That Summer: TwelveMature


"Riley, dinner!"

I heard the voice of my father, shouting from the bottom og the stairs. I wasnt worth coming up for.

Still, I knew I aught to come down. Best not to provoke them.

There's another thing it was in my best interest not to do, and that was bring up Trevor. Not unless I wanted my dad's voice to get low and harsh, or see my mom cry.

I descended the stairs and turned into the dining. Easily as grand as the other rooms, with dark wooded furnitaure, and a painting that was supposed to be an iris hanging on the wall. My mother was fascinated with it; but then, most of her interests were fairly odd.

I did not want to be here. Anywhere else would have done. I understood all too well why Trevor had left at seventeen. I had been fourteen at the time, but I could still remember it perfectly. Strange, I thought, that two years could drag by so slowly.

Christmas had never seemed so cheerless. My father had pulled my brother into the library after a particularly obnoxious scene at the table. "You are a disgrace," he sneered. "You had better clean your act up, boy. Dont think I cant tell when you're all strung out."

Trevor had the nerve to laugh in my father's face. "You think you know about me, about why I am this way, but you dont. You cant even see that you're the one killing me."

Peering in from the doorway, just barely out of sight, I expected my father to explode. Instead he spat his words through grit teeth. "Get out."

So he did. Trevor was upstairs and back in mere minutes; by that time I was back in the kitchen. My brother did not say goodbye, did not hug our mother or pause to consider that he might never see our grandmother again. He did not stop to ruffle my choppy hair.

No, he simply pushed out the door into the chill of the winter night, sucking the last of the holiday spirit with him. We were suspended in an emotional vaccuum, empty.

Now, Trevor only stopped by when they were out. Usually it was only to jack some food. I still tried to convince myself he was checking in on me. I wanted to be home, always home, just in case.

My father said grace out of habit more than belief. My mother smiled and urged me to eat up. I wondered how long it would take them to realize that I was dying too. A little bit every day, I was fading into the nothing.

The End

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