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Mar 2011
children should be seen and not heard Odysseus is not a complainer he keeps quiet he is taught to choke his voice swallow his hurt Mom and Dad are always arguing at one another raising their voices fighting he endures his parent’s criticism follows their orders he is trained to be obedient no negotiating his parents inhabit a surface world of strict protocol everyone laughs but it is a pretend way to dismiss what is actually occurring as long as they say i love you to each other then everything is accorded technically all right no matter how dysfunctional or painful the truth existence is a difficult challenge often overwhelming Mom and Dad push Odysseus in directions he does not want to go instead of surrendering to their wills he acts in response in fact a whole personality is being formed based on his reactions and having nothing to do with who he truly is how he actually feels he feels frightened by the world stressed by all the expectations put upon him in many ways he is way too sensitive crippled by his own sensitivity self-betrayed by his thin-skinned hypersensitivity he stays in his bedroom with the door closed he paints or plays with toy soldiers and watches TV he does not know where Penelope is maybe she is in her bedroom Penelope means everything they share secrets and conspiracies and a common enemy in Mom and Dad Penelope is the only one who recognizes his predicament sense of helplessness anxiety pain she is more nurturing than Mom Penelope and Odysseus have a special connection share a common or similar reference of perception Odysseus desperately needs to believe in his parents maybe Mom and Dad do not understand and assign unfitting advice maybe Mom and Dad do not support him in ways he needs but they are still his parents he values believes looks up to them they rooted that in him even if it is out of fear rather than respect he will always venerate Mom and Dad no matter what Odysseus wants to make his parents proud he loves and needs them Mom is an important person always on the go planning dinners dashing out the door gossiping on the phone buying and returning clothes getting them altered going to the hair salon meeting with the girls for lunch she is a busy lady and has a lot of friends Mom is more concerned about how things look than what is actually going on with her children parenting is a secondary concern to Mom’s hectic agenda of social popularity deep inside Odysseus believes Mom loves him he needs to believe that he paints a red heart on white sheet of paper and writes inside the heart in brown colored pencil MOM when he turns it upside down he reads WOW he reasons whether it is out of obligation or guilt or a mother’s tendency Mom loves him he does not understand but he is grateful secretly Odysseus is hurting bad his feelings are easily upset more and more he experiences a disturbed point of view he tries to ignore it  sometimes his thoughts run to morbid extremes he wonders why he cannot just accept and get along often he wants to be good and get better other times he wants to destroy himself things are chaotic and troubling at home he wishes he or his family would die his teachers complain he is a dreamer with behavioral problems he does not excel academically after eighth grade Mom and Dad are notified their son is not to return to Harper Mom cries to the school Principal in his office begging him to let her son stay the Principal refuses Dad lights a cigarette and exclaims to hell with Harper we’ll find Odys a better school Odysseus tells Mom he is going to be known someday not like celebrities on TV rather recognized for some great achievement Mom believes him and never stops believing in Odysseus
michael reid rubenstein
   JR Weiss
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