Sebastian didn't bother to close the door of his house quietly as he went out into the night. After all, his mother would never hear the sound of the wood slamming against it's frame. He lit a cigarette and inhaled the smoke deeply, letting it spill into his lungs like a vital liquid.
Beautiful purple colors swirled in the sky, but the beauty of the nightfall somehow failed to reach Sebastian's eyes. He didn't even bother to look up as he headed to the tree that had become his refuge since his childhood. Sebastian never looked up, his eyes were always set on the ground. Seventeen years of life had taught him that people were less likely to notice him if he didn't look at them.
His mind traveled back to his younger days, but no smile came to him from that memory. He inhaled the smoke from the cigarette once more, as the memories consumed him from the inside.
He was alone. His childish mind knew loneliness very well, yet he didn't comprehend it. All he knew was that, regardless where he went, no one would be by his side. It didn't bother him, though. His loneliness stretched as far as his little memory could go, and it had become a part of his life.
There were almost no kids to play with in the little town he lived in. The few kids who lived there all stayed inside their homes, safe within their mother's line of vision. They would occasionally go out and play with their brothers and sisters, and on weekends they would even play with their fathers.
Not Sebastian, though. He had no brothers or sisters to play with, not even cousins who occasionally came to visit, like the baker's daughter did. His shadow had become his only playmate.
Oh yes, he had a mother. But his mother was always busy, and constantly encouraged him to get out of the way.
"Go out and play, dear, my head hurts from work and I need to rest," she would often said. Truth was, she spent most of the day sleeping. She, like Sebastian, was not a normal person by the town's standards. Unlike other mothers, she always worked at night and slept in the day. Although she worked at her house, she did not allow Sebastian to stay and watch.
So, every night Sebastian went to his grandmother's house, and she wasn't fond of either Sebastian or his mother. Yet, every night she would take the child in with a sigh. She always gave Sebastian a stale piece of bread and cold chocolate for dinner, before showing him to his room. Sebastian's grandmother never tucked him into bed like other grandmothers did.
"Just go and sleep, and don't make noise," his grandmother told him every night. She never touched him, but Sebastian didn't mind about that. Her knobby, bony hands were full of spots and popping veins, and he always got as far away from those hands as he could.
Sebastian didn't have any friends because he didn't attend school. At age four he was too young for that, and therefore spent most of his day peeking over the school fence, which reached up to his nose, and watched the children play and learn inside the school rooms.
He would usually stay away from the school at recess time, however, because bigger kids took their pleasure at teasing him with words he was too young to understand.
"Who's your mother gonna fuck tonight?" one of them asked, and Sebastian didn't know what to answer, as he didn't know what 'fuck' meant. He turned around and went to his house, hoping his mother's headache would let her answer his question.
"Where did you learn that word?" she asked, slamming her hand against the table as soon as Sebastian asked the question.
"A kid at school said it," Sebastian replied shyly. "He asked me if you were going to fuck tonight." His mother's face became pale with anger. Nearing tears, Sebastian apologized and ran out of the house so his mother wouldn't hit him like she had done when he had asked what a 'bastard' was. His little legs clumsily tripped with a small rock and he fell to the floor, crying.
The kids walking from school to their houses passed by Sebastian, laughing and pointing at him. Sebastian sat down on the floor with his head down, wondering why they were so cruel with him if he had never done anything to them.
"Hi, my name is Kathy," a little girl said, extending her hand towards Sebastian. He took her hand and stood up with her help. She was older than him, yet one of the youngest in the school.
"I am Sebastian," he replied shyly. The girl smiled, showing a missing tooth. Sebastian smiled too, glad that she was not teasing him.
"Do you want to be my friend?" she asked. "Then we can play together." Sebastian smiled even more.
"Yes!" he squeaked. Someone wanted to be his friend! He had always watched friends with envy, wondering what it felt like to have someone to play with all the time.
"Kathy? Where are you?" a woman called from the door to the school.
"That's my mommy," Kathy said, pointing at the woman. The woman spotted her daughter, and strode towards her. For some reason, she seemed to be angry.
"You cannot be with that kid! Get away from him!" Kathy's mother yelled, pulling Kathy by the arm. "You do not have permission to talk to that boy! Do you know who his mother is?" Kathy looked sadly back at Sebastian, but could not resist the strong pull of her mother. Sebastian watched her go away, sad that his first friend had lasted only one minute.
Why did people insist on leaving him alone? Why didn't people like him? Why did they hate his mother? Sebastian understood nothing, all he understood was that he was doomed to remain alone all his life.
A chill ran through Sebastian's spine, making him shiver with cold. The temperature dropped some more until even the trees shivered in the breeze. But Sebastian couldn't bear to be inside his house. The noises his mother did while 'working', as she called it, were unbearable to his ears.
The memory of that day when Kathy tried to be his friend still haunted him. After that day, she never talked to him again, and sometimes even joined in with other kids to make fun of him. It was all because of his mother, Sebastian now knew. People knew he had no father, his mother had gotten pregnant while 'working', and nobody liked him because of that.
"I didn't ask to be born this way!" Sebastian bellowed to the night, tears dripping down his tanned skin. His neck-length black hair fell down over his ears, sticking to his wet face, and he didn't bother to push it away.
His hands traveled to his pocket to look for a lighter and another cigarette, but instead they clutched a charred and half-burned piece of paper. Sebastian looked at it, tears falling down from his eyes. His grades from school; all of them perfect.
"What do you want good grades for?" his mother had asked when he showed her, throwing the piece of paper to the fireplace. Sebastian had yelled, jumping forward to salvage what he could. His mother had kicked him for that.
"A man has to be strong, brains serve no one," she'd said, leaving the room. He hadn't found the words to explain to her that good grades were the only thing that could some day turn him into a decent man to the eyes of the townspeople. That maybe if he was smart enough, the people would try and look past the bastard. Maybe good grades could get him a decent job. That was his dream, too far-fetched to reach reality, but that dream kept him going.
His eyes averted back to the little house he lived in, which was in the outskirts of town. It was all his mother's fault. All his loneliness, his constant suffering, had been caused by that woman, who had so little shame she brought in clients to the house, and sometimes even fucked them in front of him.
At one time he had been able to love her, before he knew people hated him because of her. He didn't hate her either. He was empty, emotionless. The pain had become so deep it had numbed him, until he could feel nothing but emptiness inside. Seventeen years of loneliness was more than anyone could bear... and Sebastian had had enough.
No, he didn't ask to be born that way. He hadn't been given a choice, but now he had it. He could be the only master of his own death. Sebastian tossed his second half-finished cigarette to the ground and crushed it with the sole of his shoe as his hands traveled to the rope hanging from the branch of the tree, making sure the knot was tight. Yes, he was asking to die that way. At last... peace.