We drove back to my house slowly; I could even notice the texture of the plants and bricks of the houses we were passing. But I guess it was just my super senses, like Gazzah said, that made it possible for me to see that. I was sitting in the back with Michael because Gayle was probably going to do something to him in the back seat, with her being the meanest and most annoying and stupid and fake person I know. In the front seat, Gazzah and Gayle was busy squabbling about what CD to listen to, while Michael slept soundly next to me, softly snoring. I smiled, remembering the days when it had just been the three of us, me, Bobby and Michael. I was the youngest, being a year younger than both of them. Michael and Uncle Greg had moved when I was four, after his mum had died of leukaemia.
I can still remember the day when Uncle Greg came home one day crying, my dad patting him on the back and my mum starting to cry immediately when she saw them coming into the house. Michael asked, “Why are you crying Daddy?” His father just sobbing louder, “When’s Mummy coming home?”
Greg looked up and picked his son up, then said, “Mummy’s not coming back Mikey.” His voice extremely hoarse as he cradled his little son to his chest.
“Where is she?” Michael’s voice became small, his eyes slowly filling up with tears as he remembered going to visit Aunt Abby in the hospital and everyone saying that she was sick.
“She’s gone to heaven Mikey.” And as soon as Uncle Greg said it both of them broke out in a stream of tears. They’d stayed with us until two months after the funeral and then they’d moved.
I heard Michael sliding sideways and quickly leaned in so his head could land on my shoulder. Gayle stifled a quiet “yes”, not knowing I could hear her, while Gazzah just smiled kindly into the rear view mirror. We were pulling into our driveway when Gayle put the CD playing, Gwen Stefani, on the loudest it could go, making me and Michael jump. His head landed on my shoulder with a thump making me give a small cry of pain. He looked disorientated, confused. It’d been such a long time since I’d seen him look like this.
“Did you have a nice sleep?” Gazzah and I asked at the same time. We laughed quietly at the synchrony.
“Mmm,” he nodded slowly, and then answered more clearly, “I was wondering where the pillow came from.” He made a small laughing sound and tried to sit up, failing miserably.
“Don’t worry, I’ll come help you mate,” Gazzah laughed his roaring laugh as he slid out of the car and opened Michael’s door. I had to click his seatbelt off, making Gazzah laugh and said, “I bet you liked that Mikey.” He laughed even louder when Michael blushed.
We were finally able to get him out of the car, with Gazzah carrying him to the front door and me and Gayle carrying their bags while I tried opening the door. Finally I manoeuvred the key into the keyhole and twisted the lock, opening the door into our small living room. I heard Michael mumbling something along the lines of, “Hasn’t changed much since the last time I was here” and then I heard him fall over the step in front of the door and heard him say, “That was never there.” And there’s that roaring burst of laughter from Gazzah just on time. I had to smile.
“Um, I think your sleeping in this room,” I lead him down the corridor leading out from the left of the small living room to the bedroom next to mine. I opened the door and was surprised that I had guessed correctly. Gazzah moved into the room with Michael and dumped him on the bed. He hadn’t been on the bed for more than ten seconds when he started snoring lightly again. I heard Gayle dump his bag just inside the doorway and say, “I’m going to wait in the car. Hurry up.”
I walked back to the front door with Gazzah, both of us purposefully walking slowly. I looked at his cheek and had an intake of breath. It was a lot worse than I’d thought it would be. “I’m so sorry Gazzah!” I blurted out.
“Sorry about what?” he asked, confused.
I pointed to his cheek, “I didn’t know it was that bad.” He laughed his raucous laughter.
“I can hardly feel it. Don’t worry about it. I’ll see you at school.” He patted my head and left.
I stood in the doorway and watched them drive down the street. I quietly closed the door and locked it. Dad would be proud of me remembering to lock the door. I walked back to my room, right across from Michael’s, and looked at all the pictures on the walls. Most of them just me and Bobby, some of them had Gazzah, Melissa and Cate. I moved over to my bedside table and looked at the photo there; just me, my mum and my dad. I was ten years old in that picture; we’d asked someone walking by to take the picture. Behind that photo was another, older, photo. I was three years old in that picture, with bright green and orange and pink paint all over me, Bobby and Michael and Gazzah all had paint brushes in their hands, I was crying in that picture while they were all laughing.
I smiled at the memory.
And then I remembered that I’d forgotten my bag at Bobby’s house. I quietly ran out of my room to the phone in our small living room and called his number. He picked up on the first ring.
“Hello?” He answered. He sounded worried.
“Hey, it’s me, Morgan. My-.”
“What’s wrong? Are you okay?”
I started laughing, almost toppling over onto the floor.
“Why are you laughing?” Now he sounded annoyed.
I stopped laughing, and asked, “Were you really that worried about me?” I waited anxiously for him to answer.
He paused, breathing deeply. “Yes” was all he said.
“Okay, well I forgot my bag at your place. Could you quickly bring it over?”
Before I could say anything else he disconnected the call.
As I started walking back to my room, completely and utterly confused, I heard a strange singing. It was musical; it made me feel like I was floating on a cloud. Then I remembered, we had a little pond in our garden and the mischievous little fairies were always going there, along with that one lonely little naiad.
Around the corner she could see a little brown head, with pointy cat ears but intelligent, stubborn eyes. “Mina want a cooooookie.” It said in a child-like voice.
“There’s no one here Mina, except for Michael who’s fast asleep.”
She stepped out from behind the corner and put her hands on her hips, like she was in charge. “Well he better not be one those messy types or I’ll teach him a lesson,” the child-like act gone.
I laughed quietly, then said, “Don’t worry about it; I’m sure he’s perfectly clean. Come on, do you want to learn anything new?” I started walking toward the small lounge.
Mina’s eyes became brighter and she ran up and grabbed my hand, squealing, “Oh yes please, I hate acting so stupid in front of everyone.” She realised she’d grabbed my hand and immediately let go.
I just snickered quietly and kept walking toward the lounge.