A New Member to the Family
The battle loves to choose its fights Collapse the sight of soldiers eyes Bombs cascading over me
May my body rest in pieces
Spring morning rain Heal the wounds in me
The battle is won
I’m not coming home—A Skylit Drive
After Science Olympiad Mike and my family had gotten pretty close because he was an exchange student from Germany. He has been to Virginia and Mackinaw City He would talk about how the family he was living with wouldn’t let him do anyt11ing. He was very unhappy there. He also talked about a grandson that they had. Mike asked me if I knew him. I guess he was a boy at school. After being shown a rather odd picture of the kid, I recognized him right away. He was in my Science Fiction class at school. Later that year I was informed that he was going to be “kicked” out of the people’s house he was living in at the moment. I asked him why he was getting kicked out and he simply wouldn’t talk about it. He would immediately change the subject or say if was not important. Being the caring family that we were, we offered to let him stay with us for the summer in between my eighth and ninth grade year. We stressed that he had to be out of
our house at the end of the summer because our family usually hosted an exchange student each year.
Mike was very thankful that my family had opened up our home to him. He kept going
on about how being ” roomies” with me was going to be great. I never even said anything about him rooming with me, but I thought if that’s what makes him comfortable, then why not. To be completely honest I was almost like a little kid being excited to wake up on Christmas morning. It got a little bit annoying, but I knew that his family life back at home wasn’t the best. My new “brother” as he called me soon moved into my room. I was really excited to have almost like an everlasting sleepover with one of my friends. The first night was like every first night I would have with every exchange student sleeping in my room. We talked for hours and got to know each other. Mike asked me how my day was, and I told him I was alright. I asked him how his day went, and he said it was the best since he was now in a house with a family that accepts him. I was puzzled. I remember that night I asked him what his favorite holiday was, and he didn’t have an answer for me. I quickly told him that Christmas was my favorite. Before I could explain why, he shut me down.
“Don’t talk about Christmas, ” he told me.
“Well, it’s my favorite holiday. What isn’t there to love about it?” I was shocked how he almost yelled at me in the silence of the night.
“In Germany my parents didn’t get along well, and my dad left us when I was
young. We didn’t celebrate Christmas like every other child in school.”
Mike then went on to explain that he and his brother weren’t very close. After listening to this beyond depressing story of his childhood I was tired so I told him we could continue the conversation the next night if he wanted to.
“Okay, bud, see you in the morning.” He said.
I woke up the next morning and stumbled up the stairs like I did every morning, but this time I smelled toast. It turned out that Mike had gotten up and made me a full breakfast. I was impressed. He handed the toast and a glass of apple juice to me on the table and told me to sit down. I sat down and I started eating. Mike was staring at me over his glasses that seemed pointless for him to be wearing if he wasn’t going to look through them.
“Thanks for the food, dude.” I already felt like I was being smothered. He did so many favors I didn’t ask for. Immediately, though, I felt suffocated by his presence. He wouldn’t get away from me, and I didn’t have the heart to tell him to back off. The next night we laid in our beds and continued our talk from the night before. I asked him if he has talked to his father since he ran away. He retorted.
“That’s another subject you will learn never to talk about,” I felt degraded, almost like I did something wrong. He made me feel like I was trying to make him feel bad when in reality I was just a curious boy. Our talk ended early because it was simply too depressing talking to him about his life. That’s exactly what I told him. He was less than pleased. Sooner than later Mike expected me to hang out with him every day. If I didn’t drop all my plans, I had for the day to do what he wanted to do he got mad. The first time I told him I wanted to hang out with Jared, my best friend from elementary school, he told me that I already planned on being with him all day today. I told him I hung out with him all day for the past three days. He turned his back on me and looked down at the ground. I went to walk past him to get up the stairs and he grabbed me.
“Listen, I don’t give a f”*k what you THINK you’re going to do today, but I would think twice before you make your decision because now you have a roommate, and that means I sleep where you sleep.” His grip was ripping into my shoulders, but sadly I believed that I deserved it.
I remember running as fast as I could outside. I kept running until I found myself in the woods across the street of my house. I found a tree stump to sit on, and I put my head between my knees and watched the teardrops fall off of my face onto the leaves below. Crying was a rare thing for me. I was not one to show that I was sad, let alone, I cry. I walked around the forest for a while longer. I never really went out there, so it was not a familiar area. After coming back to the house, I shuddered as I saw Mike in the window. I didn’t even want to go into my house. My parents were gone working because it was the summer, so they weren’t there to protect me. I tip-toed into the house and he didn’t say anything to me. I gathered up my stuff and called Jared and headed over to the refuge of his house.
Being with my best friend really got my mind off of the day’s worries. We did things normal teenagers would do; played video games, screwed around on the computer, and ate food like there was no tomorrow. The time to go home quickly crept up on me and at this point I believed Mike would have forgotten about that little argument we had. Once I got home mom and dad were already off to work and Mike sat at the dinner table. Across from his seat at the table lay the peanut butter and jelly toast with a glass of juice he prepared for me each morning. It looked like he was sick. He was very pale and when he looked up at me his eyes had a glare in them that sent chills down my back.
“Well, I see that you have chosen to go to your friends instead of staying here. hope you’re happy with your decision because I needed to talk to you last night.”
“Sorry, Mike, I just wanted to get away yesterday, and I didn’t know you wanted to talk to me.”
“You didn’t know, or you didn’t care?”
“I didn’t know.” I replied
“No, I think you’re wrong. You didn’t give a fuck!” Mike screamed, and every time he cursed at me, I felt my whole-body cringe. “You are a selfish little bitch that doesn’t care about anybody other than yourself. That’s what’s f**king wrong with you. I’ll tell you what kid, I have lived a whole lot longer than you and seeing you like this shows me you aren’t going to go anywhere in life.”
“I’m not selfish, and this isn’t a huge deal so stop making a big—”
“Kyle, quit at life now while at least some people in your life are happy because soon you won’t have anyone. Your family will give up on your attitude and won’t be there for you.” I felt like curling up in a little ball. I didn’t want to be seen by society. I felt ashamed of myself. I kept telling myself this isn’t me, this isn’t me, this isn’t me. This was the last time I remember ever having a conscience. Even my conscience was scared of this guy.