This is just a dream I had one night. It was pretty emotional for me since I was "in it." It was a first person dream but nothing in the dream was how my life is. I cried in the dream and again after I woke up. I think that was the first time I cried in a dream. I imagined it to be sometime during the depression, the '30's. It's just Jack, (age: 8) and me, (age: 11)
All I have now is my little brother. I can’t imagine how confused he must be with the way our lives turned out. Living in a boxcar doesn’t exactly fit into ideal living conditions. It’s big enough for the two of us and since it hasn’t worked in years, I always know where home is.
Being the older brother makes me feel responsible for Jack. I’m supposed to teach him how to be a man, since our father left before he did any good. I was only four and Jack just turned one, but I still remember the argument like it’s still going on right now.
“I just don’t know how we’re gonna make it,” my father says as he walks into our small apartment.
“We’ll make it, we always do,” my mom reassures him.
“Not this time,” returns my father, slumping down in the chair.
“What are you talkin’ about?” worries my mom.
“We have no money! We’re months behind in everything! They already turned off the electricity and the heat! Our kids…!” he yells as he stands, knocking over the chair.
“Sssshhh, quiet down. You’ll wake the kids,” She cautioned while looking at the closed door to our room.
“Our kids have been bathing in the same bucket of water for weeks, “ he says pointing to a small bucket of cold water by the bathroom door.
“Ok…things haven’t been goin’ our way but what about that promotion you’ve been workin’ for?” she asked with a hint of hope in her voice.
“I got fired,” he said with a depressed voice as he sits down.
“Fired!” Realizing that she was yelling, she lowered her voice.
“What did you do?” she asked accusingly.
“Half the workforce got laid off. Nobody’s got any money. That’s why I’m leaving.” I could tell my father didn’t really want to leave but he didn’t know what else to do.
“Leaving?” she almost whispered as she slowly sank down to the floor, leaning up against the stove.
“I can’t take care of you and the kids anymore,” he responded.
“Take care of the kids? You’re never home! You barely even see them!” she screamed at him, pounding the decaying cabinet with her tightly clenched fist, emphasizing every other word.
“Maybe if I leave, you’ll find a better man,” he admitted.
A better man? You’re the man I hoped for, I love you,” she manages to say as the tears start to streak down her beautiful face.
“Love isn’t enough to keep going,” he slams the door, ending the conversation. She just sat there; tears rolling down her cheeks.
Since then, we lost the apartment, all of our stuff, and mom died. It’s been a rough life. We went from having a family, a home, and the possibility of food every day, to living in a rusty boxcar barely making it by. We both sleep on a dusty mattress in the corner of our “home.” Besides that, we don’t own anything of value. Jack always carries his five lucky rocks and three magical screws in his overall pockets. Just so we can say we own something.
At the corner of our street sits a little boy, about Jack’s age, selling lemonade for a quarter. I always get my drinks from him because I know his family is struggling too. I don’t really talk to him but before we part ways I always remind him, “there’s something in the future for you.” One of the reasons I go to him is because I’m not allowed to go to other streets without my mom. She wants to keep an eye on us. I like to think she can still see us. Sometimes life is just too hard.
Jack threw the screws into the middle of the street, and then reached down his pocket to finish the job. Now everything we own lies in the street. I started walking towards him and he took off running down the road. I continued to walk, following him. He stopped at the corner and stared at the stars. When I got within ten feet of him, he turned around and I noticed tears freely flowing from his little blue eyes. I stopped and we stared at each other for a moment. Then simultaneously ran and embraced each other. He whispered through sobs, ”are you mad at me?” I whispered back, “no,” as tears formed in my eyes.
All of a sudden fireworks shot up into the night sky and illuminated my face. We still held one another but his back was turned to the magnificent show. “It’s ok. Look.” I let go of him and spun him around. I’ve never felt so moved by things exploding before but, it made it seem like everything was going to be ok. As long as we have each other, we’ll be fine. Love is all you need.