Adolescence … This word we don’t stop hearing everywhere. At home, at school, in class, with friends, with family …This long and terrible period following the onset of puberty during which a young person develops from a child into an adult.

Some of us want to stay forever young which is impossible and others want and have to grow up faster, tired of being a teenager, tired of the world surrounding us. That’s what happened to me one year ago. I had everything I needed and as crazy as it sound I was happy – or happier than I am right now - even If I didn’t have the life every teenager dreamed about.

I was just sixteen.

An innocent teenager who wanted to feel free.

A kid who wanted to escape his terrible life.

At that time I knew what I wanted, but I didn’t know who I was but it seems like people did.

For each one of them, I was Connor  Evans, the mysterious and popular teenager of his school. They thought they knew everything about me but if we think about it just for a few they didn’t even know where I lived or where I came from. In their eyes I was the teenager who didn’t really care about grades, or what people think of him. I was that kind of careless person. I didn’t care about anything but that’s what they thought. I did care about people I am attached to:  I would die a thousand times for them; by this I mean my mum and my younger sister. They ‘were’ everything I have.

One day someone said ‘ don’t judge a book by it’s cover’ but that’s what they were all doing. Thinking I had everything they dreamed of, looking at me with green-eyed looks and acting like my friends but they were all fake. All of them:  ‘Buy a gift for a dog, and you'll be amazed at the way it will dance and swerve its tail, but if you don't have anything to offer to it, it won't even recognize your arrival; such are the attributes of fake friends.’ They just wanted and needed to be seen with the popular Connor  Evans. What about the miserable and foolish one? They didn’t know him, they have never ever met this side of me.

I hide everything about it until I go back home after school, then the nightmare starts again. I go back home to my drunk dad beating my mum, and my sister crying her heart out in the corner of the room. I wanted to do something about it, I wanted to stop this but every time I saw this terrible scene I felt all the strength go out of me, I fall to my knees next to my sister and watch. It’s like a movie repeating itself every single day.

I wanted to scream or maybe to cry. But no sounds came out of my mouth; my whole body was burning, screaming while I was crying silently.

I wanted to know or at least understand what happened to the happy family we were, what happened to the perfect couple my parents were, what happened to my sister who was always jumping and singing around the room and what happened to me? I don’t know how long it will takes for me to react and stop this, stop living in this hell.

 I told you my life was far from being perfect. Maybe at some point it was but not anymore. We used to live in a really small house; my father didn’t have enough money to hire another one. Well he never had the money and he never ever got a job, my mother had to work to pay this house and to keep it. I don’t know why they call it a house, it was a rat hole: small, filthy, old and ready to collapse.

My mum lost her job, she started blaming my dad about our pathetic situation. My dad lost it saying that he never wanted this, he sank in alcohol and drugs and he started being violent with my mum. She didn’t say anything; I’ve never seen her crying when he beats her. She just keeps looking at him until he is done then she comes to us and tells us that everything will be alright.

I wish it was true. I wish.

But it was just the beginning.

She found a job as a waitress in a fast food restaurant in town, and she kept working really late at night. I was aware that she was doing this for us to be happy. She showed us that she was strong when she was broken; she smiled when she was silently crying. She took her mother role seriously until her last breath.  I never knew her last breath was soon, really soon.

I lost her; I lost a part of me.

He killed her; he killed the woman he once loved with all his heart. 

That’s when I understood that true love is the magic you feel when you look into each other’s eyes and recite poems that you don’t know the meaning of … And then it comes to reality: He denied her, she loved him. She trusted him, he killed her and run away.

How would you feel if you came back from school one day and find your mum’s dead body on the floor and your sister laying down next to her trying to wake her up? She was too young to understand, but since that moment I knew… I knew that we were left alone. I didn’t know what to do, and maybe I acted immature when I packed some our stuff and left this house with my sister.

We had no family, no home, nothing. We only had Aunt Sally, she is the only one who can take care of my sister, so I dropped her there with no explanations and thank god Aunt Sally didn’t ask anything. She didn’t look at us with pity she just smiled and hugged us. It would have felt good if my life were different.

 That day I had another sleepless night; my mother’s picture was haunting me and killing me slowly. I was blaming myself for everything that happened to her. I could’ve made her happy. I could have … but still, I was showing no emotions, I didn’t want anyone to know how I’m feeling. She used to tell me ‘Connor, never show your feelings to anyone they could use It against you and try to break you ‘, sothat’s what I did, I got up, got dressed and left for school. As soon as I got there every one started staring and whispering – as usual -, I loved the attention I got. At least people notice me.

I headed to my math class, not looking to anyone. I wasn’t in the mood. For God’s Sake my mother died yesterday but of course no one does know about it, or should I say they still don’t know. I just have to act normal and pretend everything is okay: wink at girls, laugh with friends, make fun of nerds and teachers, and ditch classes. Deep inside I was suffocating.

When I went back to my aunt’s place, the cops were there. I wish that moment never came. They just kept asking questions about my mum’s death but I said I didn’t know anything. I lied.

Or it would have been too easy for my dad. They would’ve found him and arrested him; I didn’t want it that way. I wanted him to suffer, to feel pain just how my mum felt it, I wanted him to beg me not to kill him. I promised myself to kill him with my own hands even if it would be the last thing I’ll do in life.

‘Dear dad,

I’m still here.

I know what you’ve done.

I am coming for you. Vengeance is mine.’

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