Ever since I could remember I’ve felt inhuman, especially around normal people. There was nothing normal about me and I knew this for sure the year I made my first transformation into the beast I am ‘til this day. Anger was the only way to trigger the monster that lived inside me and as the years go by it become harder and harder to control. I felt like the Hulk in these situations, I knew what was going on but had no control over it. Did I want to tell my parents about my beast? Of course because it scared the hell out of me but my mother spent most of her time scolding me about grades and drilling me for a test and my dad’s job was to demanding so we didn’t get to spend a lot of time together.
Growing up was lonely and terrifying at the same time. Many ask me why growing up was lonely if I had so many friends and I always answered, “Being the only child is as lonely as it gets.” I told them this because I felt like no one knew what I had to go through and I didn’t feel comfortable telling my friends all my secrets. The terrifying part was not knowing when I would shift into my monster after a nightmare in the middle of the night or when a classmate made me mad. My biggest fear after my first transformation was that my parents would find out and hate what I really was…a monster.
Years went by slowly and as they did so my beast grew stronger and stronger. When I was about fifteen I had learned that my monster could no longer grow but there was no need, I had already reached adulthood. At that point in my life I felt the same way in my human form also. Most nights I cooked for myself because even my mom’s job as a doctor became too demanding for her to come home at a decent time. I kind of liked being at home by myself but the silence would get overwhelming and I would have to invite a friend or two over…mostly Alex and JJ.
High School was actually enjoyable. I had fewer accidents then in my younger age and my beast became easier to control once I joined the varsity band as second chair clarinetist. Why was varsity band the reason I had fewer accidents? Because it helped me with control and kept me focused on what I had to do—get a good education. It paid off my senior year and I knew I would walk across the stage along with my classmates. What made graduation even better was getting an extra week off because of exemptions. I didn’t even have to ask my teachers if I was exempt or not, I was an AB student…my mom would accept anything less.
My mornings always started with a relaxing run through the piney woods of Mississippi. For the past month, I’ve been running a path I designed and created after I was accepted into varsity band. Every day since I made the path, I ran it to stay in shape. Now, there was no particular reason to do so, but if it was to better myself then I’m going to do it.
As I ran, I would think about what dad must be doing. The most time I spend with him was by watching TV, and see his smile from winning another case. The best part was that he would even call me, and that was enough for me. Not fair though, is it? I knew he loved me, and missed me. He would do anything to spend more time with me, but he had a job to do and I understood that. Mom was the one that didn’t understand any of it. Only a year after I was born, mom divorced dad, and gained custody over me. I could visit dad whenever I wanted, which was fine by me, but he was at work most of the time.
Thursday morning I was woken by a nightmare at around four o’clock and decided to begin my running through the piney woods early. At first I thought about my previous marching seasons and how much of a parent my band director, Mr. Sanders, had been towards me. But they soon faded into memories of when my parents fought like crazy. They crashed into my thoughts like a mallet pounds into its key. I slowed my pace to a jog, and had to finally stop. The memories only fueled my anger, and I couldn’t let my anger get out of control again. Last time I shifted, I was nearly caught and shot by two hunters. They took me for a panther, which was stupid of them because I was covered in golden brown fur.
“Think of a happy place,” I whispered under my breath a few times.
I closed my eyes, and thought of the most peaceful place on earth. I allowed my breathing to slow as I did so. I thought of a lush forest filled with the sweet smell of fresh rain, an enormous waterfall raining down into a fat river, and the exuberant songs of the birds flying in the canopy. This forest was my only escape from my real life.