A few short excerpts from what is probably the darkest project I’ve written so far; it’s from the point-of-view of a mildly mentally disabled man in a unrelentingly grim environment who’s mother will probably not be winning ‘mom of the year’ award any time soon. I don’t know how accurate this is to the voice of a person with mild MR, so feel free to give me your opinion on the character and the realism factor. For more pieces on this character, click HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, or HERE. —
Mommy says Im a beanpole; I dont know what that means and whether its mean, but Mommy says it just means Im tall and skinny. Mom can be mean, sometimes she calls me ‘Mr. Smarty Pants’ or ‘Mr. Wiseass’ when I act like I think I know better then her or talk back, or else she just hits me. She sometimes hits me so hard I fall on the floor, then she cries and apologizes cause she knows my brain is fragile. Im 21 years old but Im always gonna be about twelve, I got the brain of a twelve-year-old boy. Its not my fault, its just the way I am. I went to special ed with the other retarded kids (a lot of them were a lot stupider then me, lemme tell you!) and I started going to the normal class when I was fourteen. I tried hard to fit in but the smart kids were very cruel to me, they didnt think I should be in the same class as them. They used to trick me into doing and saying things and have contests to see who could make me cry first, and once they tied my shoelaces together and I tripped and got a concussion, so the boys who did it, Adam and Dylan, were suspended for hurting me. My mom wanted them to go to juvie for what they did to me but they didnt. Adam said he didnt know my brain was hurt but he was lying, he did know. Everybody knew my brain was hurt, they even asked to feel my head, under my hair, where the scar was. I told them Adam was lying but Principal Mr. Callison said they couldnt prove it one way or the other. “You can prove it, cause its true!” I said. Mom said I needed to stay calm, she knew Principal Callison was kind of a little bitch, but yelling wasnt gonna get me nowhere. Adam and Dylan came back to school but they never bothered me again. Dylan even told me he was sorry, he and Adam were just having fun and he didnt think about my brain being hurt, and I said it was okay cause what the hell else was I supposed to say? I was still scared of him, even though Adam was worse. School sucked, and I was held back a year because even with my special helper teacher and all the different things the school did for me I just wasnt getting ahead. Miss Hart, my helper teacher, said I wasnt trying hard at all, she said she thought I was depressed. I went to a school guidance counselor for a little while but I didnt say much, so finally they gave up. There was so much I didnt think I could talk about.
I didnt need people like Moms boyfriends hanging around in my life because I was lonely. At least I had her, and she had me. I begged her not to make me go to school so I could stay home and we could play together all day. I heard one boy in my class had a cousin was homeschooled, and I told my mama I wanted to homeschool too. I was scared of going to school, sometimes I faked being sick. Sometimes I actually did get sick and I got a stomachache or threw up. Mommy said she was a high school ‘drop-out’, what the fuck was she suppose to do? The bullying got worse and one time I was running away from some kids and I thought about getting myself run over on purpose. I started running towards the street and Miss Hart yelled “Dwight, no!” I stopped and Miss Hart ran over to me as fast as she could in her clicky high heeled shoes. She told me those kids were getting suspended and we sat down together in her office and had tea in her fancy cups. Nobody else would let me hold anything fancy, ever. I broke everything. My mom used to say the more expensive something was the faster I would break it. When she said that people would laugh but I didnt think it was very funny. I started crying and my helper teacher Miss Hart put her arm around me and took the tea cup from me so I wouldnt break it. The bullying got a little better because Miss Hart was protecting me. They still bullied me but I never thought about getting myself run over by a car on purpose again. I wanted to marry Miss Hart, I told her I wanted to marry her and she laughed and said “I think youll feel differently when you get older, Dwight. But Im flattered.” I thought Id always feel this way but then I started getting crushes on girls in my class. I was in the regular class by then and Miss Hart was getting paid to help me with my work. She helped me with other things too, like telling the teacher when I needed something and being able to tell when other kids were being ‘serious’ or ‘sarcastic.’ Like when they said “Dwight, nice shirt” and what they really meant was it was dorky. Or when they said I was genius and I said “Im not a genius” and they started laughing, and what they meant was I wasnt very smart. Miss Hart said I was very literal because of what happened to my brain when I was little. Certain parts just didnt work as good no more. But then I started yelling and throwing things when I realized kids were being sarcastic, and when I realized the teachers were sometimes sarcastic too. I had one teacher who used to say “That was real clever, Dwight” and roll his eyes and at first I thought he really thought I was clever, but then I realized he thought I was stupid too. He was a teacher, he wasnt suppose to think those things about me, but I started seeing that people were being sarcastic more often and it made me really angry. I started being sarcastic too and I got in trouble, even though my teacher Mr. Miller didnt. None of it was fair. I wished I could go back to being totally literal and thinking people were being nice to me.
Once Mom left me in a car for an hour outside a bar so she could drink with her new boyfriend Ray. They had gone straight from my school and didnt have time to take me home, so Mommy gave me some candy and told me to be a good boy and be very, very quiet. She said she and Ray were going to meet some of Rays friends and have a little party. “Like a birthday party?”
“Yeah, baby, yeah.”
I asked her if I was really, really quiet could I have more candy and she said I could have lots of candy! Just lie down and take a little nap and Mommy would be back before I knew it. She gave me my favorite toy, a teddy bear named Sherman, because he made me laugh and calmed me down every time. I hoped nobody from my school would see me with Sherman because I was a teenager, I didnt want them to think I was really stupid having a teddy bear. I was in that car for a long time, and finally I peed my pants and went looking for Mom. I was crying, I felt like I couldnt breathe. It was dark outside and I found my way to the bar and went inside. Ray saw me and started hitting me. He called me a dumb bastard and Mom was screaming for him to stop. Somebody in the bar called the police and Ray took me and mom and did the skedaddle. Ray threw away Sherman Bear as punishment for me not doing what I was told. Mom broke up with him later, she said he was a little too much for her.