I think it was Patrick, but it is quite blurry in my mind.
Maybe you wanted to vanish so much, you took your name along with you, to make sure not to leave any trace behind…
I had met you online. On mIRC, for those who remember. You were seventeen. I have no idea what had made our paths cross, but after a little bit of chatting, you had decided I could be trusted with your sad story…
You’re mom had passed when you were just a child, and you lived in a little village, in the country, with your alcoholic father. On the farm he owned, things weren’t going well, because of his addiction, and he blamed you from a very early age, for every bad turn his life was taking.
He was beating you. Really bad. And too often to even imagine how you could have made it to 17 candles… If only you could have dreamt of a birthday cake back then. He had total control on you physically, and when we “met”, he was on the verge of ruining your sanity too.
I remember when you told me your teachers had trouble placing your hair to hide the bruises and the cuts to your head, when it was time for the yearly picture. It was a small village, and everybody knew what happened in your father’s house… But what could they do?
You had cried for help once… And were taken away by Child Protection. Thinking your time in Hell was over. But bureaucracy is a dirty blind thing, and after a while, you were sent back to him. And he was waiting for you!
You told me how he beat you like a savage that night. How he had broken wooden chairs on your back, and how you thought you were going to die. That night. On the kitchen floor. You survived, but you gave up on seeking help.
Even in those terrible life conditions, you were a brilliant and curious boy. You wanted to finish Highschool, even if he had chosen otherwise. He wanted you on the farm to help run it. Might aswell called you a slave.
But you still had a strong mind, and you decided to take night classes, without telling him. You were so damn scared he would take that from you too, that you used to tell him you were going to the village’s tavern to meet the boys and party… Making him beleive you two were, like father like son!
I think that’s what made me the saddest in your whole story. You faking being on the road leading straight to alcoholism, to be able to go to school after working your whole day on the farm…. And him, proud (for the first time) that his son was tagging along toward addiction and destruction (or so he thought)
And we talked about those things many times. On the computer first… Then you dared to let me call you on the phone. We had to wait until he was drunk and asleep. You’d hide somewhere, and we talked for hours…
We both laughed, and we both cried, but you always had an ear making sure your father wasn’t waking up. A few times, you had to hang up without notice, and I had been terrified he would beat you for talking to me. Each time, I received a message in the morning, telling me he hadn’t caught you, and I sighed in relief.
You came to Trois-Rivières once. Since I lived at my parents’ back then, I had asked a friend if she could leave me her aparment for the afternoon, so we could have some place comfy and cosy to talk.
It was a shock, to meet you in person. My mind probably couldn’t process everything I knew about you, and made me think you were just a character I had made up. Face to face, I finally realized how real you were.
You were very good looking, despite the hallow look in your eyes and your cheap clothes. You came in, we sat together, and talked for a long time. We listened to music too. You loved Sarah McLachlan. It must have felt so good to be secure, away from him, but you were still on the look out. Every odd sound made you step up, like a wild animal, ready to flee.
In the evening, it was heart crushing to let you go. There was nothing romantic between us, but I felt what awaited you was only going to get worse with time…
We never saw each other again. We kept in touch for a while, and when came your eighteenth birthday, you ran away from the farm…
I didn’t hear from you for what seemed an eternity.
And then you contacted me. To say that you were some place safe, and that you were learning a good job (I think you were going to be a truck driver). And then I never had news again…
You disapeared… Vanished! Just like you had wished for, for so long!
And I never could blame you.
I just hope that 20 years later, you found a great woman and that she has thaught you there is good in this world. I hope you have a wonderful life, and never think of your younger years… To some extent, I almost hope you don’t remember me. I was too intricately part of the bad period of your life. I hope you’re doing well, and smilling!
I think of you every now and then… Especially when I hear “Good Enough” from Sarah McLachlan… I tried so hard to keep that light shining within you, knowing that for at least one person you were, indeed good enough.
Oh how I wish all of this was just fiction….