Below the calm blue sky, that is littered with white clouds, are the palm trees swaying in the breeze. As the leaves of the palms rustle back and forth with a rhythmic chaos, a man is lying beneath. His name is Derrick, but that’s not important. He is wearing long ratty pants, and layers upon layers of dirty, mute colored shirts. Alone, slumped up against the tree he has no other place to be, but where he is. Nothing on his agenda, no stress, no one to worry about him, he is alone. In total and utter freedom. Yet he doesn’t feel free, he doesn’t feel alone, he doesn’t feel as if he has no obligations. He feel the pressure of survival, that he is rejected, he feels trapped. Slowly falling out of his drunken delusions, the memories start to rush back. Becoming more opaque with each minute until he could finally recall how he ended up in his situation. Although it had been one night that left him in his current situation, it was a predisposed reality that was brought to fruition early in his life. Born the youngest in his family, by at least ten years, he was always an outcast. Always treated as a mistake that brought sadness and hardship to his family, and they made sure he was aware of it. When he was five years old and could finally communicate, his family would use him as the scapegoat for whatever went wrong in their life. If his father beat his mother, then it was his fault, and he accepted it. Unaware of any other option he would go along with the blame, only trying to prove his worth to the only people that had ever frequented his life. Always trying desperately to make up for the mistake of his own birth, because according to his father, that was his fault too, he would try his best at everything he did, but never got any recognition for it. When he would bring home sports trophies, he would only be condemned by his parents for wasting their time and money with such silly endeavors. Whenever his teachers sent home report cards with stellar grades and supportive comments, his parents would only shrug, and in differently say, “Do better.”
As he continued through his childhood, he continued to be alienated by his family and condemned by his parents. It was a cycle of abandonment that left him with very few friends, and nowhere to go. Often times he would find himself hanging out under the bleachers of the baseball fields late after school, reading just to keep him mind off of his life. Derrick loved learning, he could read at an exceptional pace which helped fuel his search for knowledge. Getting lost in a textbook was a nightmare for most teenager, however, for him it was a way to escape, an opportunity to create something, to find a way out of loneliness. He would never pay attention in class, he would rather follow his own path to knowledge.
One day he was sitting in the back of class, reading one of his favorite books about space, as he often did. However this day, the principal came into class and whispered to the teacher that Derrick was needed. In a wave of confusion Derrick made his way out of the class, feeling the heat of all the students glares. Was he in trouble? He couldn’t recall anything that would put him in this situation, so he began to grow nervous. Once he made it to the principal’s office, he could feel the heavy words caught on the inner part of the principals lips. Almost in a regretful tone the principal said, “I am so sorry, but your father died in a drunk driving accident earlier today.” The words felt surreal, a shiver ran through his spine. He knew he wasn’t fully grasping the situation, yet he also knew that this would change his life forever.