I used to think people lived forever. They reached a certain age and joined grandma and the others someplace up in the clouds. That’s what my mother used to say. I was young, maybe 7 or 8 when I learned any different. Nothing lasts forever, the sun goes down and the day comes to an end. The sun is setting for me; my end is near.
As a child, I spent a lot of time alone with only the passing thoughts in my head. Some would vanish before they could be further analyzed. Others would linger, spending the afternoon in my soul, refusing to vacate despite how hard I tried to rid myself of their presence. The more I tried to shake them, the stronger they became.
Most of us consider ourselves good people no matter what the evidence to the contrary. We tell ourselves lies so that we want so we can put up with ourselves and continue to commit heinous crimes against others. Not me, I tell myself the truth. I learned long ago what I am.
I remember the day I realized I was not like others. It was on a warm spring morning and I had grown tired of sitting in the house watching television. I opened the front door quietly, as not to wake my sleeping mother. Outside, I could feel the wet blades of grass on my dirty bare feet as I hummed softly while inspecting an ant hill beside the walkway.
I could watch the ants for hours. Working together, they would move pieces of fruit or bread one after another. They’re tireless workers, each with a role and a task to complete. I would leave crumbs out on the sidewalk to see how quickly they could move it.
At some point I spotted a frog over near the dogwood tree in front yard. I ran over in pursuit, chasing him into the boxwood bushes in front of the house before snatching him into my small hands.
I held the toad firmly, examining the warts on his back as it expanded and contracted in my hands. There was the faint sound of a lawn mower in the distance, the sun was out and the birds were singing when the urge took hold of my young and impressionable mind. My grip loosened as I fought with the stubborn notion, and part of me hoped he would jump to freedom from my soft hands.
The first blow to the pavement rendered the frog useless; it landed with a dull thud in the middle of the street. Picking the harmless creature up, I continued to throw it to the pavement again and again, as if I obeyed the thought it would go away. With each throw I wished it would stop, but it only became stronger. Finally a car approached and I dropped the lifeless toad on the street and ran towards the door.
Looking up, I saw my mother standing on the porch watching me, unable to speak. I’ll never forget the look on her face. After that things were different between us.
Others in my position blame their parents. Perhaps their upbringing or some emotional trauma. I have no one to blame, just the thoughts in my head. That and the curiosity. People want to know what happened to me, what made me this way. To them I would say that I was made this way, nothing happened to change it.
Am I a monster? I don’t know, somewhere inside of me is a 7 year old boy looking for his mother, a mother who was scared of her own child. I’ve thought about what might have happened if that frog had escaped. Would things have turned out different for me? I don’t think so, if it hadn’t been that frog it would have been a dog or cat, and so on.
I’m not scared of dying, I welcome it. It’s time for the thoughts to end. As for the victims, what good does it do if I apologize? They’re still dead, just like that frog. Just like me.