Chapter 1: Jesus of Suburbia

"I'm the son of rage and love, the Jesus of suburbia"

Kimberly...it was my mother's choice. My name, I mean. I remember when she sat me down and told me that all through the pregnancy she had thought that I was going to be a girl and then when I finally did arrive both her and my father were surprised to see a baby boy in space of their expectation.

They'd wanted to call the girl Kymberly, with a "y". But seeing that I was a non-expected boy they struggled to find a name for me and instead of routing around like any normal parents, they decided that they'd just call me that anyway, neverminding my gender. And thus they swapped the ever so significant "y" with an "i" and everybody was happy. Everybody except me of course. You can probably imagine what the children in the playground used to say...kids can be so cruel sometimes...

"From the bible of none of the above, on a steady diet of soda pop and Ritalin"

I've learnt to live with it now. The children on the asphalt that used to sing my name to me everytime I passed have long gone. The girls under the willow tree who used to giggle at me everytime I told them to call me "Kim" have grown up and vanished. The elder boys that I wanted to play basketball with and who sniggered and turned me away have been absent from the town for years now.

Unfortunately though not all the bad memorys from my childhood have faded away. I still have a scar across my bottom lip where three boys from my class jumped me after school and kicked the shit out of me and I still vow that if I ever see them again I'm going to seek my revenge and then spit on their corpses. But putting that aside, I've grown used to it. The name and the awkward looks that I recieve when telling it to somebody for the first time. But like I said, children grow up...eventually.

"No one ever died for my sins in hell, as far as I can tell, at least the ones I got away with"

I was seventeen at the beginning of the adventure that was going to change my life forever, living in the very town that I had been born in, in the very same house. No changing schools, no finding new friends, no wandering around a new area and finding myself lost...just plain little Wikemsburg, day after day...year after year... There was only one thing that had changed since I was born and that was the fact that I now only lived with my mother. My father had died...the year before.

"And there's nothing wrong with me, this is how I'm supposed to be"

He was a good man. He loved his family to bits. Me and my mother were the only ones that he would be prepared to do anything for. And when I say "anything"...I mean anything. He once travelled a hundred miles back to Heddershaw from Wikemsburg in order to fetch the teddy bear that I had accidently left behind in the train station, just because it was "special" to me. My mother, of course, kept saying that they'd buy me a new one and I, of course, kept on bawling my eyes out and screaming that I didn't want a "new one" and that I wanted Mr Pookie. And my father, being the caring man that he was, hopped on the very next train back to Heddershaw and brought back my beloved bear.

I was so happy that day that no other time has ever managed to match up to it. Even getting back a reply from Wikemsburg College, stating that I'd earned a place there, hadn't matched up to watching the front door open when I was five years old and seeing my father stood there with Mr Pookie in his arms and a great manic grin on his face.

"In a land of make believe, that don't believe in me"

And then all of a sudden he wasn't there anymore...The man that used to scoop me up into his arms after he'd finished work, the man that would sit on my bed and tell me scary stories and make me too scared to go to sleep, the man that taught me how to punch without hurting my knuckles, the man that locked me in my bedroom and wouldn't let me out until I'd finally finished that droning piece of History coursework...had vanished. And all that I had left of him were those aching memorys that had been etched into the surface of my mind with a blunt pencil. And everyday it felt like somebody was there with an eraser...slowly rubbing away at the scribbled drawings that I had created in his honor, until the faint lines that remained there...threatened to vanish too...

After my father's death, my mother turned to alcohol. I'd never seen her drink so much before and it frightened me. I had dreams of her begging in the streets for money whilst she held an almost empty bottle of Gin in one hand and a burnt down cigarette in the other. But she promised me that she wouldn't ever result to begging...and I should at least be grateful that she did keep her word. The one thing that she didn't promise that she wouldn't ever result to however...was prostitution.

"The living room or my private womb, while the moms and Brads are away..."

I used to lay in bed at night and listen as she left the house, only to return in the early hours of the morning with a pocket full of cash. What else could she have been doing out there all night for money? But she thought that I didn't know. She expected me to believe that the appearance of the money was some strange miracle that seemed to happen every night when I was asleep. I would have believed her too...if I had been those ten years younger...

"It says home is where your heart is, but what a shame, cause everyone's heart doesn't beat the same. It's beating out of time"

And I guess it was then, at seventeen years old, after watching my mother sell herself for a quick alcohol fix and noting that nothing ever changed in that small town that I had been born to, for just over a year, that I decided that I was going to leave. I was going to turn my back on the town that had engulfed me all my life. I was going to wave my sweet goodbyes to the drunken mother of mine who wouldn't even notice that I was missing and find a new life somewhere else.

"City of the dead at the end of another lost highway, signs misleading to nowhere. City of the damned"

I was a rebel. I was rebelling against everything I had ever known. I was sticking my middle finger up at the world and I thought that I knew everything. I was doing something that those kids that hung about on the street corner with a bottle of vodka in hand would only dream of. I was going it alone and that great big city was there to welcome me in with open arms.

Of course I had doubts. I was scared of what might happen to me in a huge city that I knew nothing about. I was petrified of having to sleep on the streets like a begging tramp that I knew that I wasn't. I was also frightened of what might happen to my mother while I was away...but I masked those negative thoughts. I pulled a wide black curtain over them and blocked them out so that only the good ones could flood me...and man...did they flood me...

"And I leave behind this hurricane of fucking lies. I lost my faith to this, this town that don't exist"

So one night, with my mother away doing god-knows-what to god-knows-who, I took the tasty sum of cash that I had been saving up to buy a car with the coming year, and slipped away into the darkness of the quiet, suburban streets-heading for the city.

I did leave a note. A small one on the kitchen table. Scrawled in inky black writing...you could tell that I hadn't put any thought into it...it was rushed...but I doubted that my mother would notice that, in fact I doubted that she would notice it at all. It was only around seven sentences long. Explaining that life held more for me than Wikemsburg could give and that I seeked thrill and adventure. I no longer wanted to be the boy living at home with his mother and doing his coursework. I wanted to go out and do something. Be somebody. Get noticed.

But it wasn't all about me...I also told her in a brief manner...as brief as I could get it...that I thanked her for bringing me into this world and taking care of me. That I loved her and that I would miss her...and that I hoped that she would take good care of herself and maybe in a few years we could meet up again...and see how each other were getting along.

"I don't feel any shame. I won't apologize"

Unlike a lot of kids who write goodbye notes to their parents, I didn't apologise for leaving home so suddenly. I didn't think that I should apologise for no longer wanting to watch my mother drown herself away in drink and give her body to any man that showed the slightest bit of interest. I also didn't think that I should apologise for wanting to have a better life. For wanting to seek out other rebellious teenagers that were looking for the same thing as myself. You see...the truth of the entire matter was...that I, Kimberly Black...just didn't think at all...

"Running away from pain, when you've been victimized. Tales from another broken home."