Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Childhood (09/03/09)
TITLE: Damaged Goods
By Joshua Otto
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His mother was a frightening mixture of both light and dark. He would eventually figure out that she was an undiagnosed manic depressive, but that knowledge did nothing to ease his pain. His earliest memory of her, as well as the most vivid, happened when was he was barely four years old. He remembers being late for something, probably daycare, and he is sure he was the reason they were all late. Maybe he couldn’t find one of his boots. While in hindsight he can understand the frustration that may have caused, he still does not believe that the punishment fit the crime. One moment he is whining about something, the next the world is bright and painful, throbbing around his eye and his head. She had just punched him into unconsciousness.
The physical wounds eventually heal, but it is the emotional scars, painted onto his soul by a woman that never understood unconditional love, that never truly heal.
She was an artist in emotional pain. She could take his darkest fears and use them, manipulate them to get her way. It started with a simple threat. She would call an adoption agency, and they would come and take him away. He couldn’t understand, he was much too young, that taking him away would be a good thing, would be freedom for him, he is simply afraid. She uses that fear, uses it to control him, to bend him to her will.
Years later he sits alone, in the street, broken and damaged beyond repair. Drugs race through his system, causing him to relive every moment of a childhood best forgotten, yet can never be. In a moment of clarity, in between highs, Jesus finds him, calls him and for the first time shows him what true love is, love untainted by anger and fear. For the first time in his life he knows freedom.
It is the first time he has seen her in years. She is dying. He finds in his heart that he has been waiting for this moment, to confront her with the horror she caused him, but when he moves to speak, the only words that come forth are words of forgiveness. Speechless and confused, she watches him leave, unable to get out the words she so desperately wanted to say, the apology and repentance she knows she should have given back when he was just a child.
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