When I got home I looked expectantly at my younger brother, Josh. He looked right back at me. In a minute I knew all I needed to know. Mother was out again with Larry. I needed to feed my brother and myself for the night. My brother and I had some sort of connection. We always knew what the other was thinking, just by looking at each other.
“What would you like?” the Gerry’s look spread across his face. He saw my face and looked disappointed. I hated Gerry’s Meat Hut. All they had was steaks. It was very odd.
“Victoria’s Fish and Chips!” we both exclaimed at the same time. Now, that was a good restaurant. It had variety, despite the name. We both laughed and grabbed our coats. I ran to the money jar and took out twenty bucks. We headed out the door and started towards the restaurant.
It was a fifteen minute walk, which we took in silence. Neither of us liked to talk much. We didn’t need to, when all we had to do was look at each other. I would’ve droved, but it was raining out. We both love the rain. Josh was twelve right now, and extremely smart. He had black hair and violet eyes like me, before. We got that from our Dad, who died two months after Josh was born, when I was six. It was after that I got my nose done, and then we went to Stonefield, my own personal unpopular hell.
We finally got to Victoria’s, and hurried inside, since it was starting to lightning. I was stupid, I should’ve taken the car. Lightning was how our father got killed. He was walking home from a business dinner, when all of the sudden – bam. We lived in a wide open space. He liked the rain too.
Mother was nothing like him. She hated rain and had brown hair and green eyes like I now do. But they loved each other. Father was the one who took care of us. Mother gave us money, hugs, and kisses, but there wasn’t really anything that she could do besides that. Nine years after she met Larry. They’ve been going out for a year now.
I like Larry. He made Mother have genuine smiles; not like her other fake smiles after Father had died. Mother was happy, I was happy. Josh was unhappy. Larry wasn’t that smart. He didn’t understand Josh’s jokes. Other than that, Josh liked him too, for the same reason I do.
Josh noticed my face. “Larry took Mother to Carly’s Bakery. They said they wanted to try some Tera Ma Sue.” I laughed. This was funny. Larry was a great cook. Him going to a bakery for him means defeat, meaning he couldn’t make it himself.
Josh laughed with me, and then stopped abruptly. He looked me up and down and frowned.
“Mel, for heavens sake, get some colour!” he said, still frowning. He was referring to my brown t-shirt, brown sweat pants, and brown coat.
I frowned. “Brown is a color.” I said.
“Not really!” he exclaimed. “Oh my gosh, you look like a zombie! I miss old Meli…” he said softly.
Yes, I used to spell my name with an I on the end. That was before I met Jessi and her gang.
“Old Meli is old. That was years ago.” Years ago… Years ago I dressed in bright colors, dresses, accessories galore. That was before Father died.
“I’m the same person, Josh.” We’ve had this conversation many times before. He wanted me to go back to who I was before. To bright, smiley, Meli, with strong emotions. Meli, with out a bottle deep inside her.
I couldn’t be Meli. Meli was a stranger now. If I didn’t have my bottle, I’d be a broken person. If I let my emotions out now, they wouldn’t happy and bubbly like before. They’d be angry and sad. Bad emotions. Almost no good emotions are a fair trade for keeping my bad emotions locked away under vault and key.
“No, you’re not.” Josh looked almost angry now. “I wish we never moved here, that you never changed…”
“I didn’t change.” I’m right. I didn’t change inside. I just changed outside.
He saw what I was thinking. “You changed inside too. Your bottle is there. It’s almost full, Mel.” He knew about my bottle. We both had a bottle. His wasn’t as full as mine, I agree. He didn’t get insulted everyday like I did. He showed his emotions. I couldn’t do that. If I let one out, I let them all out.
“I know my bottle is filling up… It’s not almost full though. It’s only like, half full.” He shook his head.
“I know what I’m talking about, Mel. You’re gonna explode sometime. One big thing and they’re gonna overflow. Don’t put them all in there. Let some out. Don’t be afraid. I know you can. I miss you.” That was the end of the conversation. He was right. I am afraid. I’m afraid to go back, to face my fears, to face my ugly emotions.
We both ate in silence after that then waited for the lightning to stop. I was thinking about what he said. He said he missed Meli. Well, I miss her too. That’s not going to bring her back. I missed Father and that didn’t bring him back.