Proper. Polite. Perfect. That’s how we need to be. No exceptions. Ever since I was a little boy, I was taught the same thing over and over again. Just so I would never forget: only speak when spoken to, think before you speak, do not show emotion, for they should not be able to read you. When I was young, my father trained me like you would a dog. If I behaved and aligned with his standards, he would reward me by bringing me to meetings, speeches and even letting me attend prestigious cavalcades. If I were ever acting out of line, he would make sure I knew. Not in public; however, he would reprimand me later. I was taught how to manage every situation down to the word, even though sometimes, it was best not to say any words at all.
Once I was a tad bit older, I had free roam of our residence. I would find other kids, the children of servants or house guests, but they would never be eager to play with me. It was as if they were not capable of having fun. Thus, I turned to my mother. She was different from my dad; he was bland, boring, and remarkably stubborn. My mother was not any of those. She had life in her, unlike the other inhabitants of the estate. Often, she would lead me down to the gardens, and we would change the flowers’ arrangements just to confuse the landscapers, or we would slip into the kitchen and switch the sugar and salt canisters, which led to an interesting supper. Sometimes, she would even sneak me into the town, where we would venture out in disguise and experience the city’s vibrance. The city was a brilliant place to be; the air was so fresh, everything looked filled with life and bursting with color. Nothing in our home had color. All the walls were either brown or gray; even our clothes were dull.
On this one night, when we returned, my father was waiting for us at the entrance. He was not happy; in fact, he was so exasperated that he demanded I not leave my chambers for a fortnight and forbade me to see my mother. My father always had a bitter tone towards my mother and me, and he seemed to get more uptight and heated with her every day. After the punishment concluded, my mother was gone. They said she had passed from a heart attack, but I speculate that was nonsense. My father had most likely banished her. My life has never been the same without my mother. She was the one person in the family who understood and related to me.
When I turned eighteen, my father sent me off to a military camp. When you are training to be in the army, every move must be made with absolute precision. On top of that, you have to match everyone around you perfectly. Initially, I enjoyed being at the camp. It was exciting, a new experience, but soon enough, the repetition became monotonous, and the drummer boy’s rhythm occupied itself in my head. Additionally, our bunkers were small and full of rubbish; we did not have a maid to look after us, the food’s quality was nowhere near up to par with what we had in the cellar back home, and if you were not first in line, you were stuck with taking a cold shower. At least it was still better than dwelling in that crummy house all day. I did make friends at the military camp; this one lad and I would trick the generals by taking the gunpowder out of their rifles when they were in meetings.