My Fifteenth birthday would be the last and best birthday I would have to this day. I owed that a lot to the two friends that I did have, one I grew up with and the other sort of wedged himself in a few years prior, he was full of himself but still fun to have around.
The newer friend’s parents had picked me up from my grandmother’s house. We were going to go see a movie and get some pizza. I had a whole $20 of birthday money out of the $60 or so I had gotten. My grandmother kept the rest for herself, which was normal in our house, but she actually gave me the $20 so I could afford the pizza for everyone and get myself a ticket to the movies, which at the time was only $4.
It wasn’t until we passed the movie theater did I guess that something else was going on. It turns out that since we were celebrating my birthday on a weekend there was an official Pokémon videogame tournament going on at the mall.
“Surprise” They told me
Yeah I was shocked all right. We got there and it was incredible. For the first time in my life, I got to be a kid. Seriously, it would be an experience that would stick with me for a long time. When we arrived at the mall, we stood in line Gameboy’s in hand. We got a offical number and had the chance to battle with other players in an elimination match. After a few rounds, the victor had the chance to go up against one of the designers head to head for a chance to win some other, larger prizes.
When it was all said and done at the end of the day, I had gotten to go up against one of them three different times. I lost all three times; it wasn’t for lack of trying or strategy but I was just not as good and it showed. I still had the time of my life, got a secret character for the game they were giving away and I got to eat some sushi with friends.
“Good food, good friends, good times, it doesn’t get much better than this” I remember saying
Afterwards, we went to one of the friends houses, his parents wanted us all to spend the night, play games, and you know do kid stuff. I nervously called my grandmother, she had no idea where I was or what we had been doing so I assumed I was going to be in trouble but I held out hope that I could be normal despite the fact that I wasn’t.
No answer, so his parents were kind enough to drive us to the church. She had a celebration she volunteered herself and forced me to do; I skipped out since it was my birthday even though I wasn’t allowed. We couldn’t find her so they took me to her home. I could see her in her bedroom with the light on in the second story. This wasn’t going to end well.
Before I got to the door, she was already there.
“Get in” She told me
I told my friends goodnight and thanked the parents for showing me, someone they didn’t really know such a great time. Then I went inside…
I explained what happened, the amazing surprise that my friends had given me a few gifts and food. It didn’t save me.
She took the few meager gifts I was given and broke them in front of me. Since I was larger than she was, she stopped hitting me with her hands almost entirely at this point. I caught an iron to the back of the head, nose and face, then she broke her new cane across my back, later I would have to fix it for her since I was the one who broke it. Bloody from the iron shots and bruised from the cane I had the enjoyable experience of walking up a flight of stairs to my room dizzy. I made it, but only after some serious trials.
The next few weeks really sucked, but I got a few moments of actual happiness out of it. While it may seem like a mixed bag to you guys, for me all the best memories are a mixed bag, if they aren’t then they were purely bad memories. Unfortunately, I have precious few purely good memories if any to draw upon.
Sure, she took everything away, but I got to be a kid for a moment in my life and that she could never take.