Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of "Don't Cut off Your Nose to Spite Your Face" (without using the actual phrase or litera (02/14/08)
TITLE: Botched Love
By Marlene Bonney
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“What’s the matter with you, Son? You always got good grades before this year,” his frustrated father continued the interrogation.
“It’s just harder this year, that’s all,” he lied.
“That doesn’t explain not handing in your work and skipping classes! Don’t you want to graduate?!”
The teen shrugged, “Can’t see what difference that stuff they keep cramming down our throats is going to make out there,” pointing out the window.
“Now, that’s just the attitude I’m talking about! Where do you get these loser ideas?”
On and on the now one-sided tirade continued, but the young man had shut his mind after the first few sentences. The pain in his heart went straight to his head. Usually a faint hammering across his brow, it was lately escalating and interfering with his activities. He just wanted it all to stop. No one knew he was hurting, of course—probably wouldn’t matter if they did, he had convinced himself. His mother had abandoned him when he was a baby, not mature enough to accept the responsibilities of parenthood. As the years passed, his father turned more and more to his job and overtime work to keep from spending time in the lonely house that seemed no longer a home, his son being cared for until after work by an aging grandfather who lived down the street.
“I didn’t know ours wasn’t a normal family until much later,” he had at one time divulged to a school counselor. “I wanted to ask my mother why she didn’t love me enough to stay . . . My dad’s okay, I guess.”
But the social worker had heard about the neglected house he came home to everyday after school and could well imagine the loneliness and hopelessness her client experienced. To his credit, the father apparently encouraged and supported (with his finances and his presence) the son’s participation in all sports activities.
In her notes, the caseworker had written: “Sports seems to be the way the father connects emotionally with his son, which the son in turn has interpreted as love dependent on performance.”
After purposely flunking out of most of his classes, a failed attempt to get the unconditional love he so craved, the boy’s pain erupted in other ways. The first time, it happened quite by accident. He dropped a glass in the porcelain kitchen sink and cut his hand. As he watched his blood spill down the drain, the pain from the cuts released the pain in his heart as if it, too, was ebbing away. Later on, after bandaging his hand up, he felt almost euphoric as a plan gradually surfaced in his mind.
The stage was set, the main player in place. The props had been strategically settled and his parts were memorized. Everything was precisely timed to begin the play’s First Act at the exact moment his father would arrive home, rush to his side, and enfold him in a loving embrace. Act Two would bring his sobbing mother rushing to his hospital bedside, and in Act Three they would all love each other.
“Ba-bam, ba-bam, ba-bam,” the garage door had been activated with the car’s remote, his cue to begin. However, he did not hear his dad backing out of the garage after noticing he had forgotten a special file from the office.
Carefully the teenager sliced his wrists just so with the awaiting razor blade and a detached horror fogged over him as he watched his life’s blood squirt and then spatter onto the situated towels on the floor. And, as he waited in vain for his father to enter the house, he realized this would be his final botched attempt to win this battle he had waged.
An hour later the stricken father arrived home to find the lifeless body of his only son in a pool of blood on the toweled kitchen floor.
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