THE BEGINNING OF THE END
(by Randy E. Halprin)
Part One The beginning of the end for me started in May of 1995. I was just returning from Onei-
My break started out fine. I really had no friends to hang out with, so I spent most of it swimming and watching T.V. and playing with my brothers. At night I would call up my girl friend and we would sometimes talk until the wee hours of the morning. Other nights I would sneak off to the side of our house and siphon freon from one of the big air condi-
One day Wesley and I had decided to go hang out at the mall that was about a mile away from our house. We asked dad if we could go and if so, would he take us and drop us off. He said no, so we decided we would go anyways by taking our bikes.
Wesley had a mountain bike and my bike had been stolen earlier that year at my best friends house, so I didn't have a bike. Undeterred, I chose to take my fathers dusty Schwinn bicycle which hadn't been ridden in so long it had cob webs on it. Figuring it wouldn't be a big deal, I wiped it down and aired up the tires to the ugly yellow beast and we rode off.
Now, things between my dad and I were already growing tense. Coming back from school I was already starting to experiment with drugs, I was seriously confused about religion and who I was, but more afraid to express to my Jewish father that I was se-
After spending the day at the mall Wesley and I rode back home. The sun was setting and I wondered aloud what mom and dad would think about us going out. "Oh, they'll get over it", we thought. As most kids would.
We pulled into the drive way, punched in the code to our garage door and parked our bikes inside. I was nervous as we walked in, but to our surprise mom and dad said noth-
"We took our bikes", Wesley said.
Dad looked at me knowing I didn't have a bike and asked, what I used, I think expecting me to sat the scooter which was forbidden to ride, because I had been in so many wrecks on it. "Uh, I just used your bike. The yellow one." Dad's face dimmed and I could see a growing anger.
"Who did you ask to ride it?" he said.
"No body. I just figured, uh, you never ride it. What's the big deal?"
"You didn't ask me."
"Didn't ask you?" I said incredulously. "It's been collecting dust since the 70's."
Dad looked at mom, and she shrugged her shoulders as if to say, "I'm staying out of this one…"
"It doesn't matter if I ride it or not. It's my bike. It belongs to me. You know to ask when you are going to use something", Dad said.
"Yeah, dad… Like I'm going to ask if I can ride your bike to the mall when you said we couldn't even go in the first place -
I knew I was in the wrong, but I refused to back down, because I felt he was just picking a fight. "Well, you're grounded now. No car driving, no going out until I decide you can and until I get an apology."
"What?!? I didn't do any thing!"
"This conversation is over, Randy. Go to your room."
"Man, this is my summer break. I'll do whatever I want to do!" I yelled, stomping off.
Later that night I called my girlfriend in Louisville. "Tracy?" I asked hearing her familiar voice on the other end of the receiver. "Hey! I thought you'd never call."
"Man, you aren't going to believe the crap, that's going on. I'm grounded! Can you be-
"For what? Oh, by the way, I did call you earlier, but your mom said you were out", she said.
"They never told me you called. Anyways, I rode my dad's bicycle to the mall with Wes-
The conversation carried on into the early hours of the morning.
The next day dad and I continued to fight. He was telling me that part of my grounding was going to be helping him build tables in the garage with no pay. I felt like my summer break was ruined.
Being the impulsive person I can be an idea began to develop in my head. I loved my dad to pieces, but I was so mad that I was letting this fight get the best of me. I needed to get away from the house. It wasn't like they really wanted me around anyways -
I called Theresa up that night and told her my plan. I'm not sure, if she took me serious-
I paced and paced my room thinking of how I could cover that in costs. A brief idea flashed in my mind, and than I quickly chased it away, yet several minutes later I found myself in my dad's office and holding his business cheques in my hand. I forged a two hundred dollar cheque, tucked it under my pillow and went to sleep.
I spent the next few days building tables for my dad. At the end of the day I would huff freon or drink some cough syrup. I thought about calling the whole thing off and going to my dad with the cheque I was going to cash and just saying how sorry I was, but I couldn't let our fight go. I decided, my mind was made up. I would spend the rest of my break with Tracy. I was going to Louisville.
That next day I packed all of my stuff I would be taking back to school with me. I wrote mom and dad a little note trying to justify my actions. Then I grabbed my brothers bike and rode it to the bank to cash the cheque I had forged.
My fate was sealed.
I came back home with two hundred dollars. Dad was out on some business errand and Wesley was in our game room playing Nintendo with my little brothers. I told Wesley what I had planned and gave him the note with explicit instructions to not give them the note until I was gone. Wesley asked me, why I was leaving. "It's just something, I have to do", I said.
I said goodbye to my little brothers, who didn't know what was going on. Earlier I had given them each a pack of gum, and I thought about how their eyes had lit up. It pained my heart to be leaving them so soon. This was the last time I ever saw Jimmy and Kevin.
Dad came back at the end of the day and started preparing dinner. He asked me, if I wanted to help him, knowing this was something I really enjoyed doing with him. "Nah, I'm alright", I said.
I went to the game room and called Theresa, saying I was on my way. I called a taxi cab, and then had Wesley help me transfer my luggage to the garage.
After dinner I went outside and paced the drive way, suddenly missing our long gone cat, Tiger. Wishing he was there in front of me rolling on his back to allow me to rub his sto-
As Wesley and I were hugging, dad came out to the garage. I looked at him, and he looked at me. "Hey", he said. "Hey", I said in return.
"I was thinking you and I could talk. I'm going to pick up some things at Krogers. Want to come along?" Then he threw me the keys to his Suburban. It was his way of saying, "Hey. Lets make up!"
I gave him the keys back and said, "I'm going to stay here." Sadness crossed my father's face. I watched as he climbed into the Suburban and drove off. A few minutes later the taxi cab pulled into the drive way. Wesley and I loaded the luggage into the trunk, and I gave him one last hug. "Don't forget about the letter", I said. I got into the cab and I took off.
Mom and Dad,
I don't expect you to understand what's going with me. I'm just going to Louisville for the rest of the break. I have a place to stay, and I will go back to Oneida when the school opens back up. I'm not running away. I just need my break. I'll call you when I get there. I promise.
I never called, when I got to Louisville, and I never came home again.
"Hey, Theresa. Yeah, it's me, Randy. I'm at the station right now. Yeah, the bus was ac-
The trip to Louisville was pretty much a non-
There was a couple having sex in the very back of the bus, a lady talking to herself and weeping uncontrollably in the seats in front of me, a guy who got kicked off the bus in some small town for drinking. It was a very strange ride.
Before we pulled into the Greyhound station in downtown Louisville, it started raining very hard. The rain lasted for a few minutes and then went away leaving the city grey and wet.
After hanging up with Theresa I called Travis, and he was giving me the run around about having some friends over and getting caught drinking and well, his mom wouldn't allow him to have any people stay over for a while and well, I'm really sorry, Randy, shit happens…
I was screwed.
"Okay, man, tell you what. I'll call you from Tracy's place and we'll think of what happens next." Once again my impulsiveness was back firing on me.
When I got to Theresa's house, her parents were sitting on the swinging chair on their front porch. I got out and took the luggage to the porch. I lied to them saying I'd be staying at Travis' home and that, yes, I had permission from my family to be in Louis-
"Is Theresa home?" I asked.
"She's inside. Go ahead on in!"
I left the bags on the porch and went inside. I called her name, and she walked up to me. We hugged and we sat and talked for a bit. We were just happy to be in each others company. "Come on, lets go for a walk", she said and grabbed my hands.
We stepped outside, and she told her parents, that we were going on a walk and would be back shortly. And so we took off.
The streets and roads of Louisville were not like that of Texas. Bardstown Road was a main street full of head shops, novelty stores, a couple of record stores, and diners. Off of Bardstown Road were the residential streets, and they became a never ending laby-
The Naders were a very peaceful, open family. Mrs. Nader was like an old hippie. She was really quite cool. We got to their house and rang the door bell, but no one was home. And so we headed back to her house.
When we got back I called Travis again and said, that basically I had no place to stay, but I told Tracy's parents, that I was staying with him. He agreed to swing by and pick up my suitcases, but I couldn't stay with him.
I could tell, Theresa was getting uncomfortable with the way, this was unraveling, and she even made a comment later about how I was making her lie to her family and she didn't like that, but it wasn't like she was trying to get me to stop all of this either. In a way it benefited her, because I was there with her.
I knew I was messing up big time, but then again I enjoyed being there with her, and besides I'd be back at school soon and any problems, that this cause, would not last very long. Or so I was naive enough to think.
Theresa had some sort of summer job working at a frozen yogurt place downtown at the PNC Bank, where her mother worked. At night I was sleeping outside of Saint Francis of Assisi. A church on Bardstown Road. There was a big court yard type place in the back of the compound, and that's where I slept. I'd wake up, meet Theresa at her place once her parents took off for work, shower, and then ride the bus downtown with her. It was a lot of fun and I was forgetting about what I had just done to my parents.
At night I'd hang out at her house and keep telling these elaborate lies to her parents and digging the hole deeper. Theresa was beginning to get frustrated and worried about me sleeping outside of a church and so arranged for me to stay at the Naders until I went back to school.
When she was mad, she had a temper like no other. Our first real fight was a result of the frustration of my stupidity and having her constantly lie to her parents to cover me up.
We were sitting on her porch, her parents were out and -
After a couple of hours things calmed down a little, and I remember being in her back yard, her laying across my lap on her patio stairs. Her parents came home and she went inside to take a nap.
I remember her mom giving me some money to run down to the Krogers to buy some food items. She filled up this big drink container with iced tea for me, because it was very hot. Her mom was a little bundle of joy. This tiny with a gigantic heart! So I left for the Krogers to get what she needed.
When I returned, Theresa was still asleep, and so I helped her mom and step dad pre-
We hung out for a while, and then at the end of the day Theresa walked me over to the Naders. We kissed good night and I went inside.
Now, the Naders were like any other typical family. They had a nice home and cute child-
Up until this point I had only smoked weed a few times at school and with Theresa. I didn't particularly care for it, as I was always paranoid about my lungs and I hated hav-
There were some other people hanging out at her house. All of them looked middle aged, and yuppyish. They were sitting in a big circle in the middle of the room and had me join them. I sat down, and then Mrs. Nader pulled out a little pipe and a baggy full of mariju-
They passed the pipe around, and when my turn came I took some hits. This carried on until the baggy was empty. My head was spinning, and I was quite high. The whole time I'm sitting there, I'm thinking, 'This can't be happening!'
Not long after the door bell rings, and Theresa's there to see how I'm doing. I go outside with her, and I'm kind of giggling, and she looks at me and says, "You're high, aren't you?" I start to laugh, and she says something like she's jealous, it's not fair, teasing me. Then she goes back home.
The next few days are going pretty good. I spend the days hanging out at the Galleria downtown and meeting Theresa and her mom for lunch breaks and all of that. Then I mess up again.
Earlier in the day Theresa and her mom were playing this game boy, my friend had given Theresa at school earlier in the year. They were always playing Tetris on it, and the bat-
While I was out at the Galleria I had purchased some things for Theresa. A bottle of per-
Shortly after the officer walked up behind me and said, "Give me the batteries!" I tried to play dumb, and then he asked to pat search me. He found the batteries in my pocket. He asked for my I.D., but for some reason earlier I had given my wallet for Theresa to hold, so I didn't have it. He told me, that I was going to be arrested then.
Now, I'm panicking. I'm basically a run away, I have no I.D. Theresa is at work, and I'm going to jail. This was the first time ever being arrested, so you can imagine, how scared I am, when they say I'm going to jail.
I'm allowed to make some phone calls, and so I try to call her house, and I end up leav-
Everything just begins to spin out of control. I'm being drilled by my dad. Why did I steal the batteries, how did I get the money to stay in Louisville, why did I leave home, where am I staying…
I'm not sure exactly what my dad did, but somehow he talked them into dropping the charges as long as I left Louisville and went back to school immediately. He talked to the school and arranged for me to arrive early for the work program and then talked to The-
Theresa's mom showed up and was furious. I mean, the look in her eyes… I knew, I was in some deep trouble. When we stepped outside, I was going to say something, but she snapped, "Just shut it, Randy! I don't want to hear it." Theresa was in the car, and I climbed into the back seat. She was going to sit back in the back with me, but her mom told her to stay put. I didn't say anything all the way back.
They dropped me off at the Naders and I went and explained to them what had hap-
The next day, after Theresa's mom went to work, I went over to her house. I remember her being upset and her giving me this little stuffed toy. It was a mushroom she named "Sherman", and she also gave me a necklace with a mushroom on it. A few hours later I was on a bus back to school.
I remember crying on the trip down, but I can't remember exactly the reasons why. Was it, because I thought, that could be the end of Theresa and I? Was it, because I felt bad about all the crap I hadn't gotten myself into? I just don't know. I did feel horrible about all of this. I just don't know.
The bus pulled into the drop off at a Burger King in London Kentucky. Dr. Bud Under-
After I arrived back at Oneida I walked up to my room in Baker Hall. Baker Hall was one of two of the high school dorm buildings. I had been living in the same dorm room, Room 202 for the past two years. I pulled out my key that I kept on a long pocket chain and opened the door. To my surprise, my best friend, Jason, was there.
"Randy!" He said and came up and hugged me. At that time I was a little homophobic so hugs from guys made me uncomfortable. I asked why he was back at school so early and he said he had to participate in the work program. He asked me why I came back from Louisville so early. (He had come to visit Theresa and I about a week earlier.) I gave him the run down and he only shook his head. I wonder if he thought I was already starting to spin out of control I had already lied to him and Theresa previously about having can-
After I got settled into my room, I went down the gym to see who else was here at school. Not too many people, it appeared. I went back up to my room, grabbed my key-
A few days later I got a phone call from Theresa. She was upset and bothered about something. I could hear it in her voice. We talked for a bit and I asked her what was wrong. "My dad is accusing you of stealing money before you came down to Louisville. He says your dad said you forged a cheque." I got real quiet as she talked on…, "But I told him that you said it was your own money saved up."
"Uh…, Tracy, I, uh, I did forge the cheque", I said.
"You what! But you said, it was your money!"
"I know, I lied. I'm sorry, I just…"
"I fucking defended you, Randy! I called my dad a liar taking up for you."
"I'm sorry", I said, and then she hung up on me.
After a few days she forgave me again. I don't know why I continued to lie to her about things. But I did. During the mid-
One night Jason and I went down to the campus ministry center to sit and hang out. It was a relatively new building and they had these really nice new benches. I noticed some people had already etched out their names in the fresh yellow wood and so I pulled out a pen and wrote a poem. Something about how I'd come back years down the road with Theresa and show her these words. But I made the mistake of signing my name on it. A teacher read it and turned me.
I was called to Mr. Harold's office and he asked why I was defacing property. At first I was apologetic, but he kept on at me talking about how people donated the money to have those benches made and what right did I have to vandalize them. I smarted off and said, "Jesus, just give me some sand paper and I'll fix the problem." He told me to leave his office.
The next day back in school I was suddenly called to the President's office, Mr. Under-
I was being expelled from school. "For what? What did I do?" I asked. "I'm not a beha-
(I want to intersect here for a second to explain that at this point in my life I was se-
But what Mr. Underwood did was so unchristian like, it caused me to have an extreme prejudice against Christians for a long time. I'm still leery of fundamentalists and such, because I see so much hypocrisy.)
After quoting some scripture he said that he'd already talked to my father and that I needed to call him back and work out where I would go, once expelled from school. He handed me the phone and I called Dad. Morn was on the line, too.
"You know, I'm not suicidal", I said. "This is wrong what y'all are doing to me." My dad begin to speak saying I had stolen from them and they couldn't trust me. Then he said, "Well, Randy, here's the deal; you can go anywhere in the U.S. you want to go. Except to Louisville or Texas. You want to go to Washington? You always talk about how much you like it there…"
"Are you serious dad? This is crap. What did I do?" I said starting to cry.
"Well, it's already been decided on. What did we ever tell you would happen, if you were expelled from school?"
"Yeah, but this isn't fair. I'm not suicidal!"
"Think about, where you want to go. Call us back. We'll pay for your first six months rent." I hung up the phone. What the hell was going on? How on earth did my whole summer spin out of control like this? What kind of parents and so called Christian school abandons a so called "suicidal" teenager? It was pure madness to me. I couldn't wrap my head around it.
I left Mr. Underwood's office with one thought, "What would Theresa think?"
Since I was being expelled, I didn't even bother to return to class. Instead, I went to the classroom, Jason was in, opened the door and said, I needed to talk to him. He was such a true and loyal friend, that he walked right out of the classroom without so much as a word to the teacher.
I told him what was going on. "What? You're kidding me!"
"Nope. I've gotta find a place to go like by the end of the day. My dad said, I can go an-
"Well, where do you wanna go?" He asked.
"C'mon dude! You really have to ask that? As near as Theresa as possible."
"Well, let's got to the library and look at a map."
We did, and it came down to New Albany, Indiana or Lexington, Kentucky. I knew noth-
Around the afternoon I was called to the office for a phone call. I thought it was going to be my parents again. I hadn't planned on calling Theresa until after five pm or so, be-
"Whatchya doin'?" she asked in her playful voice.
"Ummm. Remember that poem I told you about I got in trouble for carving into the bench? They are kicking me out of school. They think I'm suicidal."
"What?" she said and then she started crying. Earlier that year her brother had been ex-
"I'm going to Lexington. I don't know where yet, but I'm leaving school tomorrow. I'll probably have to stay at a motel until my dad finds a place.
"Okay, just call me back later. I'm going to get a friend to take me to Lexington tomor-
That evening I told the rest of my friends the story. I said goodbye to my friends Kim and Majic. Kim gave m'= this Erotica book by Anne Rice as a goodbye gift. Why, I don't know. Jason gave me some of his clothes, 'cause I still didn't have much.
The next day Mr. Harold took me to the Bus stop. I was to go to a motel where I'd stay until I knew where my apartment would be. When I got into Lexington, I called Theresa up and let her know where I was. Her and a couple of friends came down to see me. We caught up for about two hours and then she had to go back home. Late that night my mom called me at the motel and told me, they found a small studio apartment. To my luck, it was right across the street from the motel I was staying in. They'd be sending me some money soon, but I had to get a job.
That summer in my own apartment was actually kind of fun. I was alone and hated that aspect of it, but Theresa would come down and sometimes spend the weekend with me. Then, I'd go to Louisville and spend time with her. Once, I walked 70 something miles to Louisville just to see her. Yeah, that's right. Walked. I was a teenager in love. There wasn't a whole lot that I wouldn't have done.
I wrote a letter in the fall asking to return to school (see next page...):
To my fortune, I was accepted back in under a lot of conditions. I returned to school and got caught up on all I had to do. Things were looking better, but my drug problem was increasing. I started to do LSD and experimenting with other things. I kept it very quiet and not a whole lot of people knew. I would go to classes under the influence and I was starting to fight with my girl friend more. Yet, I did want to get a grip on my life.
During November I broke down on some rocks over looking the schools Track and Field and started crying to God. I believed he answered my prayer. Yet, I wasn't willing to con-
In December I stole a credit card and was arrested. I was released and then went to Louisville to spend time with Theresa. I ended up stealing a camcorder and taking it to a pawn shop because I needed money. I stole it from a good friend of Theresa's and this lead to a permanent separation between us. She hated my guts after that and I don't blame her. I hated my guts. I didn't even know who I was anymore. I ended up home-
The summer of 1996 I returned to Texas and that's where everything ended.