My heart is pounding so loudly, I swear the taxi driver could hear it the entire journey. I didn’t pay attention to who the driver was, something I rarely do but in this case, I had more to worry about. In the trip to Robbie’s house, I kept wondering if I was late. Had I been so oblivious to the signs so much that it was too late now?
I rushed to his apartment door, pacing fast enough to make it there quickly. I couldn’t move too fast because I wanted to be discreet, then again, maybe my interpretation was wrong. The first knock on his door was so adrenaline-filled that it sounded like a bang. “Take it down a notch, boy. You don’t want the neighbours getting suspicious now.” Breathe in, breathe out. Again. Now that I was ready to act like a normal human being, I steadied myself and began to rap on his door.
No answer and I immediately reached for the doorknob to check if it was at least open. It turns and the door opens. Thank goodness it did because I don’t know how I would have remained calm had it not opened. The minute the door creaked open, I noticed that the place was cleaner than I had ever seen it, which was rather unusual. Robbie was the kind of guy who rarely cleaned his place, and whenever he had cleaned his house, he placed a black plastic bag filled with empty beer cans by the door waiting to be disposed of after the weekend. This time though, there was no plastic bag. Unusual.
I began searching the apartment, calling out his name at every corner or after each door opened. No answer still. Where could he be though? The only thing I managed to find was an envelope which laid on top of his bed. Before I am even able to open or read the letter, I smell that something has gone off. I follow the stench into the kitchen. Everything in the fridge was okay and seemed fresh enough. I searched the entire kitchen until I came across what the smell was. It immediately startled me, leaving rattled a bit. It was his cat. Dead in the far corner dustbin. Poor thing must have been dead for a couple of days because the smell was fresh and rather nauseating. Knowing Robbie, if he was going out of town, he would have at least left his cat with me or something. Worry set in. Where could he be that he can’t answer his phone, talk to anyone or let anyone know?
I then looked into my hands at the letter I had found on top of his bed. What if I was right and this was it? My feet could not take the thought of it. I couldn’t do anything to stop him. I found balance on the bar stool by the kitchen counter, taking a ten-second breather before I reached for the letter. The glue keeping the letter together smelled a bit new, so the letter must have been rather new or at least I wished it was. The ink was blue and the entire letter was written in capital letters with the first sentence making me cringe some more.
I hope you are Tom because I feel you need the best explanation that ever…’ and the tears just began rolling out of my eyes and down my already pink cheeks. It took me twelve minutes to read the entire letter until I finally understood what had happened. Shell-shocked that he did this, especially when I tried to be there for him. I knew that Robbie was being given a hard time by the students in our grade but I didn’t think it was as bad as he described it. Thinking back to what he wrote about how being bullied every day made his life unbearable. They mostly hit on what he couldn’t change; the colour of his skin, the fact that he was an orphan, and the medical condition which caused his hair to be orange-red as if he was Irish. What hurts the most was that when he first came to our school about a year ago, I was a part of some of the banter the class gave him. Along the way, I found that he was actually a great guy, with an awesome personality and made the best pasta sauce I had ever tasted.
After crying about half a dozen times in an hour, I finally rose from the bed and called the authorities. In the letter, there were clear instructions of where to find his body with a precisely written will of how he wants things to happen. He did not want anything fancy, just a quiet send-off with very few people knowing about it. As I walked out of his apartment, I couldn’t help thinking back to his words. It was something he knew that only I would understand. “I have so much to say to you, but I cannot say a word. Thus let it be OUR secret.”
My heart broke as I left his room one last time knowing that this probably was it. The last goodbye because once the authorities get on this, he probably would never be able to be in here in peace again. And to think this could have been all avoided if one or two people could have been more friendly to him in the beginning.
I have met Goliath:
A mouth for name-calling,
Lean arms for punching my teeth in,
Long feet to kick my face, tummy, and balls,
Ice-cold blood to convince him that it’s okay.
He had friends too
A squad of giants increasing their size by reducing others
They make Mondays dark blue
A farm of seeds lay waiting for the rain
Nobody to protect you,
A million cries for help fall on deaf ears.
I met him again.
Only this time he stuttered my name,
Only this time he extended his wrinkled hands for a handshake,
Only this time his feet pointed at the door
Only this time his sweat glands opened, forced by his heated blood.
His friends abandoned him long ago.
Now he is a lone giant without his herd of followers
Mondays went from blue to a haze, and now they are grey
I am the seed of hatred that failed to sprout, others succeeded.
I protect myself now,
I rescued myself. Now I spend my days digging through soil, collecting other seeds.
Time flows like normal,
I am not immune from its shackles
And so, I find some seeds as oak trees.
Some I find swimming in red, or swinging,
then they paint on my hands:
“I’m sorry, the pain was too much…”
I would much rather see barren land.
But the seeds of hatred have grown and dispersed
I know what comes next: a forest
All because Goliath never knew love.
The Lander one have been working on this for a while now. We decided to put together some pieces tackling certain mental health themes and this is the first collaboration on this fine issue. Do visit out the talented young fellow on his blogsite: https://spacewalker314.wordpress.com/ and be sure to expect more collaborations in the not so distant future.