When Greg was in high school, the guidance counselors and social service caseworkers gave him the label of S.E.D. He never understood what they meant. No one even bothered to explain their words to him. All they gave was psycho-babble and stern looks. Who cares, right?He’s just another messed up teenager with no future, except a life of drugs and crime. Didn’t anyone think to dig deeper beneath the crusty layers and help him. Finally, several years later, someone came into his life and made a difference. He was his therapist and he told him that label meant: He was Severely Emotionally Disturbed. Greg immediately disagreed. Yes, he was messed up—but severely, not really. There was more to him than the label. He just wanted everyone to understand
Beads of sweat dripped down my forehead and I nearly passed out from the heat. The windows were closed and locked and my leaden feet held me captive in place, watching the closet door. Not sure how long I stood there, suddenly a loud bang rang in my ears, dulling my senses. Worried my worst fear had come true—I had to check on him. Oh God, I whispered, please let him still be alive.
I pushed away cardboard boxes and trampled on a pile of soiled white underwear and socks, trying to get to the other end of the room. Claustrophobia started to suffocate me. I had to open the closet. He was in there. I just knew it. I tripped over a muddy, worn out sneaker and banged my head on the brown dresser. The impact rattled empty beer cans on top—several clinked to the stained carpeted floor. For a moment, I hesitated touching the doorknob, afraid to find him. Slowly I turned the knob and he crumpled in a bloody heap at my feet, next to an ashtray swelling with ashes. His cumbersome body weighed heavily on my small feet, and I shoved him off.
Crimson splotches stained my white socks. I knelt down next to his lifeless form and saw the darkened hole in his temple. He’d done it. Just like he told me he would someday. Uncle Vinny took his life. I pounded his bulging beer belly with tiny fists and screamed until my lungs hurt. “Why did you leave me all alone? You know what mom’s gonna do now. How could you leave? You understood…”
I turned away in silent disgust, while tears streamed down my cheeks. “I hate you, Uncle Vinny!”