Hearing the voices in my head, they aren’t nearly as bad as the ones beside my bed. Opening my eyes, I see my little brother and sister, staring at me with wide eyes. Both of them with big brown eyes, and Jessie, who is twelve, wearing dark green eye shadow. She reminds me of someone. I think her name was Cherry at the time.
“What are you doing?” I ask them slowly, not understanding this one bit. I’ve just gotten here, and out of squirming out of my mother’s arms, I raced up out, back to the police car, and that just made her go into deeper hysterics, and my father had to hold her as she fell to the ground. I can’t help it, I mean, why else does she think I wanted to leave? Did she really believe that I wanted to come back.
“You,” Connor said softly, he’s only fifteen, and he’s just as tall as me. He has the same blond hair as me, but with the scary big eyes of a doll, and I can’t look at him, so I bury my face in my pillow. I never look back up; I’m too scared, and not just of their eyes.
I’m not who they expect me to be.
I don’t eat breakfast; I don’t go downstairs at all. They knock on my walls, trying to tear them down, but I don’t hear them, I’m still grieving, still grasping everything. Or coping, I’m not sure. All I know is Matt is gone… forever. The end to the story ends there. He shouldn’t have left. Shouldn’t have done this. He can be so stupid at times.
He had just told me he loves me. He still does. I still do. You. I don’t know how long I’m in my room. Could be hours, days, weeks, months, years. Eternity for all I care. All I ever do is sleep. My head on the pillow, I succumb to dreams. He’s half smile on his lips, the way his eyes bright up at anything small, his hands caressing my cheek, my neck and collarbone, the slow movement of his lips to mine the first time… A pair of jeans being thrown at my head.
“Hmm?” I moan, just waking. I turn and lay on my back, pushing the jeans onto the bed. “Ugh,” I groan and turn onto my side again, ready to go back to sleep as I see the time. 3:45 am. Turning onto my back again and see a tall figure at the end of my bed.
“Get up,” Cameron barks at me.
We go to an all night diner, where the name is old and fading, kind of scratched off, and it’s right by Billy’s Burgers and Booze, Kelso’s Bar and Grill, across the street from Kennedy’s Pub and Restaurant, Dairy Queen, and Domino’s. But it’s the only place that is open all night. We asked the people who worked here what the name of it was, one person said Sharon’s, another said Sookie’s, and the person we think is in charge said Wolf Tala’s, so we say it’s Wolfie’s. The man in charge smiles’ at us.
We both order milkshakes and coke, two slices of apple pie, and two orders of cheeseburgers.
“You missed the Miller’s,” Connor tells me as I’m devouring my second cheeseburger. I don’t know what’s he talking about for a second, and then it hits me. Our neighbors across the street, or neighbor. The crazy lady Phyllis Miller, in her untamed little cottage of a house. She’s a crazy old bat, always taking pleasure in other’s people pain, trying to get people, and not just teenagers, but parents and adults too, in trouble.
“What about them?” I ask, still chewing the remains in my mouth.
“They moved away,” he tells me, but I don’t believe crazy lady would voluntarily go to a retirement home, or even let her own son in her house. “After Phyllis died,” Connor adds a little too late.
I can feel my eyes go wide. Crazy lady? No, no, no. People can’t just up and die on me; she’s supposed to be here. I mean – it’s just natural order of things, to have a Boo Radley in the neighborhood. An old, wrinkling Boo Radley, of the same.
“Who moved in?” Is all I can ask, I have nothing else to say. I didn’t really know her… I was kind of scared of her.
“Some young couple,” ugh, it sounds like the line from Virgin’s Suicides. How the past just erases from the page. “From Detroit,” he adds.
It could have been me.
“No offense, but you rank,” he tells me, like the lovely brother he is. Something’s never change.
“Remember when we ran away?” I ask, wanting to keep the conversation alive. “We were at grandma’s house, Patty’s,” as if we have any other grandmother. “Dad was at the hospital, to get his appendix out or some shit like that, and we had watched some movie – Devil in the Flesh, where the grandmother was all freaky, and I was nine, you were seven. We thought we knew the way home, but we even got lost on the way back,” I tell him, and he’s just looking at me. Like I’m not that same person.
“We were kids,” he says coldly, and fishes out his wallet out of his jean pocket. I don’t remember him being so cold.
“I was nine, I held your hand… you were so lost, and afraid. Afraid that we were in the dark and wouldn’t find our way home. I held your hand, made sure everything was alright.”
“YEAH, WELL EVERYTHING ISNT ALRIGHT!” He screamed at me, slamming his fist on the table, making me jump. “And what did you do? Huh, you up and left when things got rough – you think you’re all grown up?” He asks, his voice lower but not any less harsh. He looks me dead in the eye, with the fury of someone way more mature than fifteen. “Did you think I wanted that?” His body leans forward, his head just more than a few inches from mine. “You don’t know the hell we’ve been through.”
“I don’t know hell? You obviously haven’t seen anyone dead, C.”
“Don’t call me that, that’s something my sister used to say,” he says and straightens his back, ready to leave; I get up too and follow him out.
“Oh, so I’m not your sister now? I don’t have the blood, the hair –“I say as I’m behind him and he whips around to whip one at me.
“That doesn’t matter!” He yells at me. Why does he have to yell? I want to shrink back into my bed, to forget about all of these things said. If only I could still be dreaming… I’m not sure what’s more scary, the teasings of what reality doesn’t hold, or what reality is, really. “None of that matters! That all erased when you went away!”
“Went away! You act like I was sent to a mental hospital, like Charity’s or something.”
“No, it was worse, you chose to left, and you left us behind,” and he takes a few steps forward. I don’t know why. “Mom couldn’t get out of bed some mornings, just like how you are now, and dad – well, dad, he was going through a lot you know,” I could hear the sarcasm deep through his voice. “He had to decide – stay home and take care of crazy ass wife, or get some actual ass.”
“Don’t do that to me, I tried to pro-“
“What? You tried to keep it a secret from me? Then why did you leave? Huh? What’s so wrong, a man has his needs,” his spits at me.
“What does that mean?” I ask, tears drawn on my face now as I take one step forward, and as he stands next to the car door.
“Wha- Who do you think? Matt.” He lets go of the handle now and steps closer to me. It’s like a dance. “Do you really think he loved you –“
“He did –“
“No, no, he didn’t, Luce, you are so – fucking naïve, it really scares me sometimes, it really does.”
“It scares you?” I ask him, choking on my words as I break all space between us. I step closer to him, and we’re face to face, the same height. “You don’t think it didn’t scare me, every day, and that I didn’t think about coming back – that I didn’t wish mom would be at the door, ready with her arms open wide? What kind of person are you to think that wasn’t my worst nightmare?”
“Whatever,” he says and turns around. “Fuck that,” he adds as he gets in the car and drives off.
I sit on the bench for four hours, I don’t buy anything, they kick me out, and I sneak back in. It doesn’t take long for me to recognize dad’s car, the silver Volkswagen is a Carlisle tradition. I don’t say a word as I get into the passenger seat; I don’t ask all the questions I want to, like how could you? He’s your only son, and you’re his only father. Where’s Connor? Living and thriving in the deepest pits of hell? I hope so. How is mom? Are you still fucking your secretary? Oh, wait, no, she’s a fucking waitress. At first I sit there and stare at him, I’m not sure if I’m glaring, I don’t think so. I hope not. Or maybe I do. Maybe then he’ll realize everyone knows.
After staring does no use, because he won’t even look at me, I let my head rest on my arm as I look out the window. We pass the drive in silence.
“This really isn’t the best behavior,” he tells me out of nowhere, we’re almost home. What? Is all I can manage up, and I’m still not speaking, just raising my head a little bit more. “You could at least talk to someone – anyone.”
I don’t say anything.
“Damn it, Lucy,” he mumbles and still doesn’t look my way. “Your mother has been through hell for the past eight months – we haven’t had a clue where you were, or how you were doing, who you were with. Everything is a complete mystery to us!” He complains his voice still calm.
“Where were you?” I ask after some silence.
“What?” He asks, turning the wheel, eyes still on the road.
“She was in hell,” I tell him, shifting in my seat. “Where were you? Drowning with her? Or just drowning her?”
“I have no idea what you mean,” he tells me quickly. Does he really think no one knows? Grandma knows! She calls him a selfish fucking bastard who never was good enough for her daughter and is driving her crazy and into deep oblivion and depression, maybe even bipolar disorder. Of course, she was talking about mom at the time, not her own trouble with men.
“The affair, I mean,” and that stops him cold, even though we keep moving. “God, dad, everyone fucking knows, even mom, and that’s why she’s in hell,” I tell him and return to my head resting on my arm. “Not me.”
The first thing I do once we get home is shower.
News is I rank.