I learned some hard facts about what little power I did possess and what means to affect changes lay outside my realm as early as the age of 7. For in that year I was to die twice but not for a power greater than me.
During the summer before my family moved to West Laurel, my parents were friends with a family in that neighborhood whom had an in-ground pool. While swimming that beautiful summer afternoon, their child tipped over the pool raft I was clinging to and sent me to the bottom, 8 feet down. At 7, I was unable to swim and being a shy tyke, nobody notices you missing right away. I will say that the image depicted in a movie where the sound is muffled and the field of view is slightly distorted from the motion of the water is spot on. Even better is the sight and sound of cavitating water. Very clichéd, yet accurate. In my case it was produce by my father diving into the deep end to pull me out ( a pattern since repeated on more than one occasion ) I never learned to swim until I was 15 and to this day still carry a fear of deep water.
A few months later my family moved into the home I was to grow up in. Only a few years old at the time, the fresh basement was still unfinished. My father, an avid and accomplished pool player had his table moved in, however it was not set up yet. The movers had laid it on its side, pitched on the bevel of its top, leaning on the cast iron drain pipe and the iron pole supporting the I-beam. Seemed sturdy but was not Big Wheel proof. My younger brother decided to repeated bang his ride into the back of the unsprung trap until it snared its prey. SNAP. I heard a creak then felt the table violent snap towards me, frozen by fear, something moved me back a foot or two, then darkness. I awoken to the greatest amount of pain my body has ever recorded. A mark yet unsurpassed. The table came to rest on my chest, breaking my arm in the process. I have not recollection of how long I lay there, or how I got out. I just remember that throbbing so intense, I wanted to die.
In neither case was I able to control the events which were about to unfold, nor effect a change once they transpired. I was powerless to stop any of it.
In more simplistic terms, my entire youth is a shining example of things outside my influence. Whether it be an excruciatingly delayed puberty or being prone to an uncontrollable flood of emotions, namely crying, and sometimes for no apparent reason. From school yard bullies to being "mugged" at the People's Drug store in Landover Mall, fear became frequent running mate.
In my childhood I would find myself with every desire to have my homework done before the weekend was over, yet time and time again, I was watching the end credits to The Wonderful World of Disney and glancing at an empty sheet of paper which was to be my homework. Each occasion had be swearing I'd never do that again. Each Sunday brought more disappointment.
Then there were the late nights. Restless, irritable and discontent. Sneaking out after midnight, coming in before dawn. Trips to the woods to drink and smoke, never able to leave until its over ( my typical bar experience too). I wanted more than I was getting, but I could not break the routine. My drinking revolved around socializing. I drink when I needed to fit in, to feel normal. It took the edge off of the uneasiness and it gave me stature amongst my peers.
When the responsibilities of life began to