How Are You Better?

By , woodbridge, VA
I hummed to the Christmas song, “Misfits,” as I strolled along the sidewalk. A cold wind hit my face with revenge as I pulled up my hood.
“Look! It’s Scene!” A sneering voice echoed. I grimaced and slowed but didn’t stop.

“Hey! Scene! I’m talking to you!”
I felt something cold hit the back of my head, making me jerk forward slightly. I sighed, they’re throwing snowballs again.

Just ignore them Phil.
Another slush ball aimed at my legs, tripping me but I managed to keep my balance.
They, being the bullies, always followed me home and into my yard, but never into my house. They called me Scene, because well, it was obvious. I was scene, something not politically correct in the high school atmosphere. Especially mine, the private school. I’m there by scholarship, which automatically made me an outcast considering everyone else paid their way in. But since I’m scene…… it’s like everyone hates me, even the teachers.

I got home in a rush, opening and shutting the door quickly with them on my lawn, shouting obscene names.

“Oh, they came home with you again?” My little sister huffed, her hands curling into tiny fists. She marched to the door but I picked her up and cradled her towards the stairs.
“Hey Pete!” My drunken mother yelled out from the couch. “Could you get me another beer?”
I shook my head, “No.”
“He’s not Pete!” Maya cried at our mom. “He’s Philip!”
“Who cares?” Came from my mom.
“Don’t answer her,” I urged Maya as she buried her face into my shoulder, climbing the stairs. I walked carefully to my room, which was plain but had everything I needed. Not that I needed a lot.
I dumped Maya on the bed and sat on the edge, checking her for any bruises.

“Did mom hit you today?” I asked. Maya teared up but shook her head no.
“Today was a good day, she just slept on the couch,” she mumbled, rubbing her watery eyes. I smiled at her, hugging her tight.
“Shh, it’ll get better, in a week I’ll be eighteen and I’ll be able to take you away, put you in fourth grade like you want and we can live off dads money he left us.”

Our dad died when Maya was two. He was murdered, a hostage in a bank robbery. It was hard on everyone, especially my mom, who started drinking and even hit Maya and me a couple times in a rage. I took the brute of the pain but she got her hands on Maya when I went to school. Through the rest of middle school, I had to bring Maya to school and hide her in my backpack, since she was small enough. We didn’t tell anyone about our life, Maya never went to school, so I taught her everything, how to walk, to talk and even how to go to the bathroom. We were scared, becoming outcasts in our own lives.

I tossed a ball in the air, catching it. Maya watched me silently, her eyes following the ball.

“Can’t we run away?” She suddenly spoke, her voice small. One good thing about Maya being homeschooled by me was that she was smarter than most fourth graders, already knowing basic algebra.

I stayed silent, not answering her innocent question.



I ran home, a feeling in my gut that something was wrong. I didn’t slow even when I heard the bullies behind me.
I got home and my stomach clenched when I saw the front door opened and heard screaming from inside.

“Maya!” I yelled, sprinting through the doorway.

“MAYA!” I panicked, jumping up the stairs, three at a time. The screams were high pitched and came from my mom’s room. I reached the door and suddenly the creams stopped abruptly. I burst into the room to see my mom gripping my sister by the throat as she struggled. I didn’t think as I rammed into my mom, making her let go of Maya. I pinned my mom down and punched her in the face, rage streaming through me. Her nose bled profusely and she was knocked out.

“Phil!” Maya coughed, trying to crawl over to me. I stared down at my mom bloody, unconscious face. I was breathing heavily, fists still clenched.
Get up Phil, help your sister.
I removed myself and got up, glancing at Maya. Her eyes were swollen and her arm was bent at the wrong angle. She was bleeding and bruised.

“Shh, Maya,” I coaxed, picking her up gingerly. “Maya, it’s over, we’re leaving.”

“It hurts to cry Phil,” she admitted, leaning into me. Tears built in my eyes as I walked out of my mom’s room.
“I’m sorry Maya, I’m sorry I left you like that, I won’t do it again,” I promised, kissing her head. A tear fell from my eye, landing on the carpet of the living room. I saw them, the bullies, standing on the lawn. But this time, they didn’t have mean looks on their faces, they looked guilty and sad. I stepped down the porch stairs and stared at them with hard, watery eyes.

“Stop…,” Maya started. “Stop hurting my brother…”
“Shush Maya,” I ordered softly, pushing past them, going toward the hospital three blocks away.

“We, we didn’t know!” They called.

I stopped and turned around.
“And how does bullying me make you any better than my mom?” I whispered, turning away and continuing walking.


THE END (?)





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