Monday, March 26, 2007
Stories Untold: The One About Jimmy
A couple of years ago…
His was not the childhood he’d be proud of. Not for him the toys that all his friends had, nor the stories they told in the playing field. He couldn’t pitch in as his friends bragged about the kind of cars their fathers had. The word friends may have been used little liberally, for Jimmy never quite connected with the peers he had.
One may say the important thing was that he did have a father as he grew up. Maybe. But what was a father worth when all he did was take his frustration out on his son? Jimmy told himself the booze made his father do those things. The beatings and all the other things. He may not have been scarred on the outside, but deep down a piece of him died. He knew earlier than he should have that he would not have any kids of his own. Not so much because he had not the capacity, but he was afraid. He was man enough to acknowledge it, he was scared he’d grow up to be the man his father was, or worse.
His mother was, for the most part, in denial. She had seemingly convinced she was getting what she deserved. After all, were not women supposed to grin and bear it through thick and thin? She loved him and it was her love that drove her to an early grave. Not once did her husband, the love of her life come to see her in the hospital in those final moments. He was with his mistress, one of many. So there was no way he could have…or would have known that she took with her, his unborn child. Depending on how one looked at it, maybe the child was spared a fate worse than the death it didn’t deserve.
That day, after the funeral, Jimmy trudged back. The walls in his life had come tumbling down with such weight it paralysed him. He found the door to the house open, daddy was home. He saw clothes on the floor of the sitting room before he saw his father, and his all too willing partner. His father spared him a glance, a couple of words even, “back so soon? Give your old man a few minutes and we’ll go drink this thing away.”
It sounded like he was glad she was gone, like this was going to be a celebratory drink…a victory chug perhaps. Jimmy’s spirit was taking a bigger beating than it deserved, than any 12 year deserved.
He knew his father didn’t deserve to be happy. Not after what he had done to them, and yet, he didn’t know what to do. Something had to give, but what. Then he saw his mother’s pair of scissors.
The following morning he got back from school and found a crowd of people outside the house. His uncle George was outside the house, face frozen in hard to decipher expression. It was angst, but to an extent yet unseen.
The story was, his father in a state of drunken remorse had evaluated his life and figured that without his wife in it, it simply wasn’t a life worth living. He’d died of an overdose.
Everybody felt sorry for Jimmy. Two losses in one sweep were not fair; somehow the twelve year old didn’t seem moved. He’d cried at his mother’s funeral and thereafter, but there was a certain calm about him at his father’s. They called it denial, but it wasn’t.
As he watched his father’s coffin get lowered into the grave a faint smile played on his lips, “this is for you mother”.
His uncle had dumped him in a seminary. Said it was for the better. It didn’t matter. And for a while it felt perfect, he felt like he belonged. Then he gave in to the pleasures of the world and was asked to leave… he didn’t fret about it. It was well worth it.
He’d discovered during the workshop sessions that he had a knack for fixing things and Sister Anne Rose had told him that he had a gift. She told him he would go far if he honed his talent. She also told him he could work magic with his fingers. This part she had added after class and with a cryptic smile on her face.
Soon after he’d left the seminary, he found work as a mechanic, and it was while there that he saw her.
Her name was Sophia and she radiated a beauty that was enough to make a man kill. And yet her eyes told a story, a story he’d seen in his mother’s eyes so many years ago.
He followed her home once, hoping he’d speak to her, even for a minute, but that never happened. As he worked up his courage he saw a car drive up. It was an expensive Golf. The kind you’d sell and buy two more expensive cars and still have enough left over for fuel…and then some.
The golf looked familiar. Jimmy had seen it parked outside some girls' hostel near his home. The owner was some guy called George. Then it hit him. And with such force he felt his guts churn. He left.
A few days later he had to deliver Sophia’s car. He figured it was a sign of some sort. God wanted him to make things right for this creature. He would tell her about her husband’s ways. It was his mission, to make it all go away. He parked the car in the drive way, and then, suddenly, got cold feet. As he handed over the keys to the goddess that haunted his dreams he realised it was not meant to be. For the second time he left.
Yet this time round he felt like something was calling out to him, calling him back. Feet of lead he dragged himself back. Then there was a loud bang…repeated a number of times. Jimmy’s closed his eyes in prayer for what may have been an eternity. Jimmy approached the driveway and the scene that greeted his eyes made his insides roll. It was ghastly. He wanted to run away…call the cops, do the right thing, but he stood rooted to the spot. Sophia was not here, and all at once the realization hit him. She knew. God had somehow opened her eyes to her husband’s infidelity. He looked at the body in front of him and had a brief flashback of that moment years ago when he emptied the pills into his father’s wine bottle.
He realized he couldn’t judge Sophia. Oddly he wanted her more. He felt almost as he had not too long ago when he’d first laid his eyes on Sister Anne Rose’s frame out of her nun’s garb. Sister Hazel had also awakened in him similar feelings.
Jimmy looked at George’s body or what was recognizable and knew what he had to do. Sophia had been wronged and the worthless heap before him deserved what he got. It wouldn’t be fair to put Sophia through a trial for exacting justice.
With a sigh, he looked up and muttered under his breath," this too is for you mother". And with that, started the chain of events that would make it seem that what happened here this day had been an unfortunate accident.