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I used to love the color brown. Brown was the color of the desks at school, the soil in the garden, the brownies my mother made on Sundays. Best of all, brown was the color of my mother’s eyes. Out of five siblings, I was the only one with those eyes. My mom and I were the brown-eyed pair in our family. Until last week.
The raindrops streak down the window like the tears running down everyone’s cheeks. I haven’t changed my black dress, and I don’t think I will for hours. My three older brothers left after the funeral. They apparently needed to study for finals. That’s odd considering they don’t have finals until next month. My dad has locked himself in his room, probably drinking again.
I don’t care anymore. They could leave this country for all I care. I’ve spent the last two hours staring at Mom’s high school photo. She’s a doppelgänger of myself. I touch her face, thinking about how her face felt when there was blood rushing beneath it: smooth and soft, almost like a baby’s. Her hands were the opposite: rough and dry from all those years of holding the paintbrush. She painted ninety-five paintings in her life, not counting the half-finished artwork sitting on her easel. When I was younger, I would always ask her for “help” on my art projects. After years of repeatedly sitting with me for hours, my mom stopped helping me, and I leaned how to do the project myself.
She used to always say something before dinner. “Don’t drop the fork”...wait no... “don’t drop the spoon.” I can’t remember! I start to panic, thinking about those nights at dinner. She would stand up and say it....Dad would be eating...I would be watching her....
“Kristi?” my younger brother Jimmy says. I look up to see him holding something. Mom’s unfinished painting! Except it’s no longer unfinished. Streaks of crayon markings stain the canvas. The landscape is now a mixture of clashing colors on a canvas.
“You...you ruined it,” I stutter.
“I was just coloring it. Mom didn’t finish it, so I thought---”
“You ruined it! Get out!” I’m suddenly screaming. “You little monster! Just GET OUT!”
He hurries out of the room. I can hear his sobs from the hallway. Then I’m on the floor and crying my eyes out. Tears flow over my face: tears for Mom, for myself, for the painting, and for Jimmy. Why couldn’t Mom be here? She was always the one who comforted me, the one who calmed me down...and Jimmy as well.
I stop sniffling and stare at Mom’s photo. She wouldn’t have been angry if Jimmy wrecked her painting. She would’ve laughed about it for hours.
I knock on Jimmy’s door and enter. “Jimmy, I’m sorry.” He glares at me with red eyes. I can’t blame him.
“Jimmy, do you want to help me make brownies?”
He still glares. “Fine, I guess I’ll have to make them myself.”
I start gathering ingredients in the kitchen: brownie mix, eggs, water. I pour the mix in and crack the first egg. Then I hear a sudden SPLAT!
Turning around, I see Jimmy with yellow goo running over his feet. “Oops,” he says. “Kristi, I’m sorry.”
I start to laugh. I can’t help it. Tears fall out of my eyes, and I put my arms around my brother. He starts to laugh as well, and we’re hugging each other tightly.
Afterwards, we put the brownies in the oven, and they come out well. Not as sweet as Mom’s.
But sweet enough to make me and Jimmy smile.