This piece of short fiction was written in response to a visual prompt. The author selected a photo of a young man and wrote a story from his perspective.

People look at me as if I am some kind of animal. They see the things I do and see how I act. I drink quite a lot and I fight. I drink because it makes me forget about my sorrows and my pain. I fight because it is the only way I know how to show my one emotion I don’t care about hiding.

My father was a drunk and a fighter as well, but he liked to fight. It was everything he was. I always said I would never be like my father. But when I look at myself in the mirror, I see him. Even though I see him I know I am not exactly like him. He did many things I know I would never even think of doing. He hit my mother. His wife. I would rather be buried alive than hit the woman I love–any woman at that. He enjoyed fighting, I do not. But I feel it’s the only way. People look at me as if they know who I really am. They don’t. I act tough because I’m scared. I drink because I’m miserable.

As I sit on the front porch of where I lived as a child, the place looks abandoned, and abandoned is exactly what it was. As I look at the place I called home for so long, I think of my mother. As I look into the room that was once my nursery, I get a sudden surprised smile spread across my face. I then acknowledge my thoughts. It’s me and my mother. She’s holding me in her arms singing to me with the beautiful voice she once had.

I continue to walk the empty, beaten-down house. I come to our living room, where not a lot of living occurred. I get chills down my spine as thoughts of my father beating my mother come to mind. I think of all the guilt I feel and have felt most of my life. The guilt comes from not being here for my mother when she needed me the most. I just hid in the corner.

My name is Carlos Mendoza. I am now twenty-seven years old. I hope nad pray that my family of the future will be much more caring and loving than my parents were. I will love my children and my wife. I will give them the world.