Photo by David Banuelos

Hiraeth Excerpt (Chapter Eleven: Changes)

The following is an excerpt of:


The Boy Who Dreamed and the Big Bad Wolf Which He Became

By Tex Batmart

If you haven’t been with us from the start, check out Chapter One here

Chapter Eleven: Changes


Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch:


Things at home were also beginning to undergo a change as well, to much a similar effect. It hadn’t ever been truly easy or carefree for Batmart and his mother, but as he began to take the uncertain steps toward manhood, prodded on by puberty, things began to well and truly fall apart. He was old enough to know when someone was dismissing him out of hand, and no longer would accept the blanket statement of “Because I say so.” In concert with his developing cognitive abilities (one might say hand-in-hand with them), he started to feel the stirrings of what would eventually be diagnosed as Bi-Polar Disorder (Type 2). He had been forced to see a counselor, as was already mentioned, and felt that no matter what had happened, someone was always looking to pin the blame upon him.

At the beginning of 1991, the situation had finally reached the point of no return. Tex had finally realized that there was nothing that his mother could truly do besides yell at him or hit him, and even if she was forced into such action, it was no guarantee that she would achieve the results which she wished of him. He had learned to put his foot down when it came to decisions which affected him, and wielded this newfound power with all of the responsibility of drunken despot. If he had managed to learn subtlety, or even a modicum of interpersonal grace, he might have been able to set his own course much earlier in life, and with far less opposition, but he was also discovering that he was filled with a righteous passion that would not be denied, no matter who might choose to stand in his way.

So it came to pass that, seeking safety in greater numbers, and banking on the respect which her son felt for his grandparents, Tex Batmart’s mother negotiated for, and won the opportunity to move them back in with her parents. She made no effort to conceal her motivations from her son, telling him up front that she felt him to be “completely out of control” and that she would use the full authority of people whom he still cared to bring him into line. Batmart shrugged off her threats, knowing that he would soon have a tribunal before which he could argue his case. He knew that, while it was no guarantee of a ruling in his favor, he was certain that his chances would improve from an abysmal automatic rejection, which is what he could count on from his mother.

The one part about the move which truly irritated him, and had been rubbing him quite raw for the past couple of years, was that, because he was so young it was automatically assumed that his mother was in the right, and it was he who had been responsible for making her life harder. He could see in the eyes of his family at every get-together, and often felt the rage building inside of him. How could they be so blind? he screamed internally, How was it possible that they couldn’t see what was going on? The opinions of his distant cousins and great-aunts and uncles were of no great import, but the look of shame in his uncle’s eyes, or in the frowns upon his grandmother’s lips very nearly broke his heart. He just could not understand why no one would listen to his side of things. Years before he would know the term, and decades before he saw the irony in claiming it, he felt that he was no better than a second-class citizen. It didn’t matter what he did or said, it was never good enough. And so he set thoughts of reconciliation behind him and began his campaign of total warfare.

It was more difficult than he had expected, as he was unprepared for the unconditional support which his grandparents automatically granted their daughter (which was, in itself, another slap in the face, for no one unconditionally supported him), and even when granted the occasional opportunity to make his case upon appeal, his frustration would frequently get the better of him, and all of his carefully crafted arguments against the tyranny under which he had been suffering fell apart, and came out as only fragmented ejaculations of “But she-!” and “It’s not fair!” Had his son been present to watch the power struggle, he would have been unable to contain his laughter in the face of his father breaking Rule Number One: Any argument reduced to the cry of “It’s not fair!” is automatically disqualified.

Ultimately, his childhood reached its inevitable conclusion. He had been determined since birth to be old enough to make his own decisions and forced himself to grow up far faster than, in retrospect, he might have otherwise have preferred. Every milestone had been reached because he had pushed himself, driven himself further. But it wasn’t until his declaration of war that he started to choose how to go about things. Up until that point, everything he’d done had been spontaneous, and yet wholly a product of who he was, at his very core, reaching out to make him who he felt he ought to become.

It became apparent that he would have to begin to plan his moves with more than a moment’s notice if he was to have any success. And though that very item remained at the top of his To-Do List for another three decades, he never had much luck with it. It would still be a number of years until he would be able to accept his inherent limitations, and begin to fashion contingency plans to compensate for them. For the foreseeable future, the only thing which he could do would be to make himself as smart as he could manage, soaking up everything at breakneck pace which would threaten to render meaningless all which he’d hoped to learn.

What he hadn’t been counting on, however, was the role which the girls around him began to play. Physiologically, he may have stepped upon the path through puberty a little early, but it wouldn’t be for a couple more years before he understood the significance of his changing body. He was no longer a little boy, and yet it felt like forever until he would finally be a man.

And that’s it… Aside from a paragraph in Chapter Twelve, that’s everything from the Original Run. Let’s see if I can keep this going…


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