"The night is quiet. Let the quietness of Your peace enfold us, all dear to us, and all who have no peace. Amen."
I say this prayer to myself, hoping to find some sort of peace. The night is quiet, but I am not. I lie still, but inside me is a tumult, a storm. I don’t know if there is a God. I don’t pretend to, but I hope that, if there is one, he will explain this.
The night is quiet. Tomorrow, my siblings will have school; they are asleep. My holidays begin early; I will not sleep tonight, not with the thoughts that consume my mind. Sleep is for the daytime, when haunting ideas have nowhere to hide, and must reveal their true selves in the light.
The night is quiet. My book lies open, unread on the sheets beside me. The lights are glaring, a false simulation of the emotionless day which I long for. The night is too passionate, too full of feeling.
The night is quiet, but not for long. Someone knocks at my door, causing me to jump. “Yes,” I whisper, afraid to wake the house that is fuller than usual.
“Katie, it’s me” a voice whispered back. Arman’s voice. The storm within me quavered, screeching to a halt. For a split second, a calm falls, sickening me before the tempest begins again, stronger, more violent than ever.
“Come in,” I answer, in the same low rasp. My door knob screeches as it turns, and then his face is there, in front of me, at the door. The face that I dread seeing every time he and his sister visit us. The face that disgusts me, the eyes that I try not to meet, the face that I long for every time we speak on the internet, over the phone, in text messages, in Facebook chatboxes.
The night is quiet, but my heart pounds as he enters, shuts the door, comes nearer to me. I am sure he can hear it; I am sure he will know. Another knock – I jump again. Lacey comes in, shuts the door once more. My wild heart is quelled somewhat, and I smile at her in relief. “Hey Katie. We’re going to crash in here until your little brother leaves the playroom, okay?”
“Sure. Feel free to hang out. I love you guys,” I say through my smile. It begins to feel more comfortable on my strained face. Arman looks away from me finally and walks around my chest of drawers to the book shelves. I try not to watch him too closely as he inspects each title, scrutinizes the rows upon rows of famous and obscure authors. I manage to tear my gaze away as Lacey speaks to me. I cannot focus on what she is saying while he is so near. I try to re-center myself, sitting on my bed, try to concentrate on her words.
“How soon do you think he will leave?” She has repeated this twice.
“Sorry. I’m a little spacey. Mom told him to go to bed. I think he should get off the TV soon, actually,” I answer apologetically. She nods, understanding, or thinking she does. She knows nothing. I love her. I could never do this, do what I want to do, to her – It would hurt her so. Everyone, it would hurt everyone in the family. God, why do you do this to me? Why has this happened?
“Hey, I think he went to bed. So has Stuart. It’s pitiful I mean, he’s only two years younger than me,” Arman says, pulling me out of my thoughts. “Let’s go play.”
“Yeah,” Lacey agrees. I nod, forcing a light laugh.
“Go on. I’ll be there in a minute. And remember to keep it down! We don’t want to wake up the house.”
“Okay,” she promises as they leave me in peace, in the quietness of the night. My room is empty of the ones I love, but so full of my own thoughts.
The night is quiet, but I am not. I argue with myself, with a god that I don’teven know exists. Why do you do this to me? They are your cousins. It doesn’t matter, how they came to be that way. He is your cousin, even if he is adopted. Calm yourself, calm your heart. Hormones will die down, one day.
The night is quiet, as is my room as I leave it. I close the door, leaving it empty; I carry my tumultuous thoughts on my person, and I try to lose myself in the silly games we play on the big screen. We race in cars, and no matter how many times I win, no matter how many races I lose, no matter how fast I go, I never leave these thoughts behind.