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It was fall. Most of the leaves had fallen and were strewn across the lawn. My younger brother was outside raking the leaves. As he was raking, the butt of the rake accidentally knocked his glasses of his face. He came into the house, frustrated and panicking that he couldn’t find them. My second oldest brother went off on him, yelling at him for losing them in the plethora of leaves outside. This only enraged my younger brother more; their screams carried throughout the house.
Against my better judgment, I ventured downstairs as the high-pitched anger died down. I found my younger brother in a frustrated, crying heap at his desk. I went over to him and asked him what happened. In a mess of sobs and rage he told me how he lost his glasses. I changed and put my sneakers on and together we went back outside in search of his glasses. We moved branches around and destroyed the neatly placed piles of leaves in hopes of discovering the lost glasses. After searching for a good hour and coming up empty-handed, we decided to back in the house tend to the many scrapes acquired and then try one last time before it gets too dark.
When Mom saw us come inside and my brothers look of utter defeat, she asked what was going on. I tried explaining it in the calmest way as possible, but even I was a little frustrated by the fact that we couldn’t find it. Upon hearing about the glasses, Mom blew up on us. Not the reaction I was expecting at all.
“Those are $300 glasses, what do you mean you lost them?” She exploded, “how could you have lost them?”. She looked at my brother, who was quietly simmering next to me. I could tell he was trying to hold back tears, “being frustrated isn’t going to help find them”. This is when I decided to defend my little brother, huge mistake.
“Then I’ll pay for them,” I piped up not even thinking about logistics or consequences of my words.
“What?” Mom asked pointedly, turning her boiling rage at me.
“I’ll pay for them if we can’t find them,” Little naïve me thought that this was a good plan. Take the burden off my mother and stop the argument before it got any worse.
“Say that again, with less of an attitude. You think that’s all it takes don’t you? Just throw money around and that will solve all the problems,” she responded vehemently, a complete 180 to how I thought she was going to respond.
“No, but I don’t see any other solution at the moment. You’re ranting and he still doesn’t have his glasses,” I say looking down at the floor.
“Well that’s not it. I’m so glad you all are so cavalier about this,” and before I could say anything more she walked out of the room. A lump began to form in my throat, the back of my started stinging. The stubborn anger rose in me as I threw back on my sneakers and went back outside to look for the glasses once again. The wind had picked up and was blowing leaves all over the place. The sun was also going down making it much harder to distinguish what was leaf and what wasn’t. Searching ferociously, I was determined to find the glasses and prove Mom wrong. No one was going to be spending money on these glasses. I was so intent in my search that I didn’t realize my younger brother had come out to help find his glasses.
He eventually found them underneath a tree branch in the front yard. I was overjoyed, now Mom wouldn’t have to be angry anymore. I hugged my younger brother and went inside to tell Mom of the good news. My younger brother announced that we had found them and she inquired where we had found them.
“He found them underneath a tree branch in the leaves,” I answered.
“The ones you raked?”
“Does it matter, we found them,” wrong answer to that question.
“It doesn’t what matter is your attitude,” she spat. The lump in my throat was coming back, I knew where this was heading and I really didn’t like it.
“What attitude?” I ask apprehensively. I couldn’t help myself, it was like a routine. That this happened so often, I just spewed out the response instinctively.
“Your cavalier attitude about everything. I can’t wait until you grow up and you have problems just like me, then you will see what I’m talking about.”
“Why do you always say things like that,” I say, my voice rising. Hot tears began to stream down my face. I knew what was coming next.
“What do you want me to do? I am so happy I have high blood pressure, I can’t wait until I have a heart attack or kidney failure or something that will put me out of my misery,” she cried. I looked at her through wet eyes; she looked back with zero sympathy. She carried a look of anger and disappointment, as if it were my fault this argument ensued.
“Stop saying that,” I reply in desperation. There was no going back now, I had to ride her rage out.
“Why? It’s true,” she retorted.
“It makes us feel like you don’t want us, like you don’t want to be here anymore. Like you don’t care for us anymore,” I yelled back, the same automated response given when any of us had this fight with her. Even though I have had this argument with her multiple times before, I still couldn’t keep my emotions in check. I could not be calm, my anger filled my entire body and came out in ugly, hot tears down my face.
“I don’t want to be here. You think I’d want to live in a house where no one cares for me. Where I ask a simple thing and no one will do it? I know that you don’t, so don’t ever say that you do. You are all the same, as long as you’re happy it doesn’t matter about me. It’s never about me, oh no! It’s always about you. Do you see this house, it’s full of s***, not my s***….everyone else’s s***. Do you see the garage? Every year me and your brother clean and every year it gets filled with someone’s crap. Look at the basement, that’s not my s***. Look over here; this is all your fathers s*** that he dumps here. And you want me to say I don’t want to die?” She began storming through the house pointing out every mess, every disapproval she had about the upkeep of the house and the way we treated it.
I just stared at her as she stormed through the house. So I’m worthless is that it. All I do is cause you misery huh? Then maybe it won’t so bad if you were gone. Or maybe I should leave since I can’t seem to do anything right at all. Apparently all I do is cause you grief and pain, so why stay here. These thoughts were racing through my mind as I watched Mom go into an angered silence. She said no more words, but you knew that she was pissed. I sat in the kitchen shaking.
Eventually, Mom came over to me and wrapped me in her arms. She told me in a hoarse whisper that she was sorry for taking out her anger on me, but that was how she truly felt. I couldn’t look at her, I didn’t want to, so instead I stared ahead of me with blurred, teary vision. When Mom realized that what she was doing was not helping, she got up and left leaving me in my shaking, wet state. I got up and went into my room where I had the privacy to cry out loud.
I cried. I cried and shook, and cried. I cried and screamed that Mom was the one in the wrong. I cried that Mom was stupid for not listening to a word I said. I yelled that I hated Mom and that I would be glad that she died. But this all deteriorated into a self loathe. I began to scream and cry that it was my entire fault. That it was my fault that Mom was in that state of mind. That if I hadn’t said what I had said, in the way I said it, this entire fight could have been avoided. I screamed and cried that I was a bad person, who doesn’t deserve any apology at all.
I screamed and cried till I was red in the face and sore in the throat. I curled in a ball and stared into the darkness thinking was, in fact, my fault. Mine, not my younger brother’s, not Mom’s—mine.