Sometimes I want to scream at the top of my lungs until my voice is completely gone. Or until the pressure blows off my head, whichever comes first. The stress they put on me; I can’t handle it. It just builds and builds, and one day I’m going to POP. It’s even worse when I’m mad. The things that happen … well … I can’t help it; they just do.
You’d probably be just as pissed if you were in my shoes. I mean, do you have any freaking clue what it feels like to have been lied to for your entire life about who—or what—you are? To know that everything you thought was real couldn’t be further from the truth? And still, after everything I’ve learned, the lies keep coming.
I’m supposed to do things … change reality as we know it. But every corner I turn brings me to another obstacle, another lie.
You’d think that asking a simple “what” or “how” would get you the answers you need. Not when you’re dealing with these people. They have so much to say, yet they say nothing at all. And you know what? Secrets really piss me off. I know they’re hiding plenty from me.
By the way, I’m Ren. I’d love to have a typical going-off-to-college story with all sorts of teenage, rebellious debauchery. But I don’t. My story isn’t working like that; it never has. I’ve always been different than most. Whatever that means. For me, it means that my life has never been one you could call normal. Some of you can relate, which is great because you’ll be a big help in all of this.
I’ll try to break this down quickly for you so we can get on with the story. A few months ago, my life changed completely. Not that I had some lovely fairytale life to begin with. Life had always been a struggle, but then things got crazy. Things I never thought could—or would—happen, did. And now I, well, we (and by “we” I mean you and me and the rest of the world) really are smack dab in the middle of mayhem.
Before my life flipped upside down, I couldn’t even walk in public without thinking I was going to die. It didn’t matter where I went or who I was near; my chest would get heavy; I’d sweat bullets and twitch; my heart would race; I couldn’t breathe. Sometimes I’d want to throw up or curl into a ball. Sometimes I’d faint. I didn’t know why it happened. If I tried to explain to anyone, like a doctor, what I experience, they would just tell me I was paranoid or that I had anxiety disorder. Then they’d slap me on meds. It all changed when I met them, though. Everything changed. Because I learned the truth. And now it’s time for you to learn.
Welcome to the story of my life (my lives?) and more than likely, yours too.
I woke up coated in sweat, my hair caked onto my neck and a blood-curdling scream escaping my lips. My bedroom door flew open as Bobby came barreling in.
“Ren, are you alright?”
I sat up, trying to catch my breath.
“Bad dream again?”
I managed a swallow, hoping the saliva would ease the soreness in my throat and buy me enough time to form actual words.
“Yeah,” I gasped. “I’ll be fine.”
“Okay. Just relax. You’re safe.”
As comforting as he tried to be, the expression on his face told me just how worried he was.
He gave me one last searching look before gently pulling my door shut after him. Bobby had been my foster dad since I was 13. I’d been tossed around my entire life because no one knew how to handle me. It wasn’t unusual to hear that the family I was with could no longer care for me. My “psychological disposition” was draining. My irrational fears of dying and someone trying to kill me were only so tolerable.
Five years with Bobby and he did a pretty decent job. For the most part. I knew in my gut, though, that he would be relieved to get rid of me when I graduated from high school in six months. I think he’d only held onto me because he felt sorry for me. I was pretty pumped to move out and get a place of my own. It sucks feeling uprooted all the time; the constant comings and goings of foster kid life are wearing. As soon as school was over, I’d find a place. It would be mine and only mine. No one could kick me out. I would have a home. Finally.