People ask me why I am so determined to become a State Alchemist. My father included. What's so special about it? What's gotten me so obsessed? The answer is so very simple. Even if alchemy never came naturally to me - even if I had no talent for it whatsoever and I had to study all night just to understand the concepts behind chemical make-up - it was all I had going for me.
I had no talents. I wasn't book smart. Wasn't exactly street smart either. Reading gave me a headache. Woman's work, baking and cleaning, was far too boring for me. I couldn't write or draw for crud. I had no outstanding interests that people could tell I could make a career of one day. Even at the tender age of twelve, I had to ask myself "What is my calling? What am I meant to do?" I asked my father what he thought my talent was ... and he said my talent was a being a good person with a kind smile. Baby talk. I'm old enough to know an adult's answer to where there is no answer.
Even my father could see that I was useless.
But alchemy was something different. It took a lot of effort, no doubt. As I previously said, I'm hardly a scientific mind. Alchemy may look pretty from afar, but there is a lot of knowledge that is built into it, that makes it possible. The first time I learned of alchemy, it took three weeks to learn the simplest transmutation. But, oh, the moment it actually worked...
That bright, engulfing flash of light. That entire scene of an object morphing and converging in on itself at your will. And then ... it became something else entirely. I actually managed to change my textbook into a dinner plate. It was wooden with the material being comprised of mostly paper, but I had to arrogance to actually have a victory meal off of my transmutation that day. Wooden or not, the food still tasted delicious. And me? I felt like I had performed magic.
Because that's what alchemy is. Whether it's a magic that takes the principals of science or a science that makes you feel like you're doing magic ... it is all so abstract. It's anyone's call. So, even if I was horrible at alchemy, even if I was the slowest learner on the planet, it was the only shot I had. I knew it from right then and there.
And then, after the alchemy exam, there was one last spot open. And it was taken by a child my age. Who would have thought it, right? I didn't think much of Edward Elric when we both lived here in Risembool, but, thinking back on it, he always did show more talent then me. He always did show more potential.
But ... how could he?
He seems like such a strong, fit boy with the world ahead of him. Why did he have to do it? Why did he have to take this away from me? It was beyond cruel! If I just had that extra flare it would have been me who had been State Alchemist. It would have been me who would have become known as the Child Prodigy and the Hero to the people just a little while afterwards. Instead, there was nothing else for me. I could have taken the exam the next year or the year after that, but how would it change? I've studied to my fullest. I understood the most I will ever understand. There was nothing more for me to grasp.
But anger filled me that night. I sneaked out of my house, my father none the wiser. I came back to the central building and found a drunk passed out along the pavement close to it, and empty bottle of alcohol beside him. I picked it up over my mouth and shook it, coaxing just a drop or two of the mix to fall onto my tongue and give me some form of release.
I was never able to get my hands on more, but I should have been. What kind of stupid laws kept children from drinking anyways? We could have just as many reasons to loathe and self-pity as any adult could. Years passed. I was fifteen before making the big decision. Any normal person would have recovered by then, but look at what surrounded me! I would constantly hear from the neighbors at least how the great Edward Elric is becoming a legend among State Alchemists. I wanted to find another talent, another way out, but, when I am constantly reminded, how can I find room to breathe? How can I move on when I keep getting pulled back? My family tried to console me, but they were only my adoptive family. I loved them, so I don't know why it made a difference. But it did.
So, at fifteen I made the big decision.
I climbed up to the attic of my house, having discreetly acquired rope from the broken tire swings. I wrapped it around the upper beams securing the ceiling and made a nice-sized loop at the end. I climbed onto a step-ladder and tightened the rope to the right height. I didn't cry and I didn't hesitate. I put the rope around my neck.
I was never a religious person, but I felt that anything that awaited me on the other side would be better than here.
I stepped off.