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Grapevine : January 2012
Who is that Boy in the Painting? i ’m standing at the back door to the house I grew up in, trembling and trying to focus. Luckily, my par- ents have gone out of town for the weekend. I’ve parked my car up the street so none of the neighbors will get suspicious. I find a hidden key, enter the house and walk straight to the liquor cabinet. Using my Swiss Army knife, I twist open the lock and grab the first bottle I see. I’m shaking so badly that I’m spilling the liquor all over my shirt while gulping it down. Sitting on the floor, I wait for the room to stop spinning and for my body to stop quivering. Finally, the pain is go- ing away. After putting the bottle back, I enter my parents’ bedroom. I head straight for the jewelry box. Carefully, I begin sorting through it. I have to find something that won’t be missed, at least for a while. Jackpot! There’s a ring in the corner. my mother has probably forgotten all about this one. Lost in alcohol, a young man robs his own parents and can’t believe who he’s become It looks expensive too. Two rubies. Six diamonds. I now have to put every- thing else back, exactly as I found it. Quietly, I go back down the stairs. While walking through the hallway, I notice a face in a painting that ap- pears to be looking directly at me. The boy in the picture is smiling. He looks so innocent and carefree. It was a por- trait made of me when I was about 5 or 6. I try to remember that time in my life, but I cannot. I then begin looking at the pictures of my family, search- ing for any feelings I have for them. How do I feel about what I’m doing to them? There’s nothing. No shame. No guilt. No remorse. No love. I’ve lost my soul. Oh well ... I’m beginning to shake again. It’s time to end this trip down memory lane and get to the pawnshop before it closes. I was born in 1973. The only thing I know about my birth parents is that they were very young. I was adopted by a young couple living in Sylvania, Ohio. Both of them came from pret- ty well-to-do families. When I was 4, we moved into one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in northwest Ohio. You could say I was given a silver spoon to put in my mouth. I remember being a loner, spend- ing a great deal of time playing by my- self. Though I was not very athletically inclined, I did turn out to be quite a good swimmer. Breaking record af- ter record, the swimming became a YOUNG AND SOBER illUStRAtiONBYSiSSElK. 22 January 2012 GRAPE_22-29.indd 22 11/22/11 3:56 PM