My Very Own: (16.12.2010)
First day of college:
‘I remember...I remember my first love...I remember... Somehow or another, the whole damn thing went wro-‘, the second hand music-player, went on at seven in the morning.
A seventeen year old boy, from his bed, without even opening his eyes or lifting his head, turned off the player, to stop the alarm, to gain a few extra moments of sleep.
“Jimmy! Time to get up!”
Half hour later, another alarm went up, this time, a live one. The forty year old mum...
“Five more minutes mum” cried Jimmy, as he tried to open his eyes, to see the gentle warm, sunlight, coming through the window, over his bed. Each morning, he needed a few minutes to understand the time, the day, think of the events and the work he had to go through that day, before he actually got out of the bed.
‘So, this is it...First day of my college life... New friends, new atmosphere, pretty girls and of course boring studies...Now to get up, find my tooth brush and make my mouth clean, for that special smile.’
Five minutes later...
‘Now for some bath time’ the boy entered the bathroom, removed his clothes and searched for his soap. As he bathed, he felt some tickling sensation behind his back. He tried to feel his back to see, what it was, but his hands could not reach it. He picked up a brush and tried rubbing it over. Suddenly he felt a loud, hard slap on his back.
“Jimmy! Wake up boy! You are going to be late for college. Dad is waiting for you downstairs” his mother slapped him on his back.
Jimmy realised that he had not even gotten off his bed yet and all his brushing and bathing were his dreams. He suddenly understood that he was late for college and he got up. His mother stood near him smiling.
“You are getting late dear, now get yourself ready. You don’t want to miss the first day of your college.”
“Yes mum, I will be downstairs in just a moment”
Jimmy got his tooth brush, went into the bathroom and ten minutes later, he was all ready. He took a brand new set of clothes from his closet. He wore it and stood before the mirror for a few moments, admiring his own reflection. He took out a brand new bag, placed a couple of books, he got from the college, just a few days back and he ran out of his room. The large spacious house with all the new furniture, his parents bought a few days back, gave Jimmy a wonderful feeling.
On the table, a plate was setup, with bread, eggs and bacon. A glass of orange juice was kept nearby. Jimmy’s father was peacefully reading his newspaper, neatly dressed for work. Jimmy sensed a new flare in his father’s face and something was definitely different about him. He seemed fitter and more handsome than Jimmy had always known him to be. Something else seemed strange about him, but Jimmy could not understand what it was.
“Good morning Jimmy! My brother is looking handsome today.”
Jimmy’s beautiful sister ran to join them, on the table.
“Hey Minnie, you are looking gorgeous. Amazingly beautiful...Something is different about you today,” Jimmy sensed something strange and new about her as well. She seemed extremely familiar to him...Of course she was his sister, but there was something else...something very different yet familiar about her.
“Oh really? Do you think, Jake from school, will like me?”
“Who’s Jake?” their father stepped into their conversation, at the mention of a boy’s name.
“Relax honey, Jake is a very good boy”, Minnie and Jimmy’s mother came to the table from the kitchen, with a plate full of cookies.
“I think you should bring him home Minnie. I would like to meet him myself. If your mother says he is good, then he really must be”
“I will invite him for dinner tonight” said Minnie excitedly.
“What about you Jimmy? You have a girl friend who we do not know about?” asked Jimmy’s father.
“Me? Girl friend? No...No definitely not”
“He probably will find one today” smiled his mother.
“Are we really talking about this now?”
“Look at him mum, he is blushing”
The four of them had their breakfast, happily, peacefully, in a way that Jimmy had for long, longed for.
Once done, Jimmy’s father led him and Minnie, outside to the garage.
“Son, College is a bit far from home. I and your mother thought, you might need some wheels.”
“Dad, you bought me a new bike?”
“Bike? What are you? A school kid?” Jimmy’s father laughed and opened the garage door and to Jimmy’s surprise, a brand new red convertible car stood inside. He did not for some reason understand what model or which company the car belonged to.
“Dad, you didn’t”
“Oh yes I did. It’s all yours son”
Jimmy ran hurriedly towards his new car, his heart filled with joy, happiness and excitement. He opened the door and sat inside. Minnie and her father stood to the side of the car, beaming towards Jimmy. Jimmy started the engine and carefully moved the car out of the garage and onto the streets.
“Son, the sky is getting dark. And I have some work in the office. Could you drop your sister off in her school?”
“Sure thing dad, anything for you guys”
“Minnie, are you willing to risk your life, travelling with your brother?”
“I trust my brother more than anyone else Dad. I can sure go with him. I’ll go get my bag” Minnie ran back inside the house.
Little drops of water began to come down from the sky. Jimmy pressed a button and the roof of the car slowly appeared, covering Jimmy fully. But the drops did not seem to stop. In fact, Jimmy felt loads of cold water, crashing all over him, drenching him from head to toe.
“Wake up Jimmy! How many times do you expect me to come and wake you up? Do I not have any other work?” yelled Jimmy’s mum and he slowly opened his eyes. It was all a dream...again.
First day of College...For real!
Jimmy was wet all over and the coldness of the water made his teeth chatter. He should have known he was dreaming, when the weather changed, from bright sunlight, when he woke up, to dark rain clouds, when he got into his car, within a few minutes time. It was all like a cheesy movie script, happy family, cheerful conversations, clean, bright interiors and an expensive car...things that couldn’t be expected in Jimmy’s routine life.
“You better get ready right away or you’ll have to walk to your college” Jimmy’s mother yelled at him and walked downstairs to the kitchen.
Jimmy sat there, horrified by the sudden act of his mum and her yelling, not to forget the tension of reaching his college in time. With all this in his mind, he sat there without doing anything for a few moments. He looked around and saw the old house he was living in, with dusty floors, broken furniture, cobwebbed ceilings and windows that did not close properly. He tried to go back to the house he was in his dream, but the cold water did not allow him to go back to his paradise. His tears failed to gain prominence, amidst the wetness, all over him.
‘Boy, oh, I see you’re sittin’ out there all alone...Cryin’ your eyes out’ cause the-‘, The second hand music player went on again and Jimmy noticed that he had pressed the mute button, in half sleep and now the button had popped out by itself, making the music come up again, for the second time.
It was as if Elvis was right there, watching him from above, singing for him, through his broken music player. On any other day, he would have loved to stay under his eyes, listening to his words. But now, he had to get ready for college. He got into the shower, went through his morning routines...for real this time and he rushed towards his closet, with a towel around his waist, to pick up the clothes that he had to wear that day. Unlike his dream, there were no brand new clothes, but a wrinkled shirt that once belonged to his father, but was given to him, once his father grew out of it and Jimmy grew into it. Jimmy had himself grown a little too big, making his pants stand a few inches, above his shin.
“I am going to be the laughing stock of the class, right on the first day” Jimmy said to himself. But he had to adjust with the clothes he had. The other robes, he had, were all small or informal or torn here and there. He got down to the hall and his father was seated, reading his paper. But he was nothing as he was in Jimmy’s dream. Bald, pot bellied, dirty clothes, rough, messy short beard and a body full of diseases. Jimmy’s sister was the next one to come to the dining table and she was nothing like what Jimmy saw in his dream either. She wasn’t cheerful or loving, but was rough, angry and though adorned with natural beauty, she chose to make herself look hideous, with leathery manly clothes, violet dyed hair, tattoos of skulls all over body, only reason being, to rebel against her parents.
“Hey dummy, move over” she scorched, as Jimmy was about to seat himself in a chair.
“Minnie, Are you drunk?” Peter Skavinsky, Jimmy’s father questioned Minnie, by her unstable movements. She took her plate and placed it in front of her and picked up a glass nearby, to get some water, pouring some on the mattress below.
“Minnie I am asking you”
“What are you going to do, if I say yes?”
“Minnie, you are talking to your father” Jimmy warned her, “show some respect, will you?”
“I don’t have the need to respect anyone”
“Watch your tongue, young lady. Where did you get the money to buy the drinks? How long have you been doing this?” Peter yelled.
“I sold my ring that you bought me when I was a kid” she said calmly.
Jimmy’s mother Clarence came to the table, with some dried bread and an old box of peanut butter and placed it over the table. She placed a small jug, full of milk, next to it.
“You sold your ring? For what?” Clarence asked, unaware that she was drunk.
“Clarence, she is drunk. Can’t you see that?”
“Drunk? You drink Minnie?” Clarence asked, completely shocked.
“Yes, it is not a big deal, more than half the students in my class drink.”
“What kind of a reply is that? Just because others do it, you will do it too? And kids these are spoilt from their childhood. You will not ruin yourself like others. I forbid you to drink ever again,” ordered Peter.
“Who are you to tell me that?” asked Minnie.
“He is your father, I am your mother. We have the rights to ask you and you will do as we say. When did you get into drinking? How come we don’t know about this?”
“No I won’t do anything you say...You cannot make me. And I’ve been drinking for several months now. What are you going to do about it?”
“Minnie, you are not even of legal age. Not that I would allow you, even if you were eighteen. I am very disappointed in you,” said Clarence.
“So am I. I am disappointed with all of you. I am disappointed at my whole life”
“Why do you have to be disappointed? We provide you with all we can. You have a house, you have a family- “Peter was interrupted.
“What house? This hell hole? What family? You people? Don’t make me laugh.”
“Minnie, please, you are not in a good state. Don’t talk like that, you might hurt mum and dad” Jimmy tried to calm his sister.
“Oh Mr. Goody pants... Trying to be good, to earn a name and make mum and dad think that you are better than me? I don’t care about that. I don’t care if you or anyone else is better than me. Everyone around me, in my class, on the streets, in this house, everyone is better than me. Are you happy? I don’t care...anymore,” cried Minnie, as she stood up from her chair and hurried to her room.
“Where do you think you are going? I am not done talking here” Peter caught hold of Minnie’s hand, to stop her, while she herself tried to get away from his grip. Their little tug of war caused the table to topple, throwing the bread, peanut butter box and the jug of milk, to the floor.
“Peter, let go of her, I will talk to her” Clarence tried to calm things between them, but Peter was mad, seeing all the food on the floor and Minnie, still trying to get away from his grip.
“Leave me you @!#!” Minnie was swearing, without even thinking, that she was talking to her father, in her house, with her mother and brother standing nearby.
Peter was shocked and he was very angry. With some new found strength, he pulled Minnie towards him and slapped her hard on the face. Everyone in the room, including Peter himself, was shocked. Minnie was speechless for a moment, her eyes were wide open and they slowly turned wet, as Minnie began to cry.
Clarence was no longer angry at Minnie, but wanted to go to her side and comfort her. Peter regretted his action himself. But Minnie was not willing to even face them anymore. She ran back to her room crying.
“Why did you have to do that?”
“What? You are asking me? You saw the way she talked to us”
“But we do not have the right to beat the kids Peter. They are not some kind of animal. Poor girl, something must be wrong with her.”
“Yes Dad, I believe so too. She did say to me a few days back, that her classmates constantly taunted her that she is poor. Her classmates are very rich and they do tend to come to school with fancy clothes, new cell phones and expensive shoes and such. I think that is what is bothering her. She too wants to have some new stuff to be respected by her friends,” Jimmy explained.
“Their Dad’s are millionaires, yours is not.”
“I do understand Dad, but Minnie is a young girl. She would not probably understand our condition.”
“Yes Peter, even I feel a bit inferior, when I go around the neighbourhood or meet my friends. I am an adult and I do understand our state. She is a little girl and I am quite surprised that she has been, so understanding about our financial status so far. She is growing. People do get to long for more, as they get older and as they get exposed to a lot more things”
“Oh so this is all, my fault? It’s all because of my inability to earn enough money? What can I do about that? I do tend to work as hard as I can. I already work twelve hours a day. You want me to work twenty hours a day perhaps?”
“Try to understand Dad, we do appreciate you working for us, but the money you get working in that mechanic shop won’t be enough for us.”
“You shut up Jimmy. I am doing everything I can. I just don’t have any luck. I am loyal, hard working, yet my boss insults me, makes me do all his work, like I’m some sort of slave to him. This is all I can do. I have managed to get you into a college, haven’t I? You study, get a job, become some sort of millionaire and take care of this family. Then you can come and advice me as to what I have to do.”
“Peter, try to understand what we are trying to say”
“Clarence, stop telling me what I have to do and focus on doing your job”
“What do you mean by that? I am doing all the work here”
“Looking after the kids is your responsibility. Minnie is drunk and you don’t even know about it. What kind of a mother are you?”
That was enough to hurt Clarence and she began to cry.
“You say I am not a good mother?”
“What sort of a mother would pour a bucket of freezing water, over her sleeping son and be totally ignorant about her daughter, selling her ring and getting drunk, using the money from it? That says everything”
“Dad, please...” Jimmy understood that his father was not really concerned about him, being woken up in a very awkward and uncomfortable way, but was just looking to blame his mother for something.
“I do have to explain myself here. I was not in a good state of mind this morning. We’ve been having a lot of problems lately. We haven’t paid our bills yet and our neighbour, Mrs. Potsfield, she was right there on our door, early in the morning and she was quite angry at us, for not returning the money, that we borrowed from her. She yelled at me and insulted our entire family, as she left for her house. I was so angry at her, that I just poured some water that I was carrying to mop the floor, on Jimmy, when he did not wake up. I really did not mean to cause any difficulties to my own son. It was just my anger on Mrs. Potsfield and our inability to pay the money back.”
“See, again you are pointing my inability to make enough money, for your incompetence to look after the kids.”
“Peter, you are just trying to make me look bad, just to make yourself feel good.”
The two people were yelling and screaming at each other and Jimmy just could not be there. These sorts of fights were not unusual in the Skavinsky family, but that day, even Jimmy felt as if he needed to get away from his family, as far as he could. He did not even have a single bite of breakfast, nor drink even a glass of milk. He just picked his old bag, which was given to him, after his cousin moved from college. Clarence had refused to buy him a new bag and she related his cousin’s success with his studies, with that old bag and made Jimmy use the same one, as a good luck charm for him.
Jimmy’s stomach was growling, but the growling and yelling of his parents against each other, was louder, making Jimmy forget about food. He wanted to go to his sister’s room and try to console her. Minnie was a relatively good girl and was a good friend for Jimmy, but in recent times, there had been a lot of changes in her, making her display such hatred towards her own family, including Jimmy. The booze had done its part to make her more reckless and mercilessly frank than ever. Jimmy suspected Jake, Minnie’s new free spirited boyfriend, to be behind the new, not so good, change in her.
“Everything is wrong with this whole family” Jimmy could hear Minnie crying in her room. He looked at the clock and realised it was getting really late. He turned towards his parents to tell about his departure, but they were too keen on fighting with each other, that they failed to think about Jimmy even for a moment. Jimmy shook his head and ran out of the house. There was no garage unlike in his dream. And there was no convertible anywhere near. All he had was an old, paint less, rusty bike. He did ask his father once for a car or at least a motor bike or a moped.
“Who do you think you are Jimmy? Grow up, get a job, earn some money, then you can come and ask me for a car or motorbike or moped or whatever” came the reply.
‘Why should I ask him for a car or a motorbike, if I earned the money’ Jimmy had thought to himself back then. Now he had no guts to go ask for a vehicle to his parents, especially in the kind of mood they were in. The fights and arguments made the old bike look like a Harley for Jimmy. He just sat over it and started pedalling to his college, which was more than five miles away.
“Perhaps this pedalling would prevent the need for going to a gym” Jimmy tried to see the good in the bad, as usual. The day had not been good so far. He hoped his fortunes would change, once he got to his college for the first time. But he was going to feel that his house was heavenly, compared to what he was going to face in college. Things don’t feel good, till something worse comes across. Jimmy’s life has been all that.