Gameboy

A very unfortunate tale on how a 4chan anon broke his father’s heart:

bikeWhen I was ten years old, I had a bike. And I hated the fucking thing. My dad gave it to me when I was eight, and for two years I couldn’t stand the bike. The gears were always rusted, the chain always jammed, the paint was chipping off and the brakes didn’t work. I hated the bike, but I rode it everywhere. I wish I could at least say that I enjoyed fixing it up, making it all nice and new, but I didn’t. I hated that bike.

When I was ten, the Game Boy Color came out, and every single kid I knew had one. They would sit together, playing their games while I sat back and hated my parents for not getting me one. I used to always ride my shitty bike while my friends played with their Game Boys. I just hated watching them have fun while I couldn’t. My family never had a lot of money. Sometimes my parents would even skip dinner just so I could have enough to eat. So of course, when the Game Boy Color came out, we couldn’t afford one. I was ten and stupid, so I hated them because of it. Money got so tight, that my dad had to dive up smoking for a few months just so I wouldn’t go hungry a single night. Those seven months were filed with my dad screaming, my mom yelling, and me riding my bike in circles outside.

gameboy colorAfter seven months, my dad got a better paying job and suddenly the cigarettes were back. A couple weeks before my birthday, I was riding my bike downtown going someplace or another, when I decided to stop and look inside of a pawn shop for some spare parts for my bike. I looked for a few minutes through the store when I saw an old Game Boy Color. It was old and worn out. The screen was cracked and a sign next to it said “No Sound.” The man behind the counter saw me eyeing it and asked me if I wanted it. I told him of course and about how all of my friends had one and about how my dad was too poor to buy me one and yadda yadda yadda. He asked me how much money I could spare, and I told him I had nothing.

He asked me how much I could get from my parents, and I told him they had no money to spare. He looked outside and saw my bike, and asked me how old it was. I told him it was my dad’s when he was a kid, so it was pretty old. The guy sighed, and told me he’d give me the Game Boy and a free game for the bike. He said the Game Boy was only collecting dust anyway, and he could use the bike for spare parts.

Obviously, I quickly said yes, and I walked home playing Pokemon Yellow. I was so overwhelmed by how fun the game was. I felt like I could play it for hours just to beat the game. I eventually got back to my small house, my dad sitting on the porch, smoking of course. He asked me a lot of questions. Why are you walking, where’s the bike, what’s that, where’d you get it and he went on and on until I finally was able to answer him. I told him about the pawn shop and about how I traded the bike for this Game Boy.

In my entire life, my father has never hit me or my mother. But that day, I was scared. I was actually scared of my father for the first time. The look of anger and rage in his eyes petrified me. But it only lasted for several seconds. He sat back down in his chair and started crying. Honest to God, I don’t remember much else from that night. But I do remember my father coming into my room, and sitting on the edge of my bed. He sat there for a while and eventually asked me to shut off the game for a minute.

And you know what I did? I kept fucking playing. My dad asked me to shut off a fucking Game Boy for two minutes so he could talk to me, and I didn’t. I told him that I could listen to him and play at the same time. All he did was sit there. Watching me. After a while he just said that he loved me and left. I was too focused I didn’t even say I loved him too.

A few months ago, I got a call from my mom.

Dad was sick and dying. I drove a couple of hours to my hometown, and got there six hours after he died. I was sad, but I didn’t cry. We went through typical and boring procedures. We buried him, read his will, etc. He left everything he owned to my mother. Everything except for one thing. He left me a footlocker, that he had always kept underneath his bed. Of course, I picked up the footlocker, and drove the few hours back to my apartment.

The footlocker sat in the trunk of my car for three fucking weeks before I remembered about it, and decided to open it up. I was hoping for at least something cool, like a pistol, or some cash for my rent. I found only two things in the footlocker. I found a large leather bound journal, and an unopened Game Boy Color box. The reality of what I found didn’t hit me that hard at first. I decided I could at least open the journal and see what he wrote in it.

On the very first page, it was my eight year old dad writing about his brand new bike, and his brand new journal. His grandfather had given them to him for his eighth birthday. I never knew anything about my dad’s childhood. Mostly because I never even bothered to wonder or care. But I couldn’t stop reading that fucking journal. I read about my dad’s life like no one had before. His dad, my grandfather, was always drunk, and hit my dad every chance he got. I read page after page of my dad recalling how his dad would hit and kick him. How he would ridicule him for every single thing he did wrong. On one page, my dad had written something and underlined and circled it many times. He even wrote “never forget” next to the words “Never hurt people you love.”

I read how my dad had to get a job when he was twelve just to help support his family. I must have sat there for hours reading that journal. The one thing that made my heart ache was his bike. His bike, that he gave to me. His bike, that was his only friend. His bike, that carried him away from his dad. His bike, that helped him support his family. His fucking bike, that I threw away like garbage. My dad knocked up his girlfriend in high school, and married her soon after. A couple of months later, they had me. On the day that I was born, my dad only wrote one sentence in his journal. My name. My name and the words “never ever forget.”

On my eighth birthday, my dad wrote down the follow: “Anon’s 8 today. Finally decided to give him my old bike. I know he’ll love it like I did.” When I was ten, my dad starting writing about how much I was asking for a Game Boy. He kept on writing down ideas to make money, only to cross them out or erase them. On one page, he wrote “No more smoking until Anon has his game.”

The next pages were mostly him writing down angry things. But every so often, I’d turn a page and find my name circled and underlined to remind himself why he was doing this. Finally, on one page he said he finally had enough money, and bought me the Game Boy Color I was asking for. He wrote down a memo to remind himself to buy more games before my birthday. On the day that I traded his bike, he only wrote down one sentence. “Never hurt the people you love.” I couldn’t read anymore. I sat there and cried. For the first time in my adult life, I cried.

Very sad story.  One thing I don’t quite get, though, is if the bike was truly so precious, why not tell the kid about it when you give it to him?  Why wait until it’s been pawned to try to talk about it?

Can’t say that I completely fail to understand, though.  Men simply have the tendency to not talk and keep things bottled up inside.  There has been times in my life when my own failures at communication managed to bite me in the behind, as well.

Original screen cap:

gameboy


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