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2. A New Perspective

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The dictionary defines an outcast as the following: a person who is excluded or a homeless person. Now think about that definition. Does it fit the word? Consider it. First part, a person who is excluded. True enough, right? Isn’t that a basic characteristic of an outcast? Usually an outcast is also someone who chooses not to fit in. Second, a homeless person.  An outcast, true, is cast out from society, turned against humanity, no contest there. Yet, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they are homeless. All because someone decides to be excluded doesn’t mean that they decide as well to give up their homes. The majority of the time they live with their families, act normal, “fit in” at home. Yet, our family lives differ from our social lives. They can be so different that one would be unable to see one similarity at all. So again, what is an outcast? Someone who chooses not to fit in, not to be included, to be the odd man out all the time because they feel more secure.

Now I bet you’re thinking this: If they feel more secure alone, then why should we bother them? Good question. There’s a very good answer to it as well. Yes, alone these people feel more secure, yes, they don’t have to deal with as many social pressures. Yet, when we get rid of one set of circumstances, we only exchange them for another set. These people may feel more secure for awhile, but sooner or later, they are going to feel a little too secure. They become paranoid. Instead of wanting to be counted out, they don’t even want to be talked to or noticed at all, nothing. They adapt a “fear” of their surrounding society, the very people they live and grow with. Alone is the only way that they can function properly. Sound scary? Sound like make-believe? Wake up, it’s true. Look around; search deep in your community, through your lifetime. Everybody has seen a few, but nobody really remembers. Those people that never volunteered, that were picked last, that didn’t fit the “mold” society created for them. For these reasons we felt we shouldn’t give them a chance. Maybe we were right.

Or were we? Should we exclude people because of how they look, how they talk, how they act? Should we ignore them just for making a mistake? Isn’t character and personality the key to knowing someone? We commonly use such harsh names as freaks, idiots, losers, and of course, outcasts. Yet, do we have a right to create this prejudice against them? Some of them could be geniuses and we wouldn’t know it. Why? They aren’t allowed to grow in our world, they become afraid to as they get older. Whether we see it or not, these people are unique. They go out and pave their own way, walk their own road, a style of their own. They are leaders in their own way, because instead of leading others, they lead themselves. They place themselves in a dark hole to get away from the “demons” of society. Of course by now you must be saying, “What demons?” What demons you say? Look around you. To an outcast, everybody is a demon, whether or not they act like it. Think about that. Being against everybody, everything. Scary thought isn’t it?

Now try and put yourself in their shoes. What do you think you’d do if you grew up alone, and loving it? If you came to only feel safe alone, what would you do? Would you want to stay that way? Or would you rather take your chances and attempt to change? You can’t make a truthful decision though, can you? Not unless you’re really an outcast, if you are really living that kind of life, you can’t decide, can you? Life is full of irony, or so they say. Times change, as do people. Or do they? Can a tiger change its’ stripes? He can’t, can he? Of course not, you can change the way someone looks or how one acts, but not how they think and feel. You can’t “change” one’s emotions, or their outlook on issues, on life in general. You can take a freakish looking outcast, dress them in nice clothes, and you’d still have an outcast, just dressed nicer. You really can’t completely change someone, can you? It doesn’t hurt to try, right? Maybe, it all depends, but on what? Who you’re trying to change, how, and WHY?

Why is a common question, yet it rarely has an answer, why change an outcast? A better question is why not? Constantly we ask why, but how often do we ask why not? “Why?” and “What if?” are the two most asked questions in the world, the most common of dilemmas. Too bad that we can rarely answer either of them to the full extent. Life is full of its’ misfortunes, which is a fact we cannot change or explain. So we come to accept that the world is full of unanswerable questions. There are answers and reactions that we are not certain about, and cannot pre-determine. These things are about as inconclusive as the weather. And so we learn to live and coexist with the inevitable, the impossible and the improbable.

Our story resumes just as it left off, nowhere. We are at a dead end for our character Faith. Faith, an ironic name for someone who has none at all, isn’t it? So once again our tale’s narration is turned over to the true storyteller. Living in the current circumstances, I feel she has a right to tell her life story any way that she pleases. Our focus won’t immediately return to Faith though. I think a common question now is this: What happened to Declan? So instead of turning our story to its’ regular narrator, we’re going to look through a different perspective. We shall see the world through Declan’s eyes, but not from the beginning. Shortly after is where we resume, Faith has left for school at the normal time like any normal day, except this day is far from normal. From here on in, we hear the tale through Declan’s eyes.

It had been a long night; there would be a long day to follow. Like the theory goes, for every action there is an equal but opposite reaction. Is that true? Maybe, it’s a matter worth some consideration. The death of Grandma was a shock to the family, but perhaps it was her time to go. People get old; they die, that’s the way things work. So it goes. You learn to get up, get over it and move on. Faith seems to understand that all right, which takes a burden from me. Having to explain it would take an eternity, if not longer – should an explanation be possible. It affected everyone differently, the death I mean. Grandpa was hit the hardest of course. During the course of the day, I don’t recall seeing anyone crying. It was a rare occasion for anyone in our family, though I would assume Mother did. She was that kind of person, and it was her mother after all. Dad didn’t even care when his parents died, he just said kind of matter-of-factly, “What are you going to do about it? People die, get over it.”

That’s the same attitude I’m showing to this. You can’t beat the inevitable, so why hang onto that moment forever? Get through it and try to forget. Though usually those two ideas didn’t go hand in hand. The morning dragged on, waiting for the family to rise. I’ve been up since…God knows what hour. Time drags on incessantly. Mom’s been doing laps around the house since she got up. She must be thinking, on account of she always walks in circles when she’s thinking. Dad won’t get up for a long time. He never gets up before 10 for anything. Grandpa is up and pacing with Mom. They’ve been talking for a while about a lot of stuff. The lawyer is coming to read the will at noon. Uncle Tom would be arriving by then as well. He seems to have this idea that he’s getting a fortune. Grandpa had a good laugh over that one. He told us all that he “ain’t gettin’ nuthin’!” He had a few other choice words in there, but I see no reason to repeat them. The morning is a time of peace and serenity, why shatter it with profanity?

I always lose track of time; Faith usually has to remind me if I have something to do or somewhere to go. Of course she’s at school, trying to make it through, but struggling in the process. Times change, people change. That’s the way it goes. You learn to get used to it, to carry on, what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger. Grandpa decided to go for a walk, at 10 a.m.? He’s determined to go, and Dad comes groggily out of bed just in time to see the door close. Grandpa is always one to go to the beat of his own drummer, and being with so much on his mind, we all agree it’s best to leave him alone. I figure I might as well get dressed and ready for a fresh new day. Mom and Dad are talking amongst themselves, and I know better than to intervene.

By about noon there is a knock on the door. It’s the lawyer with the will. He asks to enter, which we gladly allow. He clears a place for himself in the kitchen and starts spreading out papers.

“Is Mister…Martin present?” he asked.

“No, he’s out. He’s due back any moment, if you would mind waiting a little bit. He needed time to think.” Mother responded quickly.

“Oh, I see. I understand completely Ma’am. These things do take time,” was his carefully worded reply. We all knew that, to him, our family meant money in his pocket and a waste of time. His acting wasn’t too hard to see through. His name was Mr. Smith, like a thousand others, and he looked just as plain. If you placed him in a crowd, you’d lose him.

We had no longer to think about the blank expression on the man’s face, as the silence was shattered with the loud banging of the door. I ran to open it and watched as my uncle and a policeman nearly fell in. For once, Uncle Tom was sober, and still tripped over his own two feet. Standing straight and tall, he brushed off dirt. The officer spoke first in a cold, unfeeling tone.

“Is this the Nolan residence?”

“Of course it is, what business is it of yours?” was Dad’s quick reply.

The officer looked a little shocked, hearing the man respond so nastily. “There is a situation. It’s a bit hard to explain…“ his voice trailed off into contemplation over his next few words.

Words that never came as Uncle Tom finally realized where he was and burst out, “Father’s dead! A car, it, it, it, it…a car! Out, on the street, it, it… ”

I had lost my patience with the drunkard. “Are you going to get that sentence out anytime soon?” I demanded. I knew I was wrong as I watched his face grow rigid and the fist swing up.

“Ignorant child! You don’t care at all that your grandfather was hit by a car and killed, do you? Course you don’t! You never cared about anyone but yourself!” his remarks hit like stones, and I struck back after each one. What surprised me was that they all stood and watched, including the policeman. It was when my uncle fell that he took me aside.

“I know you’re going through a lot boy, but so is he. Give your old uncle a break okay? Let him be miserable if he wishes. Go for a walk, I’m letting you off for this one because of the circumstances. But you don’t come back here tonight, until maybe noon tomorrow, you hear? I’ll cart you away if you do. You understand me?” his voice was calmer than before, but he still retained the stern look in his eyes.

“Sure, I’m good as gone.”

He nodded in agreement, and went back to my family. I turned and walked out, without looking back at all. I heard them help Uncle Tom up, sit him down and tell him to be calm before I left. I wouldn’t return to that house for some time. At that time, I didn’t even have the slightest clue of the future. Out on the street I figured that I should look for Faith, chances are she’d be doing the same thing. She had nowhere to go, same as me. Not all that wander are lost, perhaps that is true. Contemplation over the logic of the remark is what is necessary to prove and/or disprove it.

I have no idea what’s going on with my family and knowing it’s useless to try and find out, I figure the best bet is to walk the streets. Faith’s got to be around somewhere, but I think I better ask the school. The walk is short and quick to the high I once attended. Feels like only yesterday. I walk briskly into the office and announce that I require the location of one Faith Nolan. They look at me blankly before asking, “Who might you be?” Forgetting myself, I explain that I am her brother, that there is a family emergency and I need to find her as soon as possible. They again stare at me blankly.

“It’s been taken care of and if you don’t mind, we have things to be done. This is a school. You are no longer welcome, “ was their stern reply. I returned their cold stare, turned, and walked out. Twice I was kicked out of a once welcome place in one day. I refused for that to occur ever again. Being the conditions I am currently living in, I wasn’t prepared to fight back. I stood outside the office, noticing a girl in considerably bad shape. Looks as if she went out a window, or at least down a flight of steps. You don’t need a ruler to figure out Faith’s been here. I jogged up to her to ask her if she might know where I could locate my sister. I would have been better off leaving in the first place. I’ve never heard such words out of such a small being. That’s my confirmation that Faith’s around, until she said that she’s gone.

“What do you mean she’s gone?”

“She left, her, my boyfriend, and a policeman. They just got up and left,” was her sharp answer.

“Where does your boyfriend live?” I asked eagerly.

She reluctantly gave me the address after I followed her through a few more hallways. I ran out of the building and down the streets until I found the proper house. Night had fallen, and having no place else to go, I figured I’d look the place over. It was a huge house, very nicely built, for a richer family. Scaling a fence, I walked the grounds quietly, trying to figure why Faith would be here. I heard something move in the dark so I dropped to the ground and lay still. Even in the pitch black I saw the familiar outline of a person dart across the grounds. Who would be out at this hour? They were heading right for me, and I saw what appeared to be guard dogs right after. They were coming closer; I crouched up a little bit, got ready, waited. They were in place, I jumped up, tripped them, they grabbed me, and we went flying down a deep hill. It stopped when he hit a large fence. The dogs had quit a while back.

The other person was getting up quickly, but they were confused from the fall. While trying to rise they failed, fell, and tried again. I rose quickly, pulled them up and demanded to know their identity. They fought considerably and with one quick hit to the face had me down. The pain was intense, my eyes felt like they were on fire. I knocked them down and wearily asked once more for their name, even though I could no longer see them. It was the scariest moment of my life. They had stopped fighting, helping me up. Again I repeated my question. The person didn’t move, but instead replied calmly, “Be still Declan, as you look into the eyes of your enemy. Look deep for they are the very eyes of your sister.”

I felt ridiculous for not realizing that it was Faith. My own sister, how could I? I think I started to cry, I couldn’t tell. I put my hands over my eyes, and was shocked to see my right hand covered in red blood. I blinked time and again and still could not regain sight. The left eye cleared a bit and Faith was helping clean them off. I couldn’t remember what happened. I knew I was standing, as was she. If she was healthy or dying I couldn’t tell. She helped me through the gate and on the other side she used what appeared as an old rag to sop up the blood. The pain was unimaginable and unforgettable. I had no idea what had happened to it. She was being as careful as possible. I kept asking her why she was here, what was going on, was I going to be all right. Her reply was always the same.

“Don’t worry about that now.”

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