For me, I didn’t have to go to sleep to know what I had to do. I walked over to the duffle bag and picked up the revolver that only had one shot left. My hands shook, and my knees trembled. I walked over to the corner where Lydia was curled up, asleep and free. Tears rolled down my face as I put the gun to her head. “Goodbye.” I whispered. “My sweet, sweet, precious girl. May you be free from here on out.” One shot was all it took.

For most people, when they have a dog that’s old and living in a sick miserable state, they put their dogs down. That’s considered humane, but what about a human? Is that not the same? Is that not humane? I know one day I’ll see Lydia again. I’ll get to hear her laugh again. I’ll get to see her eyes light up with joy. But for now, she is free. She is no longer trapped in this world of confusion, and chaos. She is awake in her sleep, never to have to miserably go through this life. She lives in her death. And in her death, I live. But until I see her again, all I can do is sit here in my cell, trapped, and await my freedom; just like Lydia.

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