Because the Garage Door was Half-Open

August 1, 2010
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The front door slammed. I tip-toed out in the hallway, the hardwood cool on my feet. I could smell the clinging scent of smoked tobacco from the bottom of the stairs.
Jeff’s home. I thought to myself.
If I knew my family well enough (which I do) I’d be able to hear our dishwasher on turbo dry. Standing at the top of the stairs, I could see the flashes of our television which was on mute. I was praying that the garage door wouldn’t be half open, or it was all too late. I didn’t dare go down the stairs, in risk that Jeff would see me. He couldn’t know I was awake. I softly but quickly went back to my bedroom, a plan in mind.
I closed the door with a soft click, and shut off the lights to allow everyone to think I was asleep.
With not too much effort, I opened my window and climbed out on our roof. The old climbing tree was only a short jump away.
Minutes later, I was sprinting across our backyard in soft steps. The night air had a damp feel around it, hinting that rain was coming. In the distance I could hear the rumble of thunder.
I still have time. I assured myself. I had to make it in time. I had to.
The bushed were pricking into my thighs, and I knew I’d have red marks there tomorrow. But I had no choice. If I went around the bushes, I’d have to go past the laundry window, and knowing Mum, she was most likely sitting there watching the clothes go round in the washer. But a slight noise would arouse suspicion. She couldn’t see me either.
Finally, I climbed out of the jungle of bushed, knowing the coast was clear. I didn’t know how much time I had left, but I knew it wasn’t much.
With adrenaline pumping through my blood, I took few steps so I could be in better view of our pasty white garage. But then I froze. I was unaware of the fact that more thunder was rumbling in. All I could focus on was the 16x18 pale white, half open garage, showing darkness. I didn’t have to move forward though; I knew that our baby blue 2003 Mercedes Benz was gone.
***********************************
My heart was beating fast. Too fast. I knew only one thing would calm me down. I grabbed a glass… dirty or not I didn’t care. I rinsed it in the sink for about 30 seconds before lightly tossing it in the dishwasher and setting it to turbo dry. I grabbed the television remote off the kitchen island, changing the channel to Days of Our Lives on mute. I hated the show, but mother always watched it, so when an older episode of Julie finding Doug alive when he was supposedly murdered, I felt comforted with memories of mother crying during this scene.
My happy reminiscing was interrupted with the slam of the front door.
Crap, Jeff.
I hurried into the laundry room to continue the attempt to slow my heart beat. 3 piles of clothes were on the floor. The whites, reds and blacks. I kicked the whites closer to the reds and smiled at the thought of the Canadian flag. I threw the blacks in the washer, sat comfortably on the whites and reds, ignoring the slight scent of sweat, and began watching the circular motion of the red shirts, the pink underwear and the red sweaters swirling rushes of water between the clothes and bubbles popping. I closed my eyes and listen to the incessant sound of water moving fast and small buttons clanking against the cold, hard metal insides of the washer. My mind was focused and in time with the washers duties. The slow but loud rumble of the thunder in the distance caused me to look out the window, only to look back at the mesmerizing washer seconds later.
***********************************
I didn’t want to go home. Going home meant seeing…. Them. I shivered. I rubbed the bridge of my nose when I reached the stop light in my 2003 Honda. I reached over in the passenger seat to grab my cigarettes. I needed them more than ever, especially since I was going home. I closed my eyes, and quickly opened them, remembering I was driving. I wanted to move out. Have a life. But how could I? With my little sister being so abnormal… I mean, I get it. Her dad leaving all the time…. and then there’s our mum. Her O.C.D is out of control. She has all these weird rituals to deal with Sam leaving. And sis? I don’t even know what happens to her… I sighed, hoping that I would come home seeing a blue 2003 Mercedes Benz in the garage… the door not half open. But that wouldn’t be the fault of my obsessive compulsive mother, but of my little sisters dads mild O.C.D. I swear I’m the only normal person in the family. As I turned into our cul-de-sac, and blue 2003 Mercedes Benz passed by me.
Sam. I thought angrily. He was leaving. Again.
I wasn’t going to come home to a dark house. A quite house. No, it was going to be a night of sitting at the bottom of the stairs, smoking cigarette after cigarette.
After parking outside the house on the street, I ambled up to the front door, not bothering to be quite. In fact, I let all my anger out on that door, slamming it letting sis and mum know I was home. I settled onto the bottom of the stairs and pulled out my pack from my pocket of my jeans. I sat there thinking about how I was supposed to deal with this. I couldn’t handle it much longer. I lit my cigarette and continued thinking about my family’s problems. Awhile later… I’m not sure exactly how long… I still hadn’t seen mum or sis. I took another drag of the smoke, and heard a roar of thunder in the distance. Fantastic. Just what we need.
***********************************
My bare feet began to hurt, with the stony driveway underneath them. But I didn’t care. I thought for a second that my heart had stopped beating. I was in too much pain.
I’m too late, he’s gone. He’s gone. He’s Gone.
I felt a sudden urge to cry. But held it in, and quickly scampered back to the back yard. In no hurry, I walked with a normal but steady pace, but feet brushing against our too-long grass.
No need to rush now. I thought sadly.
As I began to climb the old maple tree in our backyard, the rumble turned into rain, and the heavy flow of water began to pour. I reached the top of the tree soaked and exhausted .I sat down for a minute, to recollect my breath and thoughts. I began tapping the trunk of the tree to help me calm down. 3 times for Sam. 4 times for Jeff. 5 times for Emily, and 7 times for Rebecca. I felt a little better, and just as I was about to make the short leap from the tree to my roof. An electric flash caught my eye. I froze, not from pain, but fear.
What was that? I asked myself, knowing no answer would come.
But Mother Nature answered my question for me. I felt a creak, and our old maple tree began to fall.
With me in it, waiting for what would happen next.
***********************************
Swish…round….bubble… Swish…round….bubble I sang happily in my head. I always came up with new little mantras while watching the laundry being washed. I watched for a few more seconds when a loud crack brought me to attention. I stood up and looked out the window. The glass was cool on my forehead, and the rain pounding against the glass was almost an unbearable noise level. I couldn’t see anything different, so I moved into the Kitchen. I tip-toed up to the window in the kitchen, hoping Jeff wouldn’t realise where I was. I peeked out the window staring out onto our green lawn.
In the distance I could see a large mass…. An oak-like colour….and a small dark haired body.
I gasped.
Oh no, oh no… oh no no no no no!!!
My heart began to beat too fast. I opened the dishwasher I grabbed a wet pot, and shoved it in, immediately setting it for turbo dry. I glanced at the television, seeing a different but old episode of Days of Our Lives, seeing Arianna serve at Brady’s Pub. I hurried into the launder room, to continue the watch of the clothes, knowing nothing would alright with my heart beat this fast…
***********************************
I stretched, my back feeling a little cramped up. I exhaled the smoke, and scooted forward, attempting to get more comfortable. I closed my eyes and listened to the pounding of the rain on the roof, which has randomly started only moments ago. I stubbed my smoke into the ashtray beside my feet, and reached over and grabbed another smoke.
CRACK
I froze. What was that?? I staggered over to the window in the kitchen; I glanced to the right, noticing mum was looking through the laundry window
Well, at least her hearing isn’t totally messed up.
I cupped my hands around my eyes, in hopes I’d be able to see better. It was very dark, and the rain made it difficult to see through.
I widened my eyes when I saw the tree.
Rebecca!!
I dashed through the side door in the kitchen and ran over to Rebecca’s still body. Her arm was held in an awkward position, and her head was bent weirdly against a branch. I grabbed her hand, praying to feel warmth, but all I felt was her icy touch. Tears began to stream down my cheeks. She had no pulse, and from what I could tell, her brain stem was broken. That would have killed her instantly.
I grabbed my phone out of my pocket, calling the one person I thought I would never ask help from.
“Jeff?” A husky voice murmured.
“Sam? You need to come home.” I didn’t want to explain why. I hoped the urgency in my voice would speak for me.
Sam appeared to have understood.
“I’m on my way.”

**4 HOURS LATER**
My 2003 silver Honda was speeding along the road, heading to god knows where. I’d left my mum; I’d left my step-dad. I couldn’t handle it. I only stayed there for Rebecca, but obviously that wasn’t good enough. If you asked the doctor, they’d say she was killed from the impact of her head, the broken brain stem, and loss of blood. If you asked the priest, they’d say the storm was Gods way of taking her to heaven. If you’d ask mum, she’d blame Rebecca for being up in the tree during a storm. Sam would agree with her, but only to prevent argument . If you’d read Sam’s mind, you’d know that he blamed my mother, for not watching their daughter.
But if you asked me, as a witness to these families problems, not an expert in religious views or medical science, I’d say bulls**t to the storm, bulls**t to the brain stem, bulls**t it being Rebecca’s fault. This death may have physically killed her, but she’s been dead mentally and socially for a long time. It was the series of events that killed my little sister, and in that case, it’s only the members of which brought her to that tree in the first place, who are responsible for her death.
That’s what I’d say, Sam.





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