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I woke up to the sound of my alarm clock buzzing. Vibrating the whole night table, I slapped the cold metallic buzzer to make the horrible sound stop. The room became quiet and my eyesight was blurry. The posters of half naked women in their bikinis looked like tan mosaics.I rubbed my eyes and the light from my windows created great discomfort. I pushed the covers from my legs, exposing my skin to the cold thirty degree morning air. My hairs stood up as goosebumps ran through my body like a disease. The cold floor seeped through my socks as I stepped onto the wooden floor. My eyes peered to the mirror to my right and A dark skin and brown eyed boy staring back at me. I rubbed my cheeks and felt the pimples and said to myself, “That is what happens when you are 16.”
I walked to my door with a new challange, the door handle. Not wanting my hand to get cold, I sacrificed a tissue lying on the floor near the trashcan.
The apartment I lived in has never had the pleasure to smell like a home cooked meal. The overwhelming smell of cigarettes flooded the air leaving a horrid odor behind. My stomach started to growl as I slowly strolled into the kitchen to fixed myself some breakfast. Unfortunately, the fridge was almost empty. Some over ripe peaches and a half dozen eggs waited patiently to be eaten. I gazed to my left, but the couch was blocking the view of the tv. I saw the top of my mother’s bleached blond hair as smoke rose from the the couch finally reaching the ceiling and lingered. Suddenly her hand flew up and the rattling of her many bracelets hitting each other echoed through my ears and between her fingers was a half used cigarette with the ashes still attached.
I said, “ Mom, why do you have smoke in the house?’’
She lifted her head and stared over the couch looking into my eyes and said, “Blake, you know damn well that I get to do whatever I want in this apartment.”
I said, “But it’s bad for Jordan. You know. Him being here all day. It must hurt him.”
Mom replied, ignoring my comment, “You know what time it is? Go do your chore.”
I headed back down the hall. The door bolt was locked in place. Jordan wasn’t allowed out of his room at night. Mom was to afraid he’d would run away. I unlatched the door and peeked my head through the a crack in the door. A warm burst of air hit my face. He was the reason why my room had no heat. Jordan liked the heat. It kept him calm. I saw Jordan in the corner scratching the floor with his nails. Always in the same spot, over and over. I walked in and closed the door behind me.
“Jordan, are you ok?”, I asked him in a calm, low voice.
The pill bottle rattled in my hand with every step I took toward him. Once he heard the bottle, he ran towards the door shaking the handle with all of his might. He acted like this every time. I had to give him his meds. Mom says that they make him calm, but all they do is make him tired. I wrapped my arms around him. He struggled. We fought to his bed until I started to stroke his black, curly hair. He had a sweet spot on his head that made him calm down. I pushed the pills in his mouth making sure that he didn't bite me. Tears streamed down both of our faces. When I let him go, he darted back to his corner moaning and screaming.
I left the room, leaving the door unlocked behind me, knowing that eventually he would come out and watch tv with mom. I went back into my room and got ready for school. I took the bus as I do every school day and twenty minutes later I was at Bronx Regional High School.
School was ok. Fights happened often. The blood stained hallways encouraged and reminded me to get out of New York. I wanted to be my own man and help Jordan by making sure his future isn't filled with force fed pills. These thoughts and plans kept me going. I wanted a better future for Jordan and I.
Five hours later, the last school bell rang telling everyone the academic day was over. I started the long trek home not wanting put up with the sounds, fights and craziness of the bus. Each step I took I thought, “More broken glass than cement.”
I saw the blue and red lights hitting the walls of my apartment complex. A sense of warning filled my brain and I ran towards the group of people huddled outside the apartment building. Pushing to the front of the crowd, I heard my Mom screaming. “WHERE IS MY BABY? OH MY BABY!” She was laying in the parking lot with tears falling down her face. I said under my breath, “Jordan.”
I dropped my bag and ran into the street. He got out! Where would he go? I looked to my left and heard the rattling noise of an air conditioning unit struggling to keep up with the heat. He hated rattling noises sounds so I knew he would never venture that way. In fact he would probably go the opposite direction. I dashed to my right and almost lost my sense of knowing where I was. I ran up and down allies one after another, yelling for Jordan. I hoped he would recognize my voice and yell back or come toward me. As time passed, horrible ideas were forming in my head of what could have happened to my brother. Night was falling and the street lights flicked on.
I ran into one more ally and saw a shadow. I heard a faint scratching that made me stop in my tracts. Crouched down among the trash and filth of the city was Jordan scratching the paint off a trash can.