I used to be a horrible person and not that long ago.
I’ve been trying so hard to change.
I know it’s only been two weeks that I’ve been trying to mend my ways but it’s very difficult when you haven’t been nice for such a long time.
The main reason for me wanting to change is quite simple really. I’m lonely.
Horrible people aren’t likeable. I know that first hand because my dad was and is horrible too. That’s why mum left him when I was a kid. “I’m off” she yelled one night. It probably wasn’t any louder than she usually shouted but it had more impact on me when she added ”You can keep Patrick too because he’s just like you…horrible”.
I remember the exact night she left us – a Wednesday, and Dad’s dart night at the pub. “Get yerself some chips for dinner” he called out as he shut the front door behind him but not before dropping a five dollar note on the mat at the door. (Nothing stopped him trying to get a bullseye – not even his wife walking out!)
I sat eating my chips, hating the world, my mum, my dad and all the kids at school – and the teachers. I felt like the whole world was against me.
I had a rat I called Ratty and I loved him. I could talk to him and tell him all my problems and he would listen. Sometimes when I was feeling at my worst I would stuff him in my backpack and take him to school. I wished Ratty had of been real instead of a stuffed animal but I didn’t dare ask my dad for a real one…he used to set traps to catch them and it made him unusually happy when he picked up the large trap, usually from under the kitchen sink and saw it had a big rat lying in it with a startled look in his eyes. I thought it was most likely because the poor rat couldn’t believe the size of the piece of cheese he had just found.
“Look at this big ‘un” dad would say to me in gleeful tones and then add “Take if off and put it in the bin!”
He shouted at me a lot. “Tidy your room. Do your homework. Make yourself a toasty for dinner because I’m not going to be in”. I really liked it when he wasn’t home. I never did my homework, instead I watched television and that’s probably why the teachers couldn’t be bothered with me – not handing in homework and making up feeble excuses for not doing it. One day my English teacher, Mr Brambles said to me “Patrick, if you’re going to lie about not doing your homework, please don’t tell me one more time that your Auntie died because so far this year I’ve counted seventeen Auntie’s and I find that very hard to believe!”
I think in hindsight I should have been a cat burglar or a bank robber. I could steal lunch out of someone else’s school bag in a few seconds and be sitting eating it miles away from anyone in under a minute. “Who stole my lunch?” someone yelled but I was the other side of the playground and knew nothing about it.
Whatever I didn’t have, I would take from someone else’s bag or locker. I never got caught and even when the principal came into class and asked us all individually if we stole the thing, I could lie brilliantly AND I was even better at hiding stolen goods where no one would find them! (I always left them in a good spot and came back later when the school was empty).
If I really didn’t like someone I would be really nasty – such as the time I didn’t get invited to Steven’s party (I didn’t get invited to any parties but I thought for a fleeting second as he handed out the invitations that I might be in with a chance) but no it wasn’t to be and the usual three people were left out. Me, Philip Moore, who always smelt and Sophie Johnson who was cross eyed and had the worst breath I had ever known.
Some people might wonder why I was left out when I was actually always clean and brushed my teeth every morning (If I didn’t it was a clip across the ear for me) Well I think it’s because I liked to get people into trouble.
Anyway feeling disgruntled at not being invited, yet again to a party, the next day I said ‘hello’ cheerily to Steven and wished him a ‘happy birthday’. Then I took the bag of dog ‘poo’ that was tightly wrapped up in my bag and tipped it into Steven’s bag…I made sure that it was right down the bottom and his before school sport uniform was on top of it. When he came to his bag at the end of the day he would do what he usually did, just plonk his heavy books and files right on top of the t-shirt and shorts. I felt very pleased with myself!
I sometimes felt like an island. Everyone around me was the ocean and I was just sitting or standing in the middle of them all - always on my own. I suppose a lot of it was my own fault. I was too angry most of the time to have friends. It was mostly with my dad but it stayed with me for a long time so whoever was around me at the time, got it.
I never really felt sorry for myself, well not very often and when I did, I thought it was justified. Like the time my dad actually forgot my birthday!
I was turning thirteen. To most of the kids in my class that was a special birthday – it was sort of coming of age, turning into a teenager and the whole entire thing. Anyway my dad happened to be going away for the weekend – to a darts tournament.
I was a bit sneaky and wanted to see if he would actually remember his child’s birthday without being reminded so I didn’t say anything to him.
He had arranged for me to stay with my only other relative, well anyone I knew about, and it was my dad’s sister. She was a widow with no children and I couldn’t stand her. I had a feeling that he was paying her to have me for the weekend because when he was on the phone asking her I heard him say “that’s a bit steep for two nights!”….
So he took me there on the Friday and picked me up on the Sunday and he wasn’t too happy when he turned up because they had lost the tournament!
I thought ‘Good’!
I hated the weekend with ‘Auntie Fran’. She was a boring old grump. It was like I couldn’t do a thing right. At first I did try to be a little bit nice to her but by the end of the weekend I was happy that I had let her chickens out of their coop and she could only find three out of seven. I had pretended to help her search for them, but when I found one of them down by the creek, I enticed it over, picked it up and ran as fast as I could with it to the neighbouring property and put it over their fence. I knew Auntie Fran and the neighbours didn’t get on so she wouldn’t get that chicken back!
When I left my Auntie’s house with my dad I saw him put something into her hand and I thought ‘that must be the money’.
“Say thank you Patrick” dad said to me, and I answered “Why? She doesn’t like me”
He whispered angrily in my ear “She may not like you but we might want to come back again, so be nice”.
I muttered “Thanks” and my Auntie just stared at me, turned and walked inside.
When I was getting into bed that night my dad came into my room saying “I forgot your birthday” and I thought ‘As if I don’t know that’ but I just said “Yes”
“Well if the weather is fine next Saturday I’ll take you to the park for a kick and an ice cream”
“Oh do you mean that dad?” I asked “ That will be great!”
But the next weekend it poured down with rain and anyway dad had forgotten his darts competition was on a Saturday afternoon.
When I was in High school I got a job in the local deli after school on a Wednesday and a Saturday. It gave me some money of my own (because my dad never had any for me) and I made sure I had a hiding place for my wages that he didn’t know about.
I didn’t enjoy it but why would I? I was a bit lazy and couldn’t be bothered doing anything properly! The hot food section of the shop was the worst. We were supposed to drain off the chip fat at the end of the day and take the full container down the back and bury it, but I never felt like the long walk, and it was worse when raining. I thought it was just as easy to tip it down the sink and run boiling water down the sink afterwards.
“Ok you two” said My Singh the owner of the shop one Saturday when myself and this other boy called Robert were in the kitchen after the shop had shut “
I had to get the plumber out this week to fix the drains because some lazy sod has been pouring the fat down the sink. You both know the rule. Now who was it? Come on I want the truth and the money for the plumber can be deducted from your pay”.
I knew Robert was ‘soft’ and didn’t like conflict because he told me, but also he never minded if he got the rubbish jobs to do at the end of the day – all he said was “Oh sure I’ll do it this time and you can do it next time”, but when the ‘next time came I always said “Oh go on, I can’t be bothered”, and he did it. So there was only one thing for me to do in answer to Mr Singh’s question and that was of course lie!
“I’ve seen Robert tip the fat down the sink a few times. I didn’t want to say anything but now that you’ve asked us, I have to”. I turned to Robert saying “Sorry mate but it was the wrong thing to do”.
Robert’s face was aghast. I don’t think he had ever heard anyone blatantly lie before by the look of it. He didn’t even say anything when Mr. Singh continued on and said in an annoyed tone “I can’t believe that of you Robert – I am shocked and disappointed. You can either take the money out of your earnings each week or if you want to, you can go”.
The next Wednesday after school I walked into the shop for work, but there was no Robert. He was always in before me and had done at least three jobs before I rolled up. “Where’s Robert?” I asked Mr Singh.
“Gone” was all he replied. He told me that he couldn’t work with people like us”
“What does he mean by that?” I asked knowing full well what he meant. I felt a tiny bit of remorse but I soon convinced myself that I definitely needed the money more than he did. I didn’t have a dad who dropped me off and picked me up from work in a Mercedes!
Robert’s replacement was a girl called Rachel. I could tell from the first shift that she wasn’t a pushover like Robert was. When the shop was closing up I told her that it was her job to take all the rubbish out to the big bins out the back. They were always really full and got quite heavy, especially the kitchen one which was full of food scraps. “Who said so?” she asked me
“Mr Singh’s rule – last staff member to join the team puts the bins out” I told her authoritatively.
“Well I’ll ask him, he’s just walked in”. And she did.
“Mr Singh…I was just wondering whose job it is to put the bins out at the end of a shift? Patrick said it was the last staff member to join. Is that true?”
Mr Singh just looked at us both and shook his head adding “He’s just joking Rachel. It’s the one who has been here the longest - and that would be him. Isn’t that right Patrick?” he asked, or should I have said ‘told’ me!
When I was sixteen my dad brought somebody home. Her name was Cathy and apparently they had known each other for quite a while. At first I was shocked as I hadn’t really thought of my dad having a girlfriend. But when I saw and heard how nicely he treated her I was angry. It just wasn’t fair.
Cathy made a real effort with me – she tried to talk to me but I would just walk off, sometimes in the middle of a conversation. She tried to cook the meals that I would like but I told her I preferred to cook for myself or buy take-a- way food.
It wasn’t really her so much, she was friendly enough and to be honest I couldn’t understand what she saw in him. It was my dad I was angry with – I couldn’t forgive him for treating me so harshly and being so different with Cathy. Even with her in his life, he wasn’t any better to me.
One night when I was in my room I could hear them talking and Cathy asked my dad why I didn’t like her. He replied “Don’t worry about him. He’s always been a miserable sod. Why do you think his mother left? Anyway he should move out soon – he’s seventeen in a couple of weeks”.
After I had eavesdropped for long enough to hear their entire conversation I decided there and then I would move out as soon as I could.
Rachel from work told me about her Aunty who had a back room to let and if I did work around the yard and garden then it would be very cheap rent. I was introduced to her Aunt who I immediately took a dislike to but knew I had to play my cards right as I had very little money.
Before I left home I had the biggest argument with my dad. It had been coming for a long time and we both just yelled insults, grievances, what we disliked about each other, and in the end he walked one way into the kitchen and I walked the other way through the front door.
I hoped he enjoyed the barbecue sauce he loved to squirt on most of his food because I had put enough ground up laxative in it to keep him on the loo for a week. I didn’t even feel bad that Cathy would probably put it on her chips tonight! Friday night was fish and chips before darts at the pub!
I made myself laugh too thinking of when he tried to find his sneakers to put on – he’s never find one of them at the bottom of the rubbish bin, along with the car keys of course. As if I cared.
It wasn’t that bad at Rachel’s Aunts house. I still didn’t like her; she was fussy and had two long hairs growing out of her chin that for some reason disgusted me. But she didn’t expect me to do too much work outside for her although she was very particular where I put the leaves I had swept up. They had to go in the compost bin way down the back of the yard- quite often they went in the normal bin under other rubbish or over the neighbour’s fence. It didn’t bother me.
Rachel started coming over to her Aunt’s to visit and I didn’t like it. I couldn’t really stop her as it was her Aunty but it began to irritate me. I thought that I saw enough of her at work two days a week and didn’t need to see her any more than that.
Rachel would always bring over something that she had baked especially for me. I was tempted to eat some of it, but didn’t want to encourage her so each time I just said “I don’t think I like the look of that” – simple as that.
I think I offended her. Oh well!
She told me that her Aunt really liked me and said if Rachel came over for tea one night a week we could have dinner together. I had to put a stop to that idea! so I told her…
“Rachel I really don’t want you coming over to eat dinner with your Aunt and me. I’m finding it a bit much that you come over at all. Let’s just keep our relationship to just seeing each other at work. I realise it’s your Aunty and I can’t stop you but when you arrive I shall go to my room.
Rachel didn’t know what to say to that but she soon found a few words “You are a weirdo Patrick and a really horrible, nasty AND confused person. You need to sort yourself out or you will never have friends and you will be very lonely for the rest of your life.
It was two weeks ago that I heard those words.
I’m hoping that one day she will forgive me and maybe ‘who knows’…….