Through the Eyes of a Teenager

Beautiful summer twilights depress the hell out of me. The same holds true about beautiful music by Bach, Hayden, Mozart and other great composers. I think it is the fact that these things are so beautiful is depressing me. The summer day at about 4:30 to 6:00 to me, represents death. I guess to the reader this must sound hilariously funny, but I assure you that the reason for this will sound even funnier, although I am perfectly serious. When I was about 12 years old, I used to cut the lawn. When I cut the lawn, there is not much to do, so I think. I used to think about a passage in the bible that says: in the morning you flourish and grow up and in the evening you are cut down. In my act of cutting the lawn, I was “cutting something down”. I thought, just as I am cutting the grass down, some great force, God, was cutting people down just as they came to the most beautiful part of the day.

Another reason for my frequent cases of depression is that I have a mentally ill older brother. When I was young, I always had to look after him. He was always taking off somewhere and although my mother said I didn’t have to chase him, I felt guilty if I didn’t. He always seemed to run away in the summer, I guess because in the winter it was too cold for him. My father used to come home at about 5:30 and teach Michael how to ride a bike, play ball, and other miscellaneous items. I always used to help. I don’t think it was because I was forced, I think it was because I felt guilty if I didn’t. I felt so alone then, I guess because everyone was paying attention to him instead of me. Because everyone was so preoccupied with Mike I spent most of my time alone. I used to talk a lot with my mother and I even told her every thing that I thought, even about being depressed about summer days. She was and is still good to talk to; in fact she is still the only person I can talk to. Most of the time, however I kept to myself. My mother tells me now, when I bring up the subject, that she has never stood in the way of my meeting people. This is mainly true, but I always felt as if I were deserting my parents whenever I went to my friend’s house.

I wrote this more than 45 years ago when I was about 15 years old and reproduced it here with very little editing. I hope that it is relevant to young people today who might have these kinds of feelings about a mentally or physically handicapped brother or sister.

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