He was Four.
He was 4 when he gave his parents a card. “I LAV YU MAM DAD” was written inside the folded bond paper, each letter was swerving in a different color. He drew himself in those little stick men with three tiny hair standing on his imperfect circular face. He was smiling widely while he stood in the middle of his stick man parents. “You have such wonderful drawing, love.” His dad told him while his mother was looking at them with a sweet smile spread across her face. That toothy smile of him refused to hide for that time, he didn’t know how to conceal genuine happiness.
He was Seven
He tiptoed silently down the staircase and peeked on their kitchen. No utensils and chairs were misplaced, but the once warm and happy kitchen was radiating something dark and sad. For the very first time, he saw his mum shedding tears with her hands dropped to her side. He wanted to ask what was wrong, but he held back to his query as he was afraid of what he might hear. Her mum’s weeping was not stopping, while his father was sitting on the edge of the table with his hands brought together. “I’m sorry. There is nothing else I could do.”His father’s voice was defeated, heavy, and hopeless. The little him went back upstairs and cried himself to sleep. Things were vague, but he felt his chest sinking at the moment.
He was Nine
The law strangled his father, while people rejoiced as he was finally proven guilty. He and his mother cried for weeks, prayers filled their mouths every night. “My father did not kill anybody! My father cannot do such thing.” At tender age, he already knew the tragic lies that money can put above someone’s tongue. He believed what he wanted to believe. It was his religion.
He was Thirteen
He didn’t cry anymore but he felt his heart suffocated whenever he saw his mum moan. His father committed suicide inside the jail, stabbing his neck with a pen. Oh, no one knew that a pen was lethal. He loved his father, but he would sometimes accuse him of being selfish as he caused more misery to his mum. Being a son, seeing his mother cry made him suffer an ineffable pain. “Your father killed himself, boy! Now tell me again that he cannot kill anybody!”People laughed at him while others shared sympathy just to pretend a humane society.
He was Fourteen
At night, when his mom was already sleeping, he would go to the kitchen and pick a knife. He would run his hand on its edge, touching and feeling its sharpness against his skin. He liked the way it made him feel that his blood was flowing furiously in his body. Without hesitation, he would point it to his neck but he would never push it. He fancied the adrenaline, which was a fact. “I will not die this way.”
He was Sixteen
He flanked his entire subjects because he wanted attention from his mum who was too busy making money and keeping their house still. He wouldn’t call it home anymore. “How dare you do such shame? I work hard to feed you, and you’re doing this in return?” He realized that hi didn’t want his mum’s attention after all, but just somebody who would care. At that point of time, he felt hollow, useless, cold, and desperate.
In the same year, his teacher appointed him to get a tutor from a classmate. Her name was Felicity. But he didn’t remember her name until he heard her say, “Tom, you’re not so bad after all.” It was one of those rare times when he felt his name special again. His mother stopped calling him My dear Tom, and so she stopped saying his name, shouting it instead. He felt special whenever Felicity called her by his name, his eyes lighting up, a smile playing on his lips, and his thoughts cooperating again when people talked to him. He was born to be called by his name, and it was destined to sound sweetly from somebody’s mouth.