Inside my head my brain screams, Oh my God! Now I know!
Without thinking Father cuts her off "No," he states in a low voice. "This," he says, spreading his hands, "this is wrong." I can tell by his trailing voice that Father has lost his steam. He appears to be on the verge of tears. He looks at me and shakes his head before looking at Mother. "Where will he live? Who's going to take care of ... ?"
"Stephen, don't you get it? Don't you understand? I don t give a damn what happens to him. I don t give a damn about The Boy.
Suddenly, the front door flies open. Mother smiles as she holds the doorknob. "Okay. All right. I'll leave it up to The Boy." She bends down, just inches in front of my face. Mother's breath reeks of booze. Her eyes are ice cold and full of pure hatred. I wish I could turn away. I wish I were back in the garage. In a slow, raspy voice, Mother says, "If you think I treat you so badly, you can leave."
I snap out of my protective mold and take a chance by looking at Father. He misses my glance as he sips another drink. My mind begins to tumble. I don't understand the purpose of her new game. Suddenly I realize that this is no game. It takes a few seconds for me to understand that this is my chance- my chance to escape. I've wanted to run away for years, but some invisible fear kept me from doing it. But I tell myself that this is too easy. I so badly want to move my legs, but they remain rigid.
"Well?" Mother screams into my ear "it's your choice." Time seems to stand still. As I stare down at the carpet, I can hear Mother begin to hiss. "He won't leave. The Boy will never leave. It hasnt the guts to go.
I can feel the inside of my body begin to shake. For a moment I close my eyes, wishing myself away. In my mind I can see myself walking through the door. I smile inside. I so badly want to leave. The more I envision myself walking through the door, the more I begin to feel a warmth spread through my soul. Suddenly, I can feel my body moving. My eyes pop open. I look down at my worn-out sneakers. My feet are stepping through the front door. Oh my God, I say to myself, I can't believe I'm doing this! Out of fear, I dare not stop.
"There," Mother triumphantly states. "The Boy did it. It's his decision. I didn't force him. Remember that, Stephen. I want you to know I didn't force him.
I step through the front door, knowing full well that Mother will reach out and yank me back in. I can feel the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. I quicken my pace. After stepping past the door, I turn right and walk down the red steps. From behind me I can hear the sounds of Mother and Father straining themselves as they lean outside. "Roerva," Father says in a low voice "this is wrong."
"No!" she replies in a flat voice. "And remember, it was his decision. Besides, he'll be back."
©1998. All rights reserved. Reprinted from The Lost Boy by David Pelzer. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the written permission of the publisher. Publisher: Health Communications, Inc., 3201 SW 15th Street, Deerfield Beach, FL 33442.
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