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The Lizard Family Take Their Tea

The Lizard family sat down to have their morning tea. Mama Lizard sat across from Big Sister Lizard, while Little Sister Lizard sat across from Brother Lizard. This was a well thought-out arrangement. With this seating, Little Sister Lizard and Brother Lizard were prevented from punching each other (unless they leaned way across the table, which neither felt inclined to do), and Mama Lizard could see right away if it started to look like Big Sister Lizard was going to burst into tears. When Big Sister Lizard started to look down at her plate a little too often, or started to try to scratch at her skin, the way she did in times of discomfort, Mama Lizard would say across the table, "Hey!" until Big Sister Lizard's attention was yanked back into the family conversation, and she forgot about feeling bad. Brother Lizard was also pretty good at keeping Big Sister Lizard involved. Brother Lizard was the oldest Lizard child, and the best of them all. He was the kindest, though sometimes his family forgot this and tried to make him pay for being the oldest child, and the only son. He sometimes hated being a part of his family. As the kindest of them all, and the least emotionally loud, he had trouble dealing with the female Lizards' crazy mood swings and bad moods. He believed that unhappiness was generally unnecessary, and tried to avoid it at all costs. This was sometimes difficult. He never knew just how to respond when Big Sister Lizard started in with her unexpected fits of misery. It was always Big Sister Lizard who was the one to bring melancholy upon the house, but even with their opposite characters, Brother Lizard and Big Sister Lizard loved each other very much. In many ways, they matched up much better than any other two people in the Lizard family did. Brother Lizard was good at being adored, and Big Sister Lizard was good at adoring him. Big Sister Lizard sometimes secretly plotted to abandon the family when she turned eighteen - all of the family except Brother Lizard. Losing him would be a heartbreak she wouldn't know how to deal with, and she didn't fear anything as much as she feared unhappiness. No one understood why she kept herself so immersed in it.

Mother Lizard, Brother Lizard, and Big Sister Lizard all worried about Little Sister Lizard. She was a perfectly normal child. She didn't fit into the family very well. Neither Brother Lizard or Big Sister Lizard thought they'd see much of her, after they all grew up. Mother Lizard worried more about never seeing Big Sister Lizard, as she had always been the one least attached to the idea of family. Little Sister Lizard knew that the others got worried about her, and it made her feel self-pitying and angry. She didn't want to be worried about. She wanted her family to shut up and mind their own business. She was sensitive to people examining and thinking about her. She blamed it on being the youngest, but in truth it was just because she was herself, and she hated to be looked at that closely. Brother Lizard loved to be thought about by others, but the Lizard sisters both hated it. They loved their friends, but they wanted to be able to exist without being analyzed. Poor Little Sister Lizard was often subject to analysis. She was so different from the rest of the family, they all watched her carefully and curiously - except for sometimes, when they forgot about her completely. These were the times she noticed the most. She hated being forgotten about even more than she hated being analyzed.

Morning tea had been getting harder and harder. Big Sister Lizard was feeling sad again, and Mama Lizard was feeling frustrated again, and they fed off each other's discontent. Brother Lizard saw this and wanted to disappear. Little Sister Lizard didn't know what was wrong, and got angry because her family was acting weird again. Mama Lizard had been feeling upset because of a lot of things. She had bills to pay, and chores to do, and her children hadn't been helping her very much. She had no one to help her. When she was frustrated and sad, she had no one to cry to. She had to act like a grownup, and it was hard. She had had a hard childhood. She had had horrifying things happen to her. She had had the sort of childhood that should have earned her an easy adult life, but her adult life hadn't been easy. She took good care of her children, but they didn't always take good care of her. They didn't think considerately, the way they should have. She loved them a lot, but like all the Lizards, she was ridiculously emotional, and she wasn't very good at sucking her unhappiness up. Her children felt it, and it made them sad, and then she got sad because her children were sad. It was hard.

It was the worst when Big Sister Lizard started to feel the brunt of Mama Lizard's unhappiness. Big Sister Lizard loved life so much it hurt sometimes. She was very fragile. She felt things too strongly. She had fallen in love when she was just a little kid, and it nearly killed her. She always found things to cry over. She didn't want children. There would be too much for her to feel, and she had watched Mama Lizard for too long. Big Sister Lizard believed that wanting children had hurt Mama Lizard a lot, and had made her marry the wrong man, once upon a time, and had made her struggle financially and give up on all her silly dreams, and made her stop being a beautiful young woman. Big Sister Lizard was scared of this. She never wanted to feel the way Mama Lizard felt. Mama Lizard knew that Big Sister Lizard felt this way, and it made her very sad. Everyone knew that Big Sister Lizard felt this way. Everyone had always known it, but she only said it out loud once. She had said it at the end of a family dinner, when she had been feeling very sad and scared. She only ate a little, and when she was done she started to cry. Her family was startled. She tried to stop herself from crying, but then she gave up and started to do all the things she did when she got upset. She sweated. She shivered so hard the table rattled under her hands. She felt very heavy and put her head on the table and couldn't pick it up again. She closed her eyes and covered her face with her hands and tried to pretend no one else was there. She started to gag and almost threw up. Then she tried to scratch up her arms and legs and chest and face, but Mama Lizard grabbed her hands and wouldn't let her. Mama Lizard wanted to cry when Big Sister Lizard scratched herself. It made Mama Lizard feel like Big Sister Lizard hated herself, and Mama Lizard loved Big Sister so much that she hated to think that she didn't love herself, too.

Big Sister Lizard knew how to cry. She sometimes even liked to. It wasn't like the scratching - when she scratched, she stopped feeling. But when she cried, she felt so much that she felt like she was going to melt, and it was a relief.

She told them all that she loved them and hated them. She told Mama Lizard that she hated her because it wasn't fair of her to give birth to Big Sister Lizard when she was going to wind up feeling sad all the time. She told them that she wanted to die. She told them that she didn't understand why anybody would want children, when all you were doing was bringing more sadness into the world. She told Little Sister Lizard that she hated her for being so naive and pointless. She told Brother Lizard that she hated him for being so collected and for not understanding why she felt as sad as she did. Then she told them that she hated herself and didn't deserve to be Mama Lizard's child, and that she thought she would hate herself less if she was the child of someone who didn't need her. Then she cried so hard she almost fell asleep.

Mama Lizard understood all of this. She told Big Sister Lizard. Big Sister Lizard nodded and knew that Mama Lizard understood. Brother Lizard didn't know what to do with the all of this, so he stood up and shouted "F*** you!" at Big Sister Lizard, and stormed up to his room and tried to only feel healthy things. This made Big Sister Lizard giggle so hard she almost fell down. She was crying and giggling and shaking a lot. Little Sister Lizard started to cry a little when Big Sister Lizard started to laugh. She thought her sister had gone insane. She had, a little, but no more than normal, really.

This morning tea was okay, though. They ate some scrambled eggs and only fought for one moment. They loved each other more than they did anything else. Then they finished, and went off to do homework and housework and to bake. And they were okay, really. Big Sister Lizard took the opportunity to note that they weren't that bad, actually, and it was true. They really weren't.





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This article has 3 comments. Post your own now!

Rambunctious said...
Oct. 3, 2009 at 8:13 pm
Thanks, guys.
Rawwwr. I just want to say that this got mislabeled somewhere along the lines; it's supposed to be in nonfiction. Yes, seriously.
 
Sarah♥ said...
Oct. 3, 2009 at 9:11 am
Woah...I think this is the best story I've read on here. It's really good!
 
Mikki-bug<3 said...
Oct. 1, 2009 at 3:55 pm
Wow. That was pretty awesome! Very, very sad. At first I wasn't sure what it could possibly be about with lizards and tea, but I'm SOOO glad I gave it a chance. Brilliant.
 
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