Acı Hayat, roughly pronounced something like – Ajé Hayat, was a Turkish phrase that translated to Bitter Life or Life is Suffering. The only reason I knew what that meant, was because I was part Turkish/Lebanese from my dad’s side, while my mom was Mexican.
It was a phrase my mom often times repeated when she was sad, whenever she thought about my dad. Not long after my thirteenth birthday, he left us. It was a phrase that had been branded in my head. Like my Arabic, my Turkish was not pristine at all, but I could still understand them. In fact for the longest time I never imagined that I would ever be able to relate to that phrase, but since certain bad things having taken place in my life in recent years, the phrase took on a whole new meaning for me. It described how I felt, how life had turned me into a harsh person.
I still often times wondered why my dad left us, but after searching for the answers for so long, and getting zippo for answers, I quit seeking those answers.
Senior year was just like any other year in high school. Not a whole lot changed and not a whole lotta good happened either. Kids were still the same. Some were over achievers. Others were a little too laid back and didn’t really care about where they were heading.
I finally exited my French class, which was my last class of the day. I liked French and it was probably the one class that I looked forward to every day. Still, I couldn’t wait to go home and forget about everything bad that’s happened since I came back from London. I lived there for a year and a half, and only because my mom’s job had transferred her there. During my little stint in England, I met the boys who would later be known as the band ‘One Direction’. I was especially close to Zayn because he had taken me under his wing, when I knew no one in England.
I had also opened up to him about deep things. I told him about my problem with anxiety and panic disorder, and how sometimes they ended up manifesting into panic attacks that were often times so severe that I ended up paralyzed and would not be able to move my hands.
He understood that about me, and never judged me for having this issue.
I tried to forget about Zayn and the rest of his friends. I have not heard from them in a little over two years, and the last thing I wanted was to travel down memory lane because we were no longer friends. Also about what led to us breaking up as friends, well that was kind of a long and messed up story that I didn’t want to rehatch. I didn’t feel like traveling back in time in my head and think about the day that Zayn told me that we were no longer friends because apparently Louis decided to accuse me of something I was not even involved in.
Of course it was easier for Louis to blame me for what had happened because the guy never liked me, and was never afraid to admit it.
After leaving England when my mom’s job transferred her back to Los Angeles, I figured that things would get somewhat better, but that did not happen. I started dating Dasia, this girl who was a close friend of my friend Marco, Paola’s brother, and let’s just say that one thing led to another and she ended up pregnant with my child. Of course this was something that I immediately told my mom about, and yes you could say that she was shocked and upset at first, because at the time I had just barely turned sixteen and I was on my way to becoming a teenage father and I was so not ready to be one, but that was my child and I was going to take the responsibility. We both ended up getting married because neither of us wanted our baby to be born outside of marriage and funny thing was that neither of our parents were against it. So we tied the knot and I came to see that I did love Dasia.
Then tragedy struck.
Dasia was killed of an apparent mugging, and there had been indications that someone attempted rape. But she fought back and defended herself. But whoever it was stabbed her and she didn’t make it, and our child of course never made it to be born.
That event tore me up greatly because it wasn’t just my wife that was killed, my child was killed as well.
After dropping off my books in my locker, I started hearing people screaming and cheering and asking questions like ‘Can I please have your autograph?’
Something told me someone famous was here, because otherwise why would anyone ask for some random person’s autograph.
I decided to walk away and realized that in order for me to get out, I had to go through the crowd of people who were cheering excitedly at who knows who.
As I walked through the crowded hallway, curiosity hit me and I suddenly wanted to know who it was that these people were so crazy for. I looked, and saw five guys signing autographs who looked familiar. Suddenly it hit me in the gut. It was Liam, Zayn, Niall, Louis, and Harry.
It was the boys from One Direction. The boys that I was once friends with, who turned their backs on me because they believed I had done something I had not done.
I stood frozen in the center of the crowd that was cheering with excitement. I couldn’t move at all. Then when Zayn was turning to look in my direction, I immediately turned and looked away so that he didn’t see me. So that none of them would see me. I didn’t want to face them. I didn’t want to even know anything about them. Sure I’d become a distant fan for se because I did admire their work. Plus, I knew them before they were famous. At the time they were just aspiring musicians who wanted to make it into the music business like many others. Sure enough, with the millions of fans that they now had, plus three albums, it was safe to say that they definitely made it.
I was happy for them.
Just as I was making my way out of school, I suddenly remembered I had to go to the library to go print something out for a presentation I have with my best friend Paola. I headed there, hoping that I could do this quickly enough so that I didn’t run the chance of running into Zayn.
After printing out the presentation guide, I threw it in my backpack and finally headed out of the library.
Exiting, I heard people speaking in British accents, and immediately I knew I was running into those who I did not want to run into. Looking up I noticed Zayn, Liam, Harry, Niall, and Louis looking at me with surprised expressions. Still, I tried my best to maintain my composure.
After putting up with their long and shocked stares for too long, I got annoyed, but I was especially annoyed of Zayn looking at me.
“What are you even staring at?!” I asked with a tude.
This threw him, as well as his mates, off.
“Don’t you remember me?” Zayn looked sad all of a sudden. “Us?”
I laughed. “Please, I know who you all are. You’re One Direction. But aside from that I don’t think we’ve ever seen or met ever.”
Niall walked up to me. “Wait, how can you not remember us? We were all friends with you once.”
So that meant we were definitely no longer friends. He was right, because ever since Louis accused me of stealing five hundred pounds that they were saving for music equipment, they all turned their back on me. The evidence had somehow made its way into my backpack, and after Louis reported me to the police, I got arrested and got thrown into a cell at the police station. Then the next day the charges were dropped. Apparently they felt sorry for me, but they no longer wanted to see or hear from me ever again.
I always knew that Louis had done it. I just could never prove it.
“What’s your name?” asked Zayn, looking confused.
“My name is Mike Olivares” I said without thinking twice. Everyone’s expressions were twisted with confusion. Liam, Harry, and Louis were the only ones who never said a thing. Then again they couldn’t because apparently my little mind game worked, and they truly believed I was someone else, and not Mehmet, the stupid little kid they made fun of, whom they unjustly threw in jail for a crime he never committed.
“Look…” began Zayn.
But I interrupted and said, “Listen, I have to go now!”
“But…” said Zayn, but stopped at mid-sentence when I didn’t respond and continued walking.
I continued walking until I made it outside. I stopped and started thinking about what I was doing, and how I was utilizing all my anger toward them. It didn’t make me feel any better, but at the same time I didn’t know what else to do. I didn’t want to be the same easy to pick on little kid that most people at one point saw me as. Ronnie was probably the only person that still saw me as an easy target. He was a bully and he’s bullied me since we were in elementary school.
I guess some things never change. And this was one of them.