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I stare at my family portrait in the front hallway. We looked so happy back then—Bethany wasn’t sleeping around with guys three years older than her, Caleb wasn’t in rehab, and my parents weren’t fighting. I can barely remember that time, but I wish it was still happy. Now, I’m walking towards the den where Dad is watching T.V. Mom is back in the kitchen with Bethany, yelling at her about her “life choices”. The yelling has become a regular occurrence and it is almost always Mom and Bethany or Dad and Mom.
I sigh as I take a seat on the other end of the couch. My dad barely gives me a nod of acknowledgement because he is so engrossed in his T.V. show. When the portrait was made six years ago, he was always involved, now we are lucky if we get a nod from him. I “hmm” at him and see what he’s watching. It’s some show on SPEED about gears or something.
“BETHANY JANE DAYTON! YOU WILL NOT GO OUT WITH THIS BOY!” Mom yells. A pot drops to the floor and I cringe. I can see Dad roll his eyes as he flips the channel and pretend nothing is happening three rooms over. “BESIDES, LILLY IS IN THE SAME GRADE AS HIM AND SHE SAYS HE IS A BAD BOY!”
Thanks for bringing me in, Mom.
“MOM! LILLY IS A DUD! SHE HAS NO FRIENDS AND DOESN’T DO ANYTHING, WHAT DOES SHE KNOW?” Really? I’m the dud? I’m not the one who sleeps around with guys in her sister’s grade. I swear, for Christmas, I’m getting her birth control and condoms to last her a lifetime or until she gets married.
I sigh and stand up. Dad looks at me and I can tell he is holding back a snicker because his sister didn’t just call him a dud that doesn’t do anything, therefore he knows nothing. I walk upstairs to my room, hoping some music could help me calm down. This house is driving me crazy.
My brother Caleb has been in rehab for about three months now and I miss him. Until he turned to drugs, we were the sane ones in the house and we would vent to each other. I pass by door, which has been closed since he left, and smell the familiar smell of pot seeping through the bottom crack in the door.
Thinking it’s better not to knock, I open the door and quickly dive into his room. And sure enough, my nineteen-year-old brother, Caleb, is sitting on his bed, smoking a joint and thoroughly enjoying himself, like he was happy to be back in this place.
“Baby sister, I can hear the yelling,” He says, chuckling lightly. He’s high, of course he can’t take any of this seriously. “It seems as though things are just the same as when I left.”
“I missed you! It’s been heck here,” I tell him, taking a seat next to him. His room is totally disgusting and covered with resin, but it feels more like home than the rest of this house.
Caleb breathes out a puff of smokes at smiles a Caleb smile, “That rehab was worse—no weed, no drugs.”
“Uh, Caleb, that’s the point of rehab,” I laugh quietly. I didn’t want anyone to know he was back yet.
“Whatever, how’s Bethany?” He asks me.
As if on cue, Mom yells, “BETHANY. BI-CURIOUS ISN’T A GOOD THING. NOT EVERY KID IS BI-CURIOUS NOWADAYS!”
I had to laugh. That was absolutely perfect and a little disturbing, but it was still a good laugh. Caleb chuckles too. He and Bethany never really got along in the first place, so he loves it when she gets in trouble, even if he’s not supposed to know about it.
“Lilly? Are you up here?” Mom climbs up the stairs.
Caleb hides in his closet and I duck out the door and into the hallway, attempting to seem nonchalant about standing in the hallway and probably smelling of weed.
“Lilly? Why do you smell funny?” She asks me.
“Um…I was looking for a movie in Caleb’s room,” I reply. Yeah that might appease her until I can come up with something later.
She eyes me like she does Bethany after she gets back from a “date” with Donny Sullivan. Then nods slowly, remembering that I am technically the golden child at this point, “Okay.”
She isn’t convinced but as long as she was off my back, I was fine with it.
Mom heads back downstairs, leaving me alone in the hallway. I duck back into Caleb’s room. “Okay, how long are you—” I start, then I notice the drape flapping in the window, signaling he already left me.
My heart breaks a little bit.
I was finally slightly freed from this own personal Hell of mine, and he just leaves me to handle this alone.
Something snaps inside me. Suddenly I see myself falling into a dark abyss. There is nothing to grab onto and I can’t see the end of this abyss. It was almost like I was looking at my life. And I was starting to spin out of control. It has been this way for a while, I cannot lie, but I guess I was hoping that things would just go back to normal and that maybe I wouldn’t be miserable anymore.
I just wanted my family back, and when Caleb came back I thought things were going to be fine. Then he left. I should have given up a while ago. I know it.
I reached for the scissors on Caleb’s night stand. I’m through with this crap.