POV: Charles McDaniel
In this post:
For weeks, a strange feeling had started to build up in me. I couldn’t pin point what it was or what was causing it. I just know that sometimes I would feel down. Sometimes I would feel like I had to force my body to function and my mine to work. Even getting out of bed was a chore. I figured that my body was just fighting off a virus or something. Nothing truly important and eventually it would run its course.
That was until the day, I lost it. Completely and physically. I had just closed up shop and was about to start the task of putting away the vegetables and fruits for the next day. When my body gave out and my mind went blank.
I sat right on that floor for a long time. Images of my life just flashing through my mind. This overwhelming sense of despair hit me. Rocked me to my core.
I wanted to scream but held back. I didn’t want to alter my mother who was working in the greenhouse of my condition. She had enough stress in her life to last her a couple of lifetimes and things had finally settled down for her. She even had a boyfriend, Matt, and he had moved in a few months ago.
At that thought, Mom and Matt. My mind started to conjure up imagines of my future. All I can say was it looked awful bleak. I saw myself still on this farm. Still struggling, trying to earn just enough to pay the bills and maybe have a little bit extra life over. By my side I saw a woman and a couple of kids. They all looked unhappy, tired and rundown.
When I finally managed to collect myself it was already dark outside. I completely lost track of time and had know idea how long I had been sitting in the store, losing it.
The air outside was cool and crisp. I took a deep breathe and than froze as a picture settled through my mind. My dad, in this same position, almost in the same spot. Doing the same thing. Only he wasn’t trying to pick up the pieces of his mind. He was trying to fill his lungs with air. Trying to breathe after his body had a horrible reaction to a bee sting.
This place must be cursed.
I tired to pretend that everything was alright when I walked into the house. Mom and Matt were waiting on me, they never started dinner until I was at the table. No matter how many times I told them it was fine.
I had almost fooled myself into believing that I had put on a good mask. That they didn’t suspect that something was wrong until Mom asked “What’s wrong, Charles?”
I really wanted to unload it all right there on the table. To share my burdened with them and get it off my back. I mean I shouldn’t be the only one worried about my future. About this farms future. She and dad were the ones that had the dream of moving away from the city to become farmers. To have a big family and raise country bumpkin kids. It really isn’t fair that I had to take over the massive loan they got to buy this farm. That I had to bare this weight all by myself.
“Nothing, mom.” I said, forcing a smile across my face. I’m surprised my face didn’t crack.
That night I could hear them in the family room, talking. I was in the bathroom washing up, prepping for bed. Their words were muffled but I am sure they were talking about me.
I wondered if they thought that I had a problem with Matthew living with us. I didn’t. I am happy for mom, happy that she has someone to spend her golden years with. She shouldn’t be lonely. She had stayed single for years after Dad’s death and deserved to be happy, right? After outliving her husband and daughter.
They weren’t the problem this place was.
I managed for a time to handle the running of the farm without losing it again but everything wasn’t back to normal. I could feel the pressure, as I now like to call it, build. It happened a little more everyday. Some days were worse than others. If I am honest with myself, I think talking to customers made it worse. I always ended up comparing myself to them and wondered how different my life could have really been.
Right now, I could have been in college. Chasing girls, studying for finals.
I mean really. My life was nothing compared to that of David Hale’s. This guys a minor league basketball player. Gets paid tons of money and only works half the girl. Probably has girls chasing him down in the street.
And here I am helping him pick out a ripe tomato.
It was a few days later when I knew that I couldn’t take anymore. I knew at any moment I would lose it again. Before I could embarrass myself and scare Mom and Matthew. I called a cab and headed to Eaton. When the cabby asked where I wanted to go I told him, “Anywhere I can let off some steam.”
He took me to a nightclub.
I headed straight for the bar.
The bartender didn’t ask for my indentification which was good since I hadn’t brought any with me. I sat at the bar and order my first drink, ever. I was rough going down but I liked the warm feeling it gave me as it settled in my stomach. I ordered another, and another. Losing count of how many.
“Come one, farmboy. It’s time to get you home” A voice interupted me as I savored the last sip of the dark alcohol in my glass. I knew that voice, hadn’t heard it in a long time, Meadow Thayer. We had graduated from Eaton High together I use to ride the bus back to Oasis Valley with her boyfriend Nyack. They both were now in college. That thought made me want another drink. I tried to turn to the bar and place an order but stumbled. I think on the rug.
“We’ll get you a cab and take you home.” She said pointing to her friend. My eyes could barely focus, but I’m sure he wasn’t Nyack.
I felt a hand on my back pressing me forward. Meadow was by my side lightly holding my arm. I remember the cab pulling up but after that its all black.
I woke up the next morning with a pounding headache. I had to keep my eyes shut for longer than normal, the lights in the room were just to bright. Than it hit me, I wasn’t in bed alone.
My mother snored softly besides me.
- The McDaniel’s have a whole lot of debt. When I originally started the hood, I assumed that they would make a lot of money as a farming family. I didn’t realize how much work it is to take care of a farm. Nor did I plan for Carol and Michael (Charles parents) having such a hard time getting pregnant. Or Michael and Mary (Charles’ sister) dying.
- I sent Charles downtown to find a girl he was attracted to. For a born in game sim he knows very few people and he had no chemistry with the girls he knows. Meadow just happened to be there and inserted herself into the story.