House of Pain

by Zach Masri

Negative thoughts scout through my wilderness awaiting their chance to creep out of the trees and break free. It is up to me as the lone wanderer to stay on the right path to ensure a safe and highly stable journey. Sweeping past these lonely pages that reflect my inner turmoil and self-loathing that has carried on now for far too long have brought me to the conclusion that I do not wish to die.

I am writing this to you from the confines of my buddy Ricky Smith’s childhood home in the heart of the East End. It shares a similar vibe to my home just a click away in the sense that it represents failure, torn relationships, and missed opportunities. I find most of the homes in this neighbourhood share this sense of charm - they are a symbol for it and the houses suck you in once you have reached that breaking point; it’s as if God is up there staring me dead in the eye and screaming in my ear. I think he would say something like

“THIS WILL BE IT, ROCK BOTTOM. LIFT THE BOULDER MY SON,” .

To fill you in on this, Ricky’s mom is a loopy bipolar who chooses to not take her medication and is always off-the-rocker as a result - in addition, Rick’s equally unstable father who left used to beat the fuck out of her years prior to now. She takes out her deep-seeded aggression on Ricky who shares an uncanny resemblance to that of his father. I don’t think he likes to think about his troubled family life when he’s with me but, that goes without saying.

As i said earlier, these houses somehow always seem to pull you back when you are at your weakest possible point. Rick lost his job, became penniless, and now is forced to crawl back into this cesspool swarming with bugs, dog shit, torn walls, garbage, and cigarette butts.

Ballsy move on his part.

I remember the last time I was here when Rick reached his wit’s end with this place and made the informed decision to move out and into his brother Doug’s apartment. Easy task on paper, but trust me when I say that that night in-particular was a shit storm and a half.

We crept in that night only to discover that all of his belongings were packed into garbage bags; we began gathering as much as we could carry to my end of town. As we attempted this, Rick’s mother ran into the living room in a pair of sweatpants, a tank top, and a lit cigarette dangling from her gapped front teeth and proceeded to swing at Rick’s head with a passion.

Rick's younger brother Rowan soon scurried out alongside their Aunt and a whole scuffle ensued. At this point I dashed my cigarette to the ground and jumped in to break it up and it ended with me getting hit in the process by everyone.

In the middle of this family brawl, Rick got up with his fists clenched at his sides and swung directly at a portrait of his mother and father on their wedding day and sunk glass deep into the skin on his knuckles.

His mother screamed,

“Get the fuck of here you fucking idiot! STAY AWAY FROM MY FAMILY!”.

I’ll never forget that moment for as long as I live; Rick’s face went from pissed to horrified and you could tell by this look and this look alone that he was fighting back tears that had been held in since this all began.

We quickly walked down the front steps of his family home and his knuckles dripped blood with every stride we took towards my neck of the woods.

Some pain is just simply not deserved.

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