Roland would never admit it but the person who influenced him the most, was also the person he’d grown to loath more than anything.
He loved Tabitha. She gave him whatever he’d been missing or at least she tried, but she wasn’t his mother. Leon did the same as did Roland’s older brother. They tried to provide some sort of father figure for him but it was difficult.
Roland had parents. A mother who at times was absent, getting lost in her art or inside her own little world. More absent every day it seemed, as her melancholy came in and out without warning. A father who remained distant, not even acknowledging Roland as his son…and rarely addressing him as such. A father who called him “the boy” as if saying his actual name was some kind of curse. A father who never laughed or smiled in his presence, no matter how good Roland tried to be.
He never wanted them to influence him but as he grew older he realized he’d adopted some of their habits. The way his father paced around when he was frustrated, his mother’s anxious rambling. It was bad enough he continued to get compared to his father based upon his looks, but now even his father’s nature. The things that once separated them, he somehow managed to inherit.
He tried desperately to be anything but. He wanted to grow up to be like his brother. Funny, full of imagination, always smiling. A person who could light up a room with their loud laughter. He wanted to be like Tabitha, kind but firm. Always looking out for others. Stubborn but not entirely unreasonable. He wanted to be like Leon, a man who only said what was necessary. A man who thought things through. A good listener. A good friend.
Sadly as he began leaving his childish ways behind him, he’d morphed into the ugliest creature he’d ever come across. A loathing, jealous, stubborn creature. Not even human. He barked at everyone, cursed at them. He was violent. He had fits of rage. Broke things. Broke himself when he could. At first he thought he was punishing his parents but soon he realized, after an argument with his father in the parlour turned violent, that it was possible he’d taken things too far. He thought the anger, the violence and the cockiness made him feel whole. Made him feel stronger. Made him impenetrable. That was until it didn’t and he realized that it never would.
And so, Roland shrank within himself. There was no more loathing, or anger. A bit of his stubbornness remained but the loud, aggressiveness of it all faded. He couldn’t justify it anymore. He didn’t understand it or himself.
In his attempt to get some sort of acknowledgement from his parents, he frightened those who had loved him all along. He’d forgotten them. Their kindness, their friendship, the way they comforted him. Some left him for good. Disgusted by his behaviour. Others, as he shrank, realized his walls were crumbling along with him and reached out, hoping to find beneath it all, the charming little boy they loved so dearly.
You don’t ever have to be stronger than you really areLana Del Rey
When you’re lying in my arms, and, honey
You don’t ever have to act cooler than you think you should
You’re brighter than the brightest stars
I was listening to this song the other day on my way home from work, and thought of Roland as a teenager and the people in his life, especially those who saw the changes in his character. He’s made some really amazing friends and has such a loving chosen family. The lyrics really popped out to me. I really hope as Roland grows in this series that he’ll come to realize how truly blessed he is to have them in his life.