Crime Show Syndrome

When I was young my family used to move around a lot. Believe it or not I was a shy kid. I always had trouble making friends, and if I did make one by some chance of fate, by that time we were moving again anyway.

I eventually learned to stop trying to get to know people—became known everywhere I lived as the spoiled rich brat who thought she was too good to talk to the other students. It used to be that I had almost convinced myself that maybe they were right, that maybe I was too good for them . . . but that was a lie of course, and now I'm beginning to think that maybe they were too good for me.

Now don't get me wrong—it never bothered me that I had no friends. I had my family to make up for the loss; they were the only thing I could really count on. Maybe our small family wasn't perfect, but whose is? Besides, they were all I had. And my parents loved me, they really did. . . . Oftentimes I had the bruises to prove it.

Don't look at me like that. Who are you to judge? You could never know what it was like. . . .

I'm sorry. I didn't mean for it to come out like that. It's just . . . well, you should never judge someone, especially if you haven't heard their side of the story. The whole side.

. . .

Hmm? You want to know what happened next? Of course you do. Why else would you still be here?

Well, my parents divorced when I was thirteen. So much for relying on family, huh?

They argued a lot at that time—more-so than usual that is. A lot of the time it seemed that they were arguing over who was to get custody of me. I didn't realize it then, but now I know that neither of them wanted me even if neither of them would outright admit it.

As it turned out I ended up living with my mother. Moved out as soon as I was old enough—never told her I was leaving either. Of course, I couldn't stay away for long, but not for the reasons you might think.

You see, mother died the same night I left. The police said she died of poisoning—ruled it a suicide. I like to think that maybe she loved me after all and couldn't deal with my sudden disappearance—couldn't live with the way she had treated me all those years. Or maybe she just couldn't stand being alone—that at least would mean I was good for something. Most likely though, once I left she simply had no one else to take out her anger on except herself. . . .

Either way, I guess you could say I killed her.

You do understand, don't you?

What was I thinking? Of course you understand. At least partially, and that's all I ask for now. And you must realize that the feeling of guilt is a very strong emotion. I'm sure you've felt it before, but feeling guilty for the death of one of your own parents. . . . I hope you never know that feeling. I suppose though, under the circumstances, it was something that I simply had to live with. And thankfully everything passes—some things more quickly than others.

Now don't feel too badly for me. After all, thanks to mother's death I was left with enough money to live out the rest of my life in luxury. I must admit that it should have been a surprise when they read her will saying she had left everything to me—but somehow I knew she would. Please, call it intuition on my part. And the shrinks said that I dealt very well with the loss—there was no overwhelming psychological scarring from the death. What can I say? Mother taught me well how to deal with pain—you either ignore it, or you do something to rid yourself of it.

I'd done both.

I'm sure mother would have been proud.