I Never Wanted This
Everywhere I turn, I see people staring back down at me. It's like they can see right through my skin, past the irises in my eyes, and into my mind and soul, my secrets splayed out in front of them. I try to avoid their stares, to walk quietly away in the shadows, but it never works. Wherever I show up, heads turn, voices dim, and they look at me. I feel like a monster. I am a monster.
I never wanted to be so ugly. So why do they keep staring at me? I hate it. I'm sorry I can't afford a shaver to get rid of my ragged beard. I'm sorry I can't afford to buy food and eat at tables like they can.
"Please…I want to go home…" My hands are like baskets, cradled against each other as I fall to my knees in front of the girl who lives in the mansion. Maybe she has no more money to spare, or maybe she feels tainted just looking at me, because she ignores me and walks quickly in the other direction.
Desperate, I followed her, begging the whole way. "I want to see Mother," I cried, real tears escaping out of my eyes. But when we pass the fountain, and we arrive at her house, she goes in and slams the door in my face.
I never wanted to be poor. When I begged, it was because I had no other way. No one had accepted when I requested for a job, not because they didn't need more help, but because it was me who was asking—I was too incapable, too dirty, too weak and ugly.
"Hey Kate, look! It's the hobo."
"Hahaha! Hugh, see how ugly he is. Look at these rocks—ooh, I just thought of a new game! It's called 'throw rocks at the ugly hobo'!"
"Hey, Ugly! Why are there those ugly purple things all over you? Do you have a disease? Kate, get away from him, he has a disease!"
And I trudge away, my shoulders sagging over, as a heavy stone hits me in the back of the head. I fall forward, bleeding, and I can hear them laughing behind me.
I never wanted Mother and Father to hate me. They hurt me and beat me and stopped feeding me, so I grew thin and sick. I left home because no one wanted me there anymore. But I wanted to go home now. I wanted someone to love me. I wanted to know what it felt like to be loved, to have someone care about me.
It's that girl from the mansion again, the one who closed the door in front of me. It's quite dark, and I'm the only one roaming the cold streets, maybe because no one wants to see me. But the girl is by the beach, on the shore, and there's a man beside her, looking a bit older. They're speaking to each other, in voices so low I can't hear them, and then their lips touch and they kiss.
I look away, because I know I can never have that.
I never wanted to be alive. Sometimes I wished I were dead and laid there, in the wilderness, waiting for something to come out and eat me, but nothing ever did. Maybe I smelled too bad. I drank away my troubles when I received the little money I could, because I knew I would never have enough to return home anyway. I wanted to forget it all, and pretend for even the shortest time that everyone didn't hate me, and that I didn't exist, and that people loved me.
I can see the blonde girl staring at me as I walk into the room. I'm the only one there; I came early, just to avoid the staring, but it doesn't seem to be working. She glances away when I look back at her, and I just stand there, shorter than she is, scared that if I sit down she'll leave.
"May I have a drink?" I whisper. The lake water doesn't taste very good, and it leaves my throat feeling hoarse and dirty.
"…Okay…" Her green eyes are appraising me, and her lips are pulled into a frown. She's still watching me by the time I chug down the beverage she hands me, and her hand retreated quickly when mine grew closer to take the drink.
Suddenly another man, an older one, walks in from the backroom. He freezes when he sees me drinking in the middle of the room, just standing there. The girl leans in and whispers something into his ear, like I'm not even there, and then he approaches me and says in a loud voice, "Hey, hobo, I thought you said you wanted to go home. Why do you waste all your money drinking in the bar? Does your family hate you too? Go home."
I never wanted to be a loser. I've always wanted to have a friend, just one. Everyone shuns me, though. I'm so ugly that they don't even bother to get to know me. Maybe that's how disgusting I am, so gross that people can't even stand ten feet away and talk to me.
"Please, can I have some money?"
The girl with the brown hair, the new arrival who would be taking over the farm, looked at me. She didn't look at me like I was a cockroach, or disgusting dirt on the ground. She looked at me like I was a normal person, and I got the best feeling in the world.
"Of course," she said, and she reached into her pockets when suddenly a door opened from behind her.
A man with thick eyebrows and an angry face pounded toward us. He sized me up with his narrowed eyes and then he looked over at the girl, mad that she was talking to a hypocrite like me.
"…And Jill, this is the town hobo," he said gruffly, and the girl's eyes were on me, looking shocked. "Stay away from him. He may say he wants to go home, but he's a liar; he doesn't even have one. One time he used the money I gave him and just got drunk at the bar." Then the man turned to me, looking like he might hit me. I knew what that looked like; I was used to it. "Get out of here!" he shouted.
"Wait…" the girl began, but I looked at my feet and stumbled away, knowing what would happen if I did wait.
I never wanted to be judged. I knew everyone was judged—the girl in the mansion, the man in the bar, the new farmer. But I hated it when people judged me. Because there was never anything positive to be said, nothing good that could become of a filthy hobo like me.
I never wanted to be me, Murrey. And I'm sorry that I'm so ugly. I'm sorry that I'm so poor. I'm sorry that everyone hates me. I'm sorry that I can't be normal. I'm sorry that I'm the lying town hobo.
I'm sorry for existing.