My Voiceless Past

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorHigh School, 12th grade February 2008

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Five o’ clock. I sit here in my office on the second floor of a rusty old building in New York. “Lights out!..” blurts the janitor, barging into my office and my thoughts. It has been a quiet day. Slowly, I got up like a stoned man, picked up my fifty dollar hat and left my personal office, the door of which read “Jonny Small, Detective” written in large bold letters on the rough, translucent glass window. Cindy’s standing outside the building, so I have to be very quiet and as sneaky as possible. If Cindy catches me, I’m going to be stuck in front of the office door for at least thirty minutes. Luckily, she did not notice me slip into the darkness behind her and walk towards my house into the darkness of the streets of New York City. I don’t know what people see in me, but for as long as I can remember, my life has been perfect.

It seems that everything works out perfectly for me. I walk by the ‘Nitetime Bar’, the only classic old fashioned bar in the new technology year of 2013. I see my reflection in the mirror. I am a pretty well built man, standing a little over 6 feet with broad shoulders and a square chin. I want to stop by the bar and get a drink, but there is an uneasy feeling in me. I turn toward my home and walk faster now. While I was admiring myself in the bar mirror, I had a sudden feeling deep inside me about something…almost like a sixth sense. Outside the apartment building, I was still waiting for the elevator and when it finally arrived, I started pushing the button for my floor frantically. My apartment door was open and there was broken glass scattered on the floor. I was very nervous and ran through the door only to find everything perfectly placed except for a few broken picture frames. The three room apartment looked deserted. The bare walls are which were initially covered with wallpaper were stripped off. The window was open and the cold air struck my face like a whip. “Where is she? Where is she?” There was no sign of Alice, my wife, anywhere in the living room. The kitchen seems to be in place and untouched. The bedroom was in turmoil. Picture frames and pictures lay on the floor and Alice lay on the bed. Her smooth dark hair covered her head completely and spread all the way down to her waist. I realized she was crying and walked over to her to try to comfort her and find out what had happened.

        “Why’re ya cryin baby? …Alice, what’s wrong?”         “It’s just that…” she starts off with a strong voice like she always does.

        “…I was going through our old pictures…and…and,” her voice is now quivering. “I can’t find a single picture of you when you were young…Up till now, I have not realized it, but now I’m scared of thinking who I have married and if I took a wrong turn when I married you.” Her words struck me like poisonous thorns. It was not physical anger that I felt, but it was the emotional distress and hopelessness that hurt me the most. How could she even have thought about such a thing, after all I had done for her…this is the return I got for being a good husband. But I couldn’t say a word and I let her continue.

        “Who are you?” she said in a suspicious and disgraceful voice.

I could not answer the question and she repeated it. How could I answer a question I did not know the answer to myself? How could I be so fearful of her question? I could not bear it any longer. The point of no return had arrived and I had no other choice but to find out about my past. I stormed out of the rusty old apartment complex into the white snow covered streets of New York city. Frankly, I had no idea where I was going to start and what I was going to start for. I have been a successful detective for three years now, but I didn’t have a clue about my past… New York city and its people, could they help me in my quest for my past? I was wandering around hopelessly. I didn’t know what to do and where to start. Somehow, I landed back in the ‘Nitetime bar’. Chuck was on the counter serving people like anything.

        “Hey Chuck, pass me a Budlight man.”         “Hey Jonny, ‘ong time no see. One Bud comin’ right up private-eye”         “Busy night eh?”         “Yea, been busy t’nite. So how ya been?”         “Doin’ fine…just fine” I was in no mood to talk so I turned away showing Chuck my back. I got up and walked over to an empty booth. My bud showed up in about five minutes, carried by a new girl.

        “Yaw Bud, suh’,” she said in a sweet but stern tone         “You new hea?” I asked in a dumb way She was a blonde, about five feet nine. She was dressed in green overalls but underneath I could see her flimsy shirt and tights.

        “Yea…say, aren’t you that Jonny Small the detective guy. You’re across the street huh? Heard bout what happened to ya…real unfair.” I did not know what she was talking about. What was unfair? What happened to me? Who am I? The question that Alice had asked me rose again in my mind. I turned to take out some money from my coat to give to the waitress, but I turned back to see nobody there. What was happening to me? First my wife, now hallucination. I didn’t know what to believe. I needed answers, and I needed them fast. I started thinking about my past making up my childhood as I pleased. I drifted into my thought and did not notice an old man approach my booth until he knocked over my beer on me. I rose up, partly astounded and partly angry. I thought this action would attract attention but all it did was dust. There was no one in the bar except me and the old man who sat across me.

        “Who are you? Why the hell’d you knock over my beer?” My voice traveled all the corners of the bar and finally screamed back at me.

        “Calm down and have a seat sonny.” His low tone was smooth and effective and I felt myself sitting back down. The man was, as I guessed, in his mid 70s. His wrinkled face was white with either old-age or the cold weather. He didn’t have much hair except for the little thickets right above the side burns. The way the light from the bar counter fell on him was dramatic. All I could see was this man’s white head, nothing else. The detective that I am, I didn’t think this man was trustable.

        “I know about your past.” The words that came out of his mouth were like hot cocoa in a winter night. The words were smooth and soothing. But it struck me that this man could be a con artist, who had somehow read my mind and was now trying to rip me off by selling me some lie about my past that I had no recollection of. “Don’t worry, I’m not going to lie to you. I don’t want your money or anything in return. Here…” he handed me a business card. I flipped it over and saw an address written on it, “…go to this address and your questions might be answered. Better hurry, its going to be a long walk…” “But how do I know you’re not some con…” I talked to an empty booth, and looked up to see him gone. Something struck my shoulder. “Hey Jony-jon, you okay?” Chuck asked me in a concerned tone. It was all a dream…but a dream that left a business card with me, with an address on the other side. Something was going on, and I had to find out what it was.

        As I walked out of the bar, my head was overloaded with un-answered questions. The thick snow made it difficult to walk, but I had to go on. I had to go to the address on the card and get answers to the questions left un-answered by many, the answers which could turn my world around.

        The place was about two miles, or as I guessed based on my geographical knowledge of New York, and since there were no taxis running during the snow, I had to walk all the way. As I approached the building, I heard a noise behind my back. I turned around and got hit on the head by something very heavy. It was some punk who mugged me. If only it was daylight, I could have put that kid behind bars for at least a lifetime for assault on a cop. I felt dizzy and cold, my vision went blurry to black and I kissed the ground with a thud.

        I opened up my eyes to see lying under a roof and not a pile of snow. I had been carried in some building where poor, homeless people lived. I estimated I had been out cold for about 15 minutes. I still felt that lump on my forehead, but I had to go on and find the place which probably contained my answers. As I tried to get up, a man pushed me back down on the broken, old, rugged bed.

“Sit down!” he commanded in a stern voice, “you’re not that strong of a cop.” How’d he know I was a cop when all my id was in my wallet that had been stolen from me.

“So…Small is it. I knew you’d be…” he started off his conversation and acted like a barrier between me and my destiny.

“Jonny Small…” I interrupted his chit-chat, “…that’s my name.” “Yea, yea whatever. Name’s Carth…” what kind of a name was Carth, but then again, I kept my judgment to myself, “Heard you were gonna come so I prepared a lil’ some’in for yo. Here have some’o this…” he handed me a bowl soup but looked more like water and coloring added together, “…it’s mah’ specilty.” I didn’t want to disrespect the guy so I took some and tasted it, didn’t taste that bad either. How did he know I was coming? Who is this guy and what can he tell me about my past life?         “So Jonny, what’d ya think I’m going to tell ya?”, I was going to answer the question but he continued on, “Your past’s real interestin’ Jonny boy...” It had been only about two hours since I stormed out of my apartment, Alice and my life, and already I was going to start finding out about my past.

        “There was a time when people like did our own work…not like the world you see around you now.” He started off sounding weak and feeble, but I believe remembering the past made him feel stronger and thus he was getting more and more confident of what he was talking about. “We did not have this kind of technology back then…when I was young, bout your age, technology had come only to the point of pig cloning…and look, now we can even clone machines.”         “But what does all this history crap have to do with me!?!” I blurted out in frustration and suspense.

        “You wanna know the truth…here it is. Your mother and father were scientists. They made a very happy and not to mention successful couple. The only thing, and you may be shocked or amazed by this…the only thing they did not have the ability to do, was have a child…Yes, it is true. In a lab experiment gone wrong, your mother and father lost their abilities.”         “Then why do you still call those people my mother and my father?” I was confused, and a detective does not like being confused. I wanted clarity and straightforward answers.

Suddenly, everything was silent, like everything was listening, waiting for the answer. The world around me had turned into and audience who Carth and me were entertaining. But Carth was quiet too. “What is it!!! Why are you quiet, answer me? What is my past? Who are these people you call my parents? Who am I? I need an answer now!” My patience was running out, I pulled him towards myself through his collar. But his dead and limp face did not budge. He did not say a word. The silence was piercing through my skin, through my body. I could not bear it any longer. I felt like my head was going to blow up because of the millions of questions that arose inside me. All I wished for right then was answers from Carth…it was too much information disguised in the form of nothing from my past.

        Say it…say it…tell me my past, I will make my future, I kept saying to myself. Say it…say it...but before he could say anything, i heard something and Carth fell on his face...bleading. He had been shot and my past was still a mystery to me.