other life

Next day, next town, next shopping mall, next chance for another life.

StoryKettle » PAIN » other life

Copyright © 2009, Michael M Wayman

I've had enough. I've seen too much of life. I've had enough.

I've been beaten, imprisoned, divorced, orphaned, shot, hospitalised, married, battered, raped and generally shat upon.

I have been done to – left, right and centre.

I've seen too much; and I'm not that old – somewhere between twenty-six and sixteen – but I've had enough.

I want to be I – the I that does things – not the I that gets done to.

Three chances – three chances to ask the same question – three chances to change. Otherwise it's the gun in my pocket.

This shopping mall looks like any other, but wait, those two people look useful.

Hello! Do you want a daughter?

Oh, yes! Good idea! My name is Arthur and my wife here is Jane.

Oh, yes! We'd love to be your mum and dad. What's your name?

You choose one.

We drove to their place, nice place, they discussed my name all the way, nice name, we had a meal, nice meal, they watched TV.

My bed in my room. Then it happened.

Next day, next town, next shopping mall, next chance.

They came to me. I'm Joe and this is Judy. We want you to be our daughter. Your name is Jacky.

This ain't much of a town, but there's plenty of work. This big building here on the left is the plant where Joe works. There's plenty of woods to walk in, just behind the plant. Oh, and that's the river. That's where I work, just over there. And just a few blocks away is our house, not too much of a house, but it's ours and it's comfy.

Dad on my left, Mum on my right, three on the sofa.

So where do you come from? What have you been doing?

My hand put the gun on the coffee table.

Oh! Sorry! Wrong question! No! No questions!

Your name is Jacky. You were born fifteen years ago the day after tomorrow. You are our daughter. That's where you come from. That's what you have been doing.

This was all new. A mum and a dad! People who listened to me, who were kind to me, who liked to have me around.

This was a life to enjoy, but the gun was still in the cupboard, the connection to my past was still there. It was not the gun – it was worse.

My first birthday! Just tears and fifteen candles and everyone said nice things to me.

Next day, next surprise – school.

The dumbbell class was just right for me, girls of all different ages, dummies who couldn't read or write.

This was a life to enjoy, but the connection to my past was still there. The drunk, half in the garbage can. The woman, with the black eyes. The dead animals, in the empty house.

Dad worked at the plant. They made bulldozers and cranes and excavators at the plant. Dad knew all about hydraulics. Dad often worked long shifts, late into the night and the next morning. But he always had time for me – he did not talk about hydraulics that much. You could learn a lot from him.

The dummies in my class were great fun – they did not know much – but they were fun. The dumbest one was walking along the street with me one morning when...

We're being followed, aren't we?

She looked over a shoulder. Yeah! There's a big green car following us. And there's a guy with dark glasses in it.

Oh, no! A bit of my past. Let's run!

NO! she said and grabbed my hand tight. We are going to stop, turn round and stare at him.

She was right – after two minutes he drove off.

Mum worked three days a week at the local library. She helped me get a job after my time at school. She always had time for me. You could learn a lot from her.

The connection with my past was still there, but it was easier:

Don't run! Face it! Look it straight in the face!

It was Sunday, Dad took me for a walk along the river, it was a nice day.

You know, you could find a nice boy, settle down and so on. Mum and me would like...

me to get married and give you grandchildren. I laughed.

Then it happened. A big hole appeared in the sky and nasty stuff poured out of it.

Oh! said Dad, I shouldn't have said that. I think we better get out of here.

Oh, Dad! You can't run away from a hole in the sky. Stay here with me!

You didn't say anything wrong, Dad. I think you said something nice. Say it again!

Have you read no home and farmer's daughter?