Do you have any feelings in general that you are disturbed by? What are they? Why do they disturb you?
Sometimes I get so pissed off, I don’t know what to do with myself, you know? I get all fired up and my stomach churns and my head feels like it’s about to explode. The wrong guy crosses me or gets in my way, I swear to God I could kill him. That scares that crap out of me, if you want to know the truth. If I had a gun, there’s no telling what I might do. I’m not saying I’d necessarily use it. I’m just saying I might.
You know how it feels to know something like that about yourself? Not good. Face it: under the right circumstances, anybody could kill. Normal people don’t think about it all the time. They know what they can expect of themselves. They don’t worry about blowing their brains out before they hit twenty-five.
Yeah, I know how it sounds – I ain’t stupid! – but I’m not a bad person. I don’t think I am, anyhow. These feelings, I don’t know where they come from. It’s like they hide inside me or something, ready to spring. My old lady thinks I’m depressed. She’s wrong. This ain’t depression-no how, no way. It’s rage, dude.
When I was in middle school, they put me on antidepressants. The pills made me feel like somebody else, a stranger inside my own body. I couldn’t even think straight. I used to do all right in school, got mostly As. My grades slipped. I was hopped up on the pills for months. By the time I got off, I was done with school. I kept going – I mean, get real, you don’t quit when you’re twelve – but I always did lousy.
All those months on the pills, plus they sent me to a shrink. The guy was a total moron. Insisted I was depressed because my old man took off. Give me a break. Yeah, it would have been good to have him around when we needed him, but it didn’t depress me. I didn’t know the guy. Try telling that to a shrink.
Things have been better since I met my girl. Leah, that’s her name. Leah Tyler. What a babe! Blonde, blue eyes. Plays soccer and she’s got a kicking bod. She makes me a lot calmer. The rage is still there-it ain’t going away-but I don’t always feel like I’m on the verge of knocking some joker off. That’s huge.
For a month or so, it felt like a miracle, you know? I could get high just looking at her. We were always laughing, joking around. Problem is, it don’t last. Now we fight like any other couple and that gets me all worked up. Even if we’re not fighting, the anxiety’s there. Her old man hates my guts. That’s part of the problem. The other part, well, it’s natural, I guess. I wish things were different. I just wish I was normal.
I ain’t going nowhere and neither is she. We love each other, me and her. We’re in this for the long run.
About Todd: Todd Corbett dropped out of school in the tenth grade and spent two years on the road with a rock band, working as a roadie. He currently works as a clerk at a used record store and lives with his single mother in Cortland, Massachusetts. His girlfriend, Leah Tyler, makes his world go around.
About In Leah’s Wake
The Tylers have a perfect life-beautiful home, established careers, two sweet and talented daughters. Their eldest daughter, Leah, an exceptional soccer player, is on track for a prestigious scholarship. Their youngest, Justine, more responsible than seems possible for her 12 years, just wants her sister’s approval. With Leah nearing the end of high school and Justine a seemingly together kid, the parents are set to enjoy a peaceful life…until everything goes wrong.
As Leah’s parents fight to save their daughter from a world of drugs, sex, and wild parties, their divided approach drives their daughter out of their home and a wedge into their marriage. Meanwhile, twelve-year-old Justine observes her sister’s rebellion from the shadows of their fragmented family-leaving her to question whether anyone loves her and if God even knows she exists.
Can this family survive in Leah’s wake? What happens when love just isn’t enough?
Margot Livesey, award-winning author of The Flight of Gemma Hardy, calls In Leah’s Wake, “A beautifully written and absorbing novel.”