Read Online Fear Us by B.B. Reid Free
ELEVEN YEARS AGO
I KICKED THE basketball ball around the grass like I’d seen on TV. My father had asked what I wished to have for my birthday. I couldn’t tell him my deepest wish without being locked away, so I requested a basketball. In the end, it was all spoiled by the revelation that he forgot to get a hoop. I could only bounce or kick the ball around, but even that small fortune wasn’t allowed. Sometimes, I would bounce it anyway just so they would talk to me even if it were to scold.
Maybe today he would be nice, and we could get a hoop so he could show me how to play. It was already noon, and he wasn’t gone, so maybe he would finally have time for me. I ran into the house with my new idea, hoping today would be the day. Excitement built with each step as I ran around the house as quietly as I could.
They never liked when I made noise. They would never get angry, but they would send me away to my room, and sometimes, they would forget about me. When I would get hungry enough, I would finally come out only to find a plate of food left waiting.
After searching the entire house, I finally found him in his office sleeping with his head down. He didn’t wake when I walked in so I moved closer to stand beside him.
“Daddy.” When he didn’t answer, I tugged on his pant leg while clutching the ball to my chest.
“Keenan.“ My mother’s voice drifted from the doorway. She sounded sad again today, but then she always sounded sad.
“Mama, will Daddy teach me how to play?” I held up the ball nervously.
The solemn look on her face had told me the answer before she spoke, but it wasn’t the answer expected. “You know you’re not supposed to be in here.”
“I know, but I didn’t know when he would come out.”
“We’ve told you to keep out of sight and inside.”
“But you won’t let me play with it inside. Why did Daddy buy me this stupid thing if I can’t play with it?”
“Keenan.” This time it was a deep but drunken slur of my father to call my name. I turned away from my mother to see that he was now sitting up in his chair. Though his hair was ruffled and his clothing wrinkled, he still looked strong. He also looked annoyed judging by the blank look on his face. “Don’t talk back to your mother.
“Will you play with me today?” I didn’t intend to beg, but desperation had snuck in and now I was shaking with it. He blinked once—slowly as if clearing something before shaking his head.
“Go to your room.”
Rejection stung, but it cut much deeper when it was your parents who were constantly rejecting you.
“Why do you hate me?” I cried and threw the ball down. My temper had gotten the best of me, but it was just my hope for attention, even anger, but as always, I failed. He had already turned away and began typing on his computer as if he wasn’t just passed out drunk after consuming the entire bottle lying next to his hand.
“Come,” my mother called. She too had already turned away, expecting for me to follow. I turned back to plead with my dad once more but caught him staring after her. Pain filled his eyes just before they darkened.
“Go, Keenan.” This time I obeyed and wondered if they would notice if I disappeared forever.
“Son?” Hope flared once again as I whirled around.
“Don’t come back in here and stay out of sight.”
Defeated, I nodded and finally walked away with my head down.
That was my deepest wish.
To feel wanted.
By anyone who would care—even if for only a moment.
I’M A FUCKING masochist. I steered my bike into the expansive driveway. I hadn’t realized just how much it rang true until I shut off the engine and dismounted.
It’s too late to turn back now.
The last remnants of daylight faded away, but I kept my shades on as a shield. The last thing I needed was for her to see just how much she hurt me. It was one of the vows I made to myself when I lay dying in a hospital.
Never let them see. Never let them close. Never let them in.
I would live by that from now on, but first, I had to give in one last time.
My feet pounded the steps leading to the front door. If I had to be honest, I was nervous as fuck. This was not how I pictured this night. I never pictured it much at all, but I always knew it would be with her. That was when I believed in the fairytale I’d been bitched into believing. My hand lifted, but I froze before I could knock, realizing I was being sucked back into the same bullshit.