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Author's note: I always have story beginnings running through my mind, and i ran with this one! Please give feedback! It will help me to keep writing and to improve. Also leave a comment and i will gladly see your work and try to comment and rate as well. Thank you!
Let the daily yelling begin. Tonight’s argument is voiced by: Mom vs. Dad of the Derby family. I feel like there should be a guy in a black and white striped shirt and a bell like the ones that are used in the actual wrestling matches. After that all I would need is a wrestling rink. Geez, they’re really going at it tonight. What’s the topic now? Is it blaming someone bad grades? Maybe it’s Lacy and about how if they don’t stop pushing her so hard she’s going to quit whatever club she’s in. Whatever it is, I really don’t care because I won’t be here to listen to the sound waves that travel through the hall.
I started leaving the house during the arguments about a year ago. The first day I left I didn’t exactly know where to go once I got out the back door. So what I decided to do was go to the place where everyone else went at midnight: The Lake. My old ford truck I’ve been fixing up was sitting in the driveway and I hopped in and started the engine.
On my way to the lake I stopped by the local Grab-&-Road to get some snacks. I figured I’d be out late tonight. My parents would never know I was gone because they’d be too busy arguing and once they quit they’d be too tired from arguing and fall asleep as soon as their heads hit either a couch or bedroom pillow. I was hungry anyway because mom and dad were arguing over whether to have roast beef or pasta. So, go figure, dinner never got made. My eyes scanned the varieties of chips and candies. I ended up grabbing a half of a ready made ham and cheese sandwich and Cheetos with a Pepsi to drink.
I drove with my eyes on the road and the only sound was the tires hitting the pavement and the engine humming. After driving past most of the crowds of frat boys and girls, drunkards, or both, I found a medium sized area that seemed surprisingly undisturbed. My Nikes hit the sand and I took a look around. This area was surrounded by trees and brush I noticed how my truck accidently got through on a road that most people never go on. No wonder this place was so hidden, the trees were like a wall of privacy. Another thing I noticed about the area I now called mine was that it was on a cliff and when near the edge you could see the entire lake almost. I plopped myself down on the sand and took in the long tan grass and evergreen colored trees that were vaguely lighted by the moon. This place was simply amazing.
I enjoyed the quiet time I got at the river that I couldn’t get at home. It was very peaceful and the only loud noise I got was from some dirt bikers fishtailing on the trail or the occasional party that was near. Using the much needed time to think, I realized how depressed I was and how I’ve been this way since mom and dad started arguing. After a while of the non-stop yelling the sadness never really went away. I was sad for a lot of things like, mom and dad fighting, Lacy, and how lacy had to deal with the arguing so young.
Lacy is my little sister. She’s almost 16 in a few weeks and I’m two years older than her. The arguments started when she was about twelve and at first they were just little money arguments. Lacy was a deep sleeper, so the arguments didn’t wake her up or bother her. As time went on, however, mom and dad’s arguments became louder, longer, and in need of a bell and a wrestling rink. The arguments started waking little Lace up and affecting her so she started coming into my room at night to play video games with me. Later on, Lacy was able to stay up like me and still go through a week of school before crashing for the entire day on Saturdays. Our sleep schedules were basically synced together. One of the reasons I came out without Lacy tonight was because she was able to get some sleep tonight unlike me. Since the arguing started Lacy and I became really close, we had the brother-sister bond most siblings didn’t have. It felt weird leaving her out of something like this, but I promised myself I’d bring her to my new spot next time. I figure she’d like it just as much as I do.
Surprising…I guess the yelling has started early tonight. Yelling yelling yelling. I hate it. My parents started arguing when I was about twelve. The only thing that helped me through was my brother Jake. He helped me to deal with it or at least have someone who dealt with the same thing. At first yelling never bugged me. I could sleep all night every night and not here them argue. But as time went on, their arguments got louder, and thedidnt’t care as much about how long they got, who they’d affect, or whose sleep schedule they’d mess up. Now, even if a teacher yells at a student for not bringing their homework, I get upset. Simply put, I hate yelling, arguing, or fighting.
I roll out of my bed and place a few pillows under the sheets so it looks like a person. I do it as a precaution even though both my brother and I know very well, we’re not going to get caught. Our parents are to busy fighting over some stupid topic. I wonder what it is tonight. My interest in animal science is taking away from my tennis? Maybe it’s something about Jakes grades? Oh well. Soon I’m not going to be here to listen.
I’ve learned the art of being quiet. My mind is encrypted with which floorboards creak, how to open my closet without it making a banging sound, and how to come back into house and back to my room without anyone knowing I left my bed. I shuffle into a pair of cargo green Capri’s and a black long-sleeve with my pink sweatshirt to wear over it. Before leaving my room I find my over the shoulder purple bag and stuff a book and my keys. I grab my flip flops in my hands and tiptoe barefooted to Jake’s room and tap on his door. He opens and see’s that it’s me then reached over for his wallet and keys and we both slip out the back door.
Jake has a tradition of always stopping at Grab-&-Road to get a snack before we head to our special spot by the river. I grab a strawberry slushy, fruity Jolly Ranchers, and a double chocolate chip muffin. Jake looks at me and my sugar packed goods.
“Feeling sweet today, sugar.” He comments sarcastically and turns his gaze back to the isle to grab a bag of sour cream and onion Lays, a Dr. Pepper, and some starburst. He also grabs a sandwich from the deli for us to share.
“Hello there Lacy,” The voice belongs to Madge, a middle aged woman with graying hair who works the graveyard shift most nights. Jake and I go here so much it seems Madge knows everything about us, from our favorite snacks, to our birthdays. “How are you dear?”
“I’m great Miss Madge. Like my choice in sweets today?” I ask
“Of course I do. Nothing goes better with a cool night than a chocolate chip muffin!” She gives me a toothy smile and I return it then wait until she’s done ringing up our items.
“Thanks Madge. I’ll see you soon.” I say with a smile as I walk out the door.
Even though we’ve only been inside for about ten minutes, the truck has become chilly inside. Jake starts the engine and cranks up the heater before heading on the road to the lake. The dark trees are slightly brightened by moonlight and the only sound you hear is the hum of the truck and the tires hitting pebbles on the road. I like the river of course, but I love the scenery. Yellow stripes blur into one line, the moon follows the car like we tied a rope around it and tied it to our tailgate, and the trees house various creatures that you can hear if you ride with the windows down. I love the river, the scenery, and my brother. I even love late nights at the darn Grab-&-Road. I have no clue what I would have done these past couple of years without these things that have become necessities to me.
Usually I tell Lay everything, but I’ve never told her about that never ending sadness I face. I have to tell Lace about my depression. She deserved to know right? Of course she does. In fact, she’s the only one who would ever understand. I know if I talked to my parents 4 things would happen. 1) twouldd fight over why I was depressed 2) twoulddn’t help me with my depression because they’d be too busy fighting about it, which would make me more depressed and 3) they’d send me to a shrink, like some guy can have me lay on a couch and think he can get into my brain and get to know me. 4) They might keep lacy away from me or send me away and I wouldn’t be able to see her. That would just make me crazy and I could never deal with that. I could never leave Lacy here with those two. It would hurt her so bad. Not only does she need me, but I need her a lot more. She’s the main reason why I keep going and getting up everyday. She’s the only sister I have.
“Jake, Hello? Are you okay bro?” Asks Lacy pulling me out of my thoughts I almost forgot I was still driving to the lake.
“What? Oh yeah I’m fine I promise.” I assure her. But I’m not fine. How am I going to tell her? Will she be upset? Because that’s the last thing I want.
Finally, the roads lead to dirt paths you can turn to and in no time at all, we are in our little undisturbed spot. Still a little confused, I sit on a bench Lacy and I had built together and brought out here. It’s a cute wooden bench with a few cushions, and it’s surprisingly comfy for wood. The pale grass seems like a gray under the night sky and the river is completely still. I continue to think about telling Lace. I have to tell her. There’s no easy way, but it needs to be done.
Have you ever broken your mom’s favorite vase or dropped `your dad’s Ralph Lauren watch down the toilet. You’re freaking out because there’s no one to blame it on, not even the dog because he’s at the groomers. You know that you’ve got to face the music and you have that dreading feeling. Well imagine that, times the height of the freaking empire state building. I feel so nervous and shaky but I know that I have to tell Lacy, I can’t go without telling her.
“Lacy, there’s something I have to tell you.” I start
“Look Lace, there’s not really easy way to say this. But I mean, you have a right to know. I know I can always trust you and I know that whatever I say to you, you’ll understand.”
“Yeah…” she replies. I can tell by the confusion on her face that I need to get to the point.
“Lacy, I’m depressed. I’ve been depressed for a long time, but I’ve just been in a slump for a while and have been more depressed than usual. It’s starting to get to me. I just really wanted you to know because we tell eachother everything so….” I let my sentence trail off.
“Depressed? Jake you can get help, there are people who can make you happy. I swear Jake I’ll help you but I can’t see you sad. ” Her voice was sad, but despite that, I knew I couldn’t get help for the reasons I listed before.
“Lacy, no. I cannot get help.” I tell her in a calm voice
“Yes you can! You can talk to mom and dad?” She says
“No Lacy, that would make them argue more.”
“A therapist?” All I had to do was give her a look and she was on to the next question. Lacy hates therapists as much as me.
“Maybe a program Jake. Come on, if they have programs for people on drugs they have to have one for depression.” Her voice was pleading and I know she was thinking of every possibility to fix this. Lacy is that type of person, a person who hates seeing others hurt or upset, and will go out of her way to fix it or make it better.
“Lacy, No! Okay! They might send me to some camp or away and I wouldn’t see you again. I need you, you’re my sister!” I’m on the verge of tears and Lacy stops abruptly and just stares at the river. I know that it’s not Lacy’s fault, she just wants to help. I scoot over and wrap my arms around her, tears are streaming down her face. I release my embrace and stare at the river in front of me near what seems like a never-ending cliff. How can something so full of dirt be so serene? Why can’t I be that serene, and not so interrupted by emptiness.
“I’m sorry Lace. I didn’t mean to snap at you. I know it’s a lot to take in. But right now, there is no alternative. I can’t leave you okay?”
“I need you Jake. I always will” and she repeated those seven words as I rocked her back and forth quietly in my arms. Her head is leaning against my chest and tears are streaming down both our faces to be rolled into the serene river.
When we got home it was already about five am. The yelling had long stopped and Jake and I had just been driving around for a couple hours in silence. I figured I would start getting ready for school, even though it usually only took me 30 minutes and we left for school about 7:30. My feet shuffled to the bathroom and I turned the water on so it would be warm. My pink sweatshirt was marked with tear stains and smelled like Jake’s cologne. The thought of Jake being sad killed me, and there was nothing I could do. I mean yeah, I could do something, but it would hurt Jake more than help. When Jake doesn’t want help, he does NOT want help.
I usually think a lot when I’m in the shower, and this morning I kept thinking of me and Jake. I remember the first time he took me to his little spot. I was so happy because we finally had somewhere to go besides just driving in Jake’s truck for hours. Jake’s face was filled with hope when he first brought me there. I could tell he was a little nervous during the journey there. He later told me he was afraid I wasn’t going to like it, because if I didn’t, we’d be stuck to wasting gas all night. Jake did a lot to make me happy. When the arguing started getting to me, Jake really helped me out. He was always there for me, when nobody else was. I thought about this for a few minutes. I knew then that just as Jake was there for me, I have to be there for Jake, because no body else is. And because it’s Jake, he’s not going to let anybody in to help him anyways.
I stay in the shower for about an hour which is so much longer than I generally do. After I step out, I wrap the towel around me and wipe the steam off my mirror. I look in the mirror and wish I could understand what Jake was feeling, and maybe I could find another way to help him.
After school I decide to walk home. Schools only a few blocks away from home so what the heck. It’ll give me time to think. In about ten minutes I’m at my house and I walk in and placed my backpack by the door. I already know that Mom and Dad aren’t home, they’re at work but I figure that Jake will be home. I yell out his name a couple times. but no answer.
Since Jake’s not home I decide to go and take a shower and change into some sweats. My feet shuffle their way to the kitchen and I make some popcorn then turn on the television. I’m totally tuned into some singing marathon I don’t even notice the time until Dad walks in. Even then I don’t realize it until the door slams shut. I have no clue how I missed the sound of the garage door.
“Hey dad.” I say to greet him
“Hi sweetheart, Do you know where your brother is?”
“No.” I reply now curious. “Why?”
“The school called today.” I am definitely curious now because the school doesn’t call unless they’re leaving a recorded message explaining an upcoming event, or the principle calls. Usually, when the principle calls, that’s not good. And If dad’s asking for Jake, then it’s worse. I am definitely curious now.
“Oh about what? I know there’s this fundraiser coming up. Do you want to buy something from Jake, because I have a catalog in my bag you can look through and I’ll get Jake to give you an order form.” I say trying to find out information.
“No that’s not it Lacey but when it does start I would like to look at that Catalog. The school called to tell me Jake wasn’t at school today. “
“Oh, I could’ve sworn I saw him.” I say trying to think if I saw Jake at all today. I was pretty busy, so I Didn’t really pay any attention. Dad Left me with the last word on this subject. Dad went upstairs and came back down about twenty minutes later with different clothes on and his hand on the doorknob. I asked him where he was going and he said he and mom were going out to eat and to some gathering so they’d be a little late coming home. I glanced at the clock which said 8:00pm. Why wasn’t Jake home yet?
Once dad was out the door and out of the driveway I decide to try Jake’s cell a few times to see if he’ll be home anytime soon, but it rings and goes to voicemail. A robotic voice tells me to please leave a message after the beep and a few seconds later the high pitched tone comes, signaling that I can now record my message.
“Hey Jake, it’s Lace and I was just wondering when you’d be home. Anyway, just call me later bro.” Then I ended my message.
At about 8:30 I heard a knock at the door. I don’t think mom and Dad were expecting anyone and I wasn’t either so I figured Jake didn’t bring his keys or something. I move away from the television and go to answer the door. It was Jake, but to my surprise, it wasn’t just him.
I never wanted Lacey to see me like this. The look on her face was pure sadness with a mix of anger and confusion. The bright side was that I’m not in Jail. The downside is that Lacey is looking at me right now in handcuffs with Officer Keith Laneson beside me. Keith Laneson just graduated high school about five months ago and ever since junior year his dad, Deputy Laneson, had him training to be a cop.
“Good evening miss. Do you know this man?” Keith asked my sister. I almost laughed because she was looking at him like he was a poisonous spider and she was about to show him that her foot was boss.
“Yes I know him. He’s my brother. And you are?” she asked with a very noticeable edge to her voice.
“My name is Officer Keith Laneson. My partner and I caught your brother with a group of others drinking. Now, I’m going to give your brother a warning, as I did the others. But if I see this happening again, I will take him in.” Lacey looked like she was about to cry. I felt so bad for putting her in this position.
“I understand officer.” She said. I could tell she was trying very hard not to explode with anger at the cop and hurt at me. Officer Keith nodded and unlocked the handcuffs and bid us goodbye.
Lacey let me go past her and shut the door. She didn’t even say anything to me, instead she just went up the stairs and into her room. I followed her and knocked on the door trying to explain.
“Lacey, it was one drink!” She opens the door
“You ditched school too Jake. Get ready for a blown out argument because dad knows. The school called him. I’m not mad at you Jake I just really don’t like cops handcuffing my brother and threatening to take him downtown. Good thing mom and Dad aren’t here because you could not only be in trouble like you already are, you’d be that times flipping 500”
“I’m sorry Lacy, I didn’t mean to make you upset.” I say trying to calm her down a little.
“I know you don’t Jake but you know more than anybody how much I hate fighting. I mean I figured there was no reason for them to fight tonight because mom and dad were going out to dinner and to some gathering with friends. They’d either be happy or too tired to fight. But they have at least one reason now and I’m just glad it’s not two.” She went inside her room and I knew soon we’d be going to the lake so I walked down the hall to my room to shower.
I was so caught up in thoughts. I thought that beer would help me relax, but it didn’t. I just let the water run down me and after a while I just didn’t want to stand still anymore so I got out and got dressed. My mind was still racing so I found and took a couple sleeping pills that didn’t make me tired, but they usually relaxed me to an extent. I grabbed a coat and sat on my bed. Why do I keep doing this? I mean come on. I can’t sleep, I can’t relax. I’m in the middle of my thought process and get pulled out of it by the yelling of my parents about me and my grades. That was the last straw.
I couldn’t do this anymore, this life. I didn’t want to anymore. Who wants to live with parents who just make you feel worse than you already do and try to keep people happy. You can’t keep people happy, never, no matter how hard you try. I fee so bad for putting Lacy through this tonight. She’s right, if I wouldn’t have ditched dad wouldn’t have been called and we might have had a fight free night. It would’ve been so much worse if mom or dad would’ve been home when officer Laneson was here.
I thought about Lacey and thought maybe if I was gone somehow, that our parents would stop arguing. They’d have to because I’m not around so they’d be sad and they would lay off Lacy. And if they weren’t fighting Lacy would be happier. I could run away, but they would just argue more about where I had gone and Lacy would have to endure them. I realized I had to be gone for good.
I knew that if I was gone would hurt Lacy, especially if I was gone forever. But she’s such a strong girl, she will get through it. I know she would. I heard the tap on my door and opened it to see Lace in the same pink sweatshirt and some dark jeans. Her face was still sad and I hated to see her like that. I just looked at her and then grabbed my wallet and keys so we could leave.
The whole ride I was kind of nervous but it was just the sleeping pills mixed with a couple swallows of beer I guess. We customarily stopped at Grab-&-Go but
I couldn’t eat anything. I bought a Snickers bar just so Lacey wouldn’t ask questions. I was trying to figure out what I was going to say to Lacey. Once we pulled into our spot and got settled I started in.
“Lacey, I’m really tired.”
“Well let’s go home you’re probably about to crash.” She offered
“No Lacey that’s not what I mean. I mean I’m tired. Of life.” She sat next to me on the bench confused.
“You mean like Mom and Dad fighting, because I’m sure they’ll work it out it They usually do, I mean they always stop sometime right.” I could tell that there was concern setting in and her voice started to show it.
“No Lacey, they won’t.” I stood up and moved close to the edge of the cliff.
“Jake this is the depression talking, let’s go home.”
“Yes come on.” She said trying to reach for my hand.
“No Lacey!” My voice rose “They’re NOT going to work it out! They never will probably!”
She stopped and stood very still and I felt bad for yelling at her. I moved forward and hugged her tight . “I’m sorry for snapping at you Lacey. But I want you to remember something.” I whispered . She nodded in agreement and I continued. “No matter how hard things get, remember I will always love you. And I’m not doing this because I’m mad at you; never think that this is your fault. It’s for the best okay.” Tears were streaming down my face and I pulled away from her.
“Do what?” she asked. I looked at her and started crying harder.
“I Love you Lacey! I love you!” and the last thing I heard was her screaming my name.
“Jake!? JAKE, NO JAKE NO!” I screamed so loud when I heard him hit the water. I didn’t know what to do and I fell to the ground screaming before I finally realized I had to get help. I scrambled to my bag and dialed 911 with such shaking hands that I could hardly hit the buttons. Once it was dialing I was flying through the brush to get to Jake.
“911 what’s your emergency?” said a calm voice
“My brother! I need an ambulance at the river NOW! At the water under…. Under,” I trailed off looking for a mile marker that is marked on mountains and near the water. I spotted a bright yellow marker across the river. “Across from marker 63! My brother just jumped off the cliff!”
“An ambulance is on the way. Please stay on the phone.” I did as she said and kept the phone open but as soon as I got to the water I dropped it and swam toward Jake. I could already hear the sirens but they were still distant. I reached him and pulled him toward me. I started screaming his name in his face but he wasn’t responding. Tears ran down my face and I just held Jake and managed to stay afloat. Once the sirens started getting closer I slowly swam to the shore and by the time I did the ambulance was there and so were the cops who were first responders in our town, which means they are always the first to respond to a 911 call. A man and a women jumped out of the back of the ambulance, the woman had her long brown hair pulled back and the man was a bit bulky but still very fast. They put him on a stretcher and put him in the back of the ambulance.
They officers then start walking toward me and say they need to ask me questions in order to fill out a responder sheet. I recognize one of the officers, he’s about Jakes age and it suddenly comes to me. He’s the one who brought Jake home that night he was caught drinking. Jake called him Officer Laneson, and he talked about how his dad was training him to be a cop since high school. I looked back at the ambulance and they were shutting the back doors. I told them sorry but they’d have to find me at the hospital and that I was sure I’d be there a lot.
I didn’t wait for a reply from either officer; instead I ran back to Jake’s truck and picked up the keys from the front seat cup holder. Jake starting leaving his keys in the car after he’d lost them at the Lake and we spent hours looking for them. I almost couldn’t put they keys in the ignition because my hand were shaking so bad, I doubt I could drive but nobody could keep me from seeing my brother. Tears started to feel my eyes as I fumbled over and over with the keys. After trying several times I finally sat still. I saw someone comeing toward the truck and saw that it was officer Laneson again. He was jogging to the truck and he opened the drivers door.
“Scoot over” He says
“What?” I say, already confused as it is.
“We’re going to the hospital, but let me drive okay, you’re really shaken up.” I stared at him for a second and once I processed what he was saying I handed him the keys and moved to my official seat. Unlike me he easily put his keys in the ignition and started the truck up. I stared at the moon the entire way to the hospital because it seemed like It never left my sight, and even though it wasn’t as bright as the sun, it was bright enough to light the world up. Once we were at the hospital I was out of the truck before it stopped moving. I ran like I never had before, not even in tennis, and I run very hard there. Once I reached the entrance of the ER ward I searched to find the front desk and asked for Jake. I middle aged woman with brown wavy hair typed on her computer and kindly said the room number was 306. I was just about to run through the doors when I saw officer Laneson jogging to catch up. I decided to pause for a second to wait for him. Once he was through the doors he waved me to go back to see Jake and then I was off again searching for the room.
The halls were wide and there were so many rooms with wooden doors. Most of the doors were open and I saw elderly couples and Some teenager in a cast and another woman who was coughing quite loudly. I followed the signs in the hallway to finally reach Jakes room. Right when I reached it I saw the number 306 and I was suddenly very scared. I wasn’t sure I was ready to see Jake, but I knew I had to. I had to see my brother. My hands found the doorknob and slowly pushed the door open. There was a woman with long light red hair in a ponytail and green scrubs. Her back was toward me but she turned around when she heard the door open and asked politely who I was. My mouth didn’t want to open and my throat was not making any sound. After a few seconds my voice made out the words “I’m his sister, Lacy.”
My eyes fell away from the redhead and searched for Jake and I spotted him less than a second later. He was very pale and had a tube down his throat with wires on his chest and beeping machines beside the hospital bed. He also had a brace around his neck and back and bandages around his head. He looked so beat up and tears started rolling down my face. I moved toward him and just stared at him for a while when the redhead’s voice interrupted me again. “Would you like to sit down?” She offered and I nodded my head in response. She moved a wooden chair with a padded seat toward the bed and then left the room. I sat down and stared at Jake some more and ears started running down my face as I tried to think of a good reason why he wanted to do this. I was pulled from my thoughts once again as the red head walked back through the door with a box of Kleenex and a cup of water that she handed to me. She walked to the other side of Jakes bed and pulled the chart out again.
“My name is Dr. Haven. I have to say, It’s a miracle that he isn’t dead. Which gives us the chance that he can still live.” She said looking up and smiling
“Lacy.” I said not taking my eyes off of Jake.
“Lacy, your brother Jake is unconscious and we are going to put him in a type of coma to help his system to calm down. He should be awake in a few days and tomorrow we will do a scan to see if he has any trauma in his brain. If you need anything the nurses and I would be glad to help you. Do you have any questions?”
“Um what’s a CT scan?” I ask. My eyes suddenly dart up.
“A CT scan is a medical imaging procedure of the head. We would lay your brother down and have him go through a tunnel. We use CT scans to look at the head and brain to make sure there is no hemorrhaging or bone trauma.”
“Okay.” I say and look back at Jake
“I’ll be Jakes doctor and if you need anything at all just press the button here or use the phone to call the desk. A nurse or I will be in to help.” I nod and she leaves the room with the door closing behind her.
I wake up with my head on the edge of the hospital bed. I look around and see Jake with the tubes down his throat and the braces on his body. I quickly sit up in the chair I’m in, surprised that I fell asleep. There’s a clock on the edge of Jakes bed that says it’s 6:15am. I’m clueless about how I fell asleep but It was only for about four hours. That should keep me going for a few days. I decide to get something to snack on so I quietly stand up and go out the door.
I need to go back to the truck so I can get some money for cafeteria food. I go back through the doors to the lobby of the hospital and see officer Laneson asleep in a chair. I couldn’t believe he was still here. I go over and gently put a hand on his shoulder.
“Officer Laneson.” I whisper a couple of times before he finally wakes up. He blinks a few times then looks at me.
“Hi.” He answers
“Hello. Officer Laneson it’s 6 in the morning. Have you been here all night?”
“I think so” he replies “How’s your brother doing?”
“Well they put him in a state to where his systems can calm down and they should be doing a CT scan today. I’m just about to get my bag from the truck and get some breakfast, want to come?”
“Sure, a little coffee could do me good.” He smiles and gets up from the chair then stretches. I start to the doors and he falls in step behind me.
Once back inside we head toward the cafeteria with the directions the same lady at the desk gave me. It’s not very full since it’s pretty early in the morning, but there is a few people sitting around. I head toward coffee and get myself and officer Laneson a cup. I look at the options of breakfast and grab a bowl of Jell-O. I don’t always eat in the morning so I’m not very hungry. We get to the checkout and then find a seat by the windows.
“Thank you for driving me last night Officer Laneson, I probably would’ve gotten in a wreck if you hadn’t helped me.” I take a drink of my coffee
“You’re very welcome. I remember your brother in school. He was an awesome guy, really nice and good at football. And call me Keith.”
“He is an amazing guy, and an even better brother.” I say as I look out the window. There are several cars on the streets this morning despite it being so early. “I’m Lacy by the way.”
“So how long have you been a cop?” Lacy asks me
“Since about 2 months ago.” I laugh “My dad is a cop and he had the dream of his son following in his footsteps. So I didn’t want to let him down and became a cop straight out of high school.”
“You’re pretty young to be a cop. I bet people don’t take you seriously all the time.”
“It’s like you know me already.” I smile and she returns it. I glance at my watch and it’s about 6:40. “Well I better get back to the station, I have early shift today. Would It be okay if I came Back later today?”
Lacy smiled and said that would be fine and I started walking away. I remember that I brought Lacy so I don’t have my car. Lacy seemed to remember the same time because she called me to come back. I turned around and she walked toward me, handing me her brother’s keys.
“Thanks Lacy, I’ll make sure nothing happens to it.”
“I trust you know how to drive it, or else I wouldn’t let you.” She smiled again and I walked out the doors.
It only took me about 15 minutes to get to the station so I was early for my seven o’clock shift. I like being a cop, but if I had a redo, this probably wouldn’t have been my choice career. My mom died when I was a freshman in high school, my dad was devastated. After a while he tried to get me involved in sports and activities and I felt like I had to make him proud and not let him down in whatever I was doing. I felt like If I did he’d be just as disappointed. So, as a lot of fathers do, he wanted me to follow in his footsteps and he started training me to be a cop
My dad was also best friends with the boss. He knew how to get me the job, what questions would be asked in the interview, and how to train me. So he helped me to get the job. But the disadvantage of that is that everybody either thinks you’re an idiot or a suck up. You can’t work to little hours because you’re lazy and people think that because your dad got you the job you don’t have to work. Even then you can’t work too many hours because your being a show off and trying to be the pet. I know you can’t please everyone, but I can’t seem to quit trying.
After Keith left I decided to walk around. I didn’t want to go back to face Jake again, not yet. Plus Mom and Dad will be here soon so Jake won’t be alone, even though he can’t tell. I think in about an hour they’re going to do that CT scan. I decide to get some hot chocolate and then walk out of the cafeteria toward the hospital doors. When I get inside I take a deep breath and exhale. The air is crisp and cold so my breath comes out in little puffs of smoke.
I walk until my eyes see a wooden bench that’s still at the hospital, but it’s far away. My head turns back to the hospital and I wonder if I should go back inside but I decide not to. My feet keep heading toward the bench and I take a drink of my hot chocolate to warm me up a little. Once I sit down I take out a book from my bag and try to read, but no matter how hard I tried I couldn’t focus. I sat the book beside me on the bench and just looked at the street and the passing cars. After a while that got boring so I got up and walked some more. In a few minutes I was at the local strip mall. I had forgotten that the hospital was so close.
I kept walking and saw the local sports store so I decided to go in and look at some tennis equipment. My stuff was still in really good condition, I just thought it’d take my mind off things for a while. I didn’t even want to do tennis anymore, but mom had played when she was in high school and by then the arguments started happening. I figured if I played tennis it might make mom and dad a little happier and they’d quit fighting as much. But that didn’t help at all. In fact it just made them fight more. New topics such as money and tournaments started happening and at every practice and every game I thought if I won they’d be happy. It worked a couple of times, but the disputes never quit.
By now I was tired of being around anything that had to deal with tennis, so I walked out and went into JC Penny to wander. They had a lot of winter clothes out, but I’m not much of a turtleneck or scarf person. I saw some beanies and saw a nice blue and yellow striped one with a fuzzy yellow ball on top.
I decided to get the hat and when walking to the check out counter I saw some shark tooth necklaces. They reminded me of the three day vacation we took as a family to the beach. It has always been my favorite vacation because for an entire weekend, nobody fought, or even got slightly upset. We had a blast that vacation and did so much together. All of us went to the water park and even got to swim with sharks at the aquarium. Jake was so happy he was practically glowing. I don’t know what he liked so much about the sharks, but if it made him happy I wasn’t going to get in the way. I found a necklace that had a brown rope with a single shark tooth tied to it and information about what shark it came from. I figured Jake would get a kick out of it and decided to get it for him also.
I walked back to the hospital and got another cup of hot chocolate to warm me up some more. I greeted the lady at the lobby desk and went through the doors and back toward Jake’s room. When I got there Jake was gone and I was a little startled at first, but Dr. Haven was in the room and reassured me he was getting the CT scan. I looked around and also saw my parents sitting down and I stood beside them. Dr. Haven started asking questions about Jake and asked if he had been acting differently lately. Mom and dad both casually said no but I brought out how he had been a little depressed but other than that it was he was acting normal. Once I said that Dr. Haven asked me more questions such as how long was he depressed and if I knew the reason. I told her I didn’t know the answer to either of those questions other than Jake had said he’d been sad for a while.
Dr. Haven left the room and my parents eyes locked on me immediately.
“How could you not tell us this?” my mother demanded with very noticeable anger in her voice.
“I didn’t know until a little while ago.”
“But you knew?” she asks
“So how could you not tell us. Hmm Lacy. How?”
“Because Jake didn’t want me to, plus I didn’t know enough about how he was feeling to explain it.” I reply in a calm tone. But my mom didn’t accept my answer and she repeated her question.
“How could you not tell us Lacy? We probably wouldn’t be in here if you would have told us!” she yelled. Her eyes were full of anger and they were pointed on nobody except me.
“You think this is my fault?” I ask trying to process what is going on. She then turned her eyes away from me and didn’t answer. I knew that had meant the answer was yes. I was completely baffled and hurt. I looked at my dad but he didn’t even look me in the eye.
“I can’t believe this.” I say trying to swallow my tears. I grab my bag and head toward the door.
My shift was over so I had gone home and showered before heading to the hospital. I put on some jeans and a plain white tee-shirt then grabbed the truck keys and headed out. It was only about a ten minute drive to the hospital and when I got there the lady at the front desk recognized me and let me go on back. I smiled and went through the doors and down the hall to the room. My hand was just about to hit the door to knock when Lacy comes out and slams the door behind her. She starts walking down the hall and I realize she’s crying. I start to follow her and say her name.
“Lacy?” she turns around
“What!” she says with an intense amount of edge to her voice. She sees that it’s me and she just stands in the middle of the hallway and starts crying even harder.
“Lacy,” I walk towards her and give her a hug. I don’t really know what else to do or say, so I just hold her for a few seconds then release.
“Can you take me home? I need to get a few things.” She asks still gasping for little breaths of air only to cry them out again.
I start walking to her brother’s truck and she falls in step behind me. Once we both get to the truck she stops crying a little. There are still tears running down her face but she’s not crying too hard anymore. I’m still not sure what to do or say so I just start the engine and start to drive. We don’t speak other than the occasional asking directions but other than that Lacy just stared out the window with the side of her forehead on the glass.
We get to her house and she hops out of the truck. By now she’s stopped crying. I turn off the engine and sit there planning to wait but Lacy waves me inside. I walk in the door and look around. The living room is very nice and open and it leads into the kitchen. There’s a fireplace on the same wall the door is and there’s a couple trophies and many pictures on the fireplace mantle. I stride towards it and see the trophy’s are for tennis and have been won over the past couple years. I also see a picture of what must be Lacy’s family and another of who I assume are her parents in an aquarium. The last picture is of Jake and Lacy standing in front of Jake’s truck. I realize how much Jake and Lacy do look alike. They both have dark hair although Lacy’s is a bit more auburn than brown. They have the same face structure and nose.
“That one is when Jake finally got his truck working.” I didn’t even realize Lacy has snuck up behind me and I jump a little. I turn around and see that she’s still looking at the picture. “It’s my favorite picture of us.” She continues.
“It’s a nice picture.” I say “Your house is very nice too.”
“Thanks. My dad is an attorney so he’s gone a lot and my mom’s a college professor, so they both weren’t really home a lot so mom got a decorator in here and she did the whole house.”
“Well she did a good job.” I say trying to make conversation
“Yeah. Well I’m ready.” She says looking down. Her hand is wrapped around the handle of her suitcase and there’s another bag around her shoulder.
We head back to the truck and I ask if she want to go back to the hospital. She thinks for a second and says no and asks if we can drive to the Grab-&-Go that’s a few minutes away. Lacy didn’t give a reason why she wanted to go here, but it was the first place she thought of.
When Keith asked me where I wanted to go I almost said the Lake, but I didn’t want to go there for because it was mine and Jake’s spot. That spot held all our secrets and emotions and it’s special. So the second place I thought of was the Grab-&-Go.
When we pulled up I saw that Madge wasn’t working yet but instead it was a thin girl who looked like she was in High School. Since I crashed for a few hours last night I figured that I’d be up for a few nights at least. My feet shuffled around the isles and I got half a ham and cheese for dinner, some Funyons, and a couple magazines and Sudoku books to keep me somewhat busy. Tomorrow I’d be going back to school anyways, but without the Lake, tonight should be pretty boring. Not like I really need any excitement.
Jake offers to take me to the hospital again but I say no. So instead, we decide to go get his car from the station so that he’s not stuck with Jake’s truck for the next few days.
“Well, thanks for letting me use the truck.” He says once we get to the station
“No problem.” I say
“Look, um, you know that if you need anything, you can um call. No matter what time, I can talk or um come and get you, or anything.” He stuttered
I realize that Keith is kind of like Jake, in the way he has trouble with telling how he feels. But I know from experience that you aren’t born with it. It’s something you grow into. The way that mom and dad argued a lot caused Jake and I to pick our words pretty carefully and basically by just not telling them anything at all. We just didn’t tell them how we felt so we relied on each other for that. But even then, we understood each other because we knew each other really well. If Jake tried to tell someone how he felt, the person he was trying to tell would be either totally confused, or not take him seriously. That’s probably one of the reasons why he didn’t want to get any help. It makes me wonder why Keith is like this. And better yet, why do I understand him so well?
“Thanks Keith, it means a lot.” I say with a smile which he returns and then says he’ll see me tomorrow. I don’t know when but I like having Keith as company, so it’s fine with me.
When I walk to the truck I decide to drive back to the hospital. Mom and Dad will be there when they can, but after that argument, I’d be surprised if I’m ever able to be in the same room with them again. Since they are so busy with everything, they can only afford to take a few days off. They are mostly going to be there during the day, and like the nights when they fight, I won’t be there to hear them. I find my phone in my bag and check the time. The screen blinks 6:00pm at me, so I know mom and dad will be gone by then.
I keep thinking what mom said to me and what dad didn’t say. The way the looked at me was the way people looked at murderers in a courtroom. And they believed that I was responsible for Jake wanting to die. It’s not like I told him “Hey go jump!” How can I possibly be responsible? The words “How could you not tell us” rang in my head over and over. What if I had told somebody? Would Jake not have done this? Would we be home from school and hanging out playing video games? Would Jake still be on a hospital bed with broken bones and beeping machines? Tears start running down my face with force and I have to pull the truck over to prevent myself from crashing. If Jake doesn’t come through, I’m not going to be able to live with myself.
I know that I wasn’t prepared to see Jake right then, so I tried to think of the places I could go, and there was no question. The wheels and tires turned so the truck made a u-turn then the truck kept heading straight. Once I see the dirt roads, I make the truck turn. I drive past all the partiers and sorority girls until my eyes find the entrance to mine and Jake’s spot. I take the keys out of the engine and put them in the front seat, like we always do. Tears are still running down my face and I wonder how I managed to drive. When I get out of the truck I go straight toward the bench Jake and I made together. I shake out the pillow we have and then lay my head down on it. Jake always thought this was the comfiest bench he ever sat on, and I agreed. Even though it’s wood it’s pretty comfortable. My eyes looked at the view and tears kept blurring my vision.
I try to think why Jake wanted to jump. Why did he think it was the answer? But I couldn’t focus at that moment, so I just sat and cried. Even when I stopped crying I just kept sitting. To keep myself busy I drew in the dirt or messed with my phone, I even contemplated going to one of those parties, but decided not to. I listened to the bass of music and the screams of partiers. I looked at the lake and wondered how something could be so serene, when everything around it was so action packed. The better question was, how can I be like that?
“No matter how hard things get, remember I will always love you. And I’m not doing this because I’m mad at you; never think that this is your fault. It’s for the best okay. I love you!”
How hard what gets? Who is talking to me? I realize I am able to see, and I’m at the lake and someone is hugging me. They release there embrace and start running for the cliff. I can’t exactly make out who it is though. Even though they are trying to run, they are moving very slowly so I try to stop them and see if I can fix this confusion. I walk towards the person and plant myself in front of them, stopping the person in their tracks. I analyze their face, it’s a girl, who looks familiar. Her hair was brown and shoulder length and I reached up to touch it. I realize that moving requires a lot of effort now, so I have to limit myself. The hair is soft and the girls eyes are hazel. She reminds me of someone… who? One thing that stands out is that she is still trying to run past me, but I’m not letting her move closer to the cliff, even though she is strong. Suddenly everything goes faster. I am very weak now and the girl is able to push me aside. I’m shocked and try to grab her but she jumps off the cliff before I can grab her.
“Lacy! No!” I scream. It’s Lacy my sister and she is falling. I jump after her and here her crash into the water. I then feel the water enclose me with its deathly liquid. I can’t move or breathe. I’m drowning. My voice screams for Lacy, but it’s not very loud. I cannot see her, and then I can’t see at all, everything goes dark.
“Jake,” I hear, it’s the girl and I look for her, but her voice is faint, very faint. “I wish you could hear me. I can here you. I try to scream for her but my voice will not come out of my mouth. It’s like my voice is frozen.
“Can you come back soon.” But I’m right here!
All of a sudden I can see again. I open my eyes, but I’m so weak, and I feel as if I have been hit by a train. I hear a sort of laughter. Who would be laughing? Where am I?
“Jake,” I turn my head to the sound of the voice. It’s the girl. It’s Lacy! She’s here! “It’s me, It’s your sister Lacy.” She pressed a button a bit too hard. That button had done nothing to her. Soon another voice presents me.
“Hello Jake, My name is Dr. Haven, you are in the hospital. You have fallen of a cliff and you have quite a few broken bones.” I kind of stare at her for a minute and then turn back to Lacy.
“Lacy,” I say. My voice is faint and weak, but at least I can talk again.
“Yes, I’m right here”
“I missed you” she smiles which makes me smile. It kind of hurt to smile, but I was happy to see Lacy.
“I’m really tired.” I added. I felt bad for wanting to close my eyes, but I couldn’t help it.
“Go to sleep, Jake. I will be right here, I promise” I smiled and then everything went dark again.
My stomach feels like it has butterflies in it, it’s the first time I know things could really be okay. I almost feel like I could go to the roof of the hospital and scream. For some reason my mind goes to Keith. I feel I should tell him Jake’s awake, he’s been here so much. I pull out my phone then quietly slip out the door, careful not to wake Jake. My hands are not shaking like they’re having a seizure and suddenly it’s easier to dial the number. It only takes two rings before Keith picks up.
“Hello?” he says kind of groggily
“Hey Keith it’s me. Did I wake you up?”
“No I wasn’t sleeping.” He replied, still a bit groggy. I didn’t really believe him.
“Well, um, he’s awake, or he was.” My thoughts were all jumbled with the excitement of Jake waking up again, and him talking to me, knowing it might just be okay. “I mean, Jake, he was awake and talking but only for a few minutes. I think this is a really good sign.”
Keith seemed a bit more perky now that he heard about Jake and asked if he could come by the hospital. I was actually pretty excited that Keith was coming. In a strange way I missed his company, he hasn’t been around for a few days. Despite the occasional text or two I really haven’t talked to him at all much either.
Thinking that it would take a while for Keith to wake up and get dressed and everything, I figured it take him about 25 minutes to get here. I decided to go down to the cafeteria and grab a cup of coffee. When I got down to the coffee machine I looked around. Few people were up at three in the morning, but there were still a few people. A old man who looked about 70 was up and jolly, didn’t seemed tired at all, sipped his coffee and read the front page of the newspaper occasionally shaking his head. About four tables away from him was a woman who had puffy eyes and was tiredly grasping a cup of coffee with her head leaning on one hand and her eyes closed. The cafeteria lady here seems to almost know me by name and she even looks tired.
Lost in a train of thought I didn’t even hear a little boy say excuse me and he slides right past me and grabs a small coffee cup. His little feet shuffle over and to the hot chocolate machine. He looks about five years old and he’s too short to reach the button to dispense the hot cocoa. I’m about to come forward and help him when Keith comes up and asks if he needs help. The boy quietly nods and looks right at the cup. Keith chuckles and then presses the button. The boy’s face lights up and Keith even gets him some whip cream and a lid. The little boy is overjoyed and shuffles off with a huge smile on his face. This of course makes me laugh and Keith comes over to me smiling as well.
“Well hello there Mr. Kindness.” I joke. I nudge him a little with my elbow and then take a seat at a nearby table. He follows me and sits across from me now holding a cup of coffee as well.
“How’s Jake?” He asks
“He woke up. He said he missed me and he looked happy, he even smiled. He was only up for about five minutes though.”
“That’s still good.”
“Yeah, it is.” I reply “I finally feel like things are going to be okay.” I stared off in thought for a moment.
“Yes?” I reply dragging my mind away from thought and into the present.
“Are you okay?” He asks me, there is a noticibal trait of worry on his face.
“Yeah I’m fine, I just, I don’t know what I’m going to do tonight.”
“About what.” He questions.
I have to think for a minute what he is questioning. I am so used to talking to Jake and him knowing what I’m thinking. I have to process what he is asking and then process what I’m going to say.
“I have to figure out where I am going to crash. I want to stay with Jake but I’m sure my parents will be here all day tomorrow. I can’t stay here, I can’t go home.” He stares at me puzzled and I remembered that I never told him what happened the night my parents blamed me, he just drove me to my house until I calmed down.
“The night that I came out of the room crying and you drove me to the house, that was the night my parents blamed me for Jake being in the hospital. I knew Jake was depressed and he didn’t want me to tell anybody. So I didn’t. They said that if I would’ve told them, that Jake wouldn’t be in the hospital right now.” I choke a little bit at the end and have to blink a few times to make sure I wouldn’t cry.
“Lacy, you know it wasn’t you’re fault.” He says trying to comfort me.
“I know, but they don’t believe that. They will believe it’s my fault forever, and I can’t get away from them.” Keith looks at me for a while not saying anything.
“Stay with me.” He says suddenly. He can tell by the expression on my face that I’m confused.
“Stay with me.” I say suddenly. I can tell by the look on her face that she’s confused. As a cop I have to be able to make quick decisions calmly, so why am I so nervous right now?
“Stay with me. We could get a few things out of your house and that way you don’t have to see your parents, I could take you to school and bring you back, or you could take Jake’s truck” I was talking fast trying to explain my reasoning. I realized I was rambling so my voice stopped abruptly and just looked at her. She stayed quiet for a moment, taking it all in and thanking.
“Okay.” She said and she showed her smile. “Want to see Jake?”
She concluded that my smile was a yes and stood up from the table. I fell in step behind her as she made her way to Jakes room. Before she opened the door I noticed how she took a deep breath and slowly turned the handle to go inside.
When we walked in I found Jake sitting inanimately in the hospital bed. He had wires all over him and a brace around his neck. When looking arounf the room, you could see traces of Lacy everywhere, her book of Sudoku on the table next to a chair, the TV remote sitting on top of the book, her purse by Jakes bed, and the chairs pushed together to make a sort of bed. Lacy walks over to the two chairs and pulls them apart so we can sit in them. She sits in one, not taking her eyes off Jake, and I sit down next to her, not taking my eyes off her. For a minute I wonder how hard it’d be if someone I cared about did something like Jake did. I switched my gaze to him and Lacy and I sat in silence for a few minutes.
Jake moved a little and made a little sound which broke the silence. I saw Lacy perk up almost as fast as a switch turns a light bulb on. Jake’s eyes slowly opened and looked around, when he saw Lacy he smiled.
“Hey.” He said faintly
“Hey Jake.” Said Lacy with apparent excitement in her voice, I guess Jake noticed it to.
“Calm down Lace it’s just me.” Jake said with a smile. She laughed a little and then pressed a button next to Jakes bed, within moment a redheaded doctor came in. Jake turned his head slowly to see who had came in.
“Hello Jake, how are you feeling?” The doctor said while assessing some of the monitors by Jake’s bed.
“Tired.” He said in the same faint voice
“Well that is to be expected.” She said calmly with a smile “On a scale of 1 to 10 how is your pain?”
Jake stayed quiet for a moment contemplating.
“Uh, about a 7.”
“Well we will get someone here to fix that. I have some good news for you though. We did a CT scan on you a little while back, to see if there was any trauma or hemorrhaging on your skull or near your brain.” She explains “Luckily, you only had a small fracture on your skull, which should be healing well; the brace on your neck will be able to come off soon as well. It’s really amazing that more of you is not broken, most of your bones are only bruised.”
Jake takes this all in, contemplating again and then looks over at Lacey.
“This is all good, right Lace?” He asks
Lacey laughs again, “Yes! This is all very good Jake.” She turns her gaze to the doctor, “How long to you think it will take before he is able to go home?” Her voice is anxious yet very serious. So strong, yet so weak. The doctor stood silent with a pensive look on her face.
“You know Lacy, with a regular patient it would take over 4 months for something like this. However, with your brother’s progress, I wouldn’t be surprised if he was only in here for another month or two.
Lacey lit up. Her face went from worried and serious, to eager and happy. She smiled and said thank you to the doctor-who smiled back, checked the monitors by Jake’ bed, and then exited- and turned her gaze back to Jake. She stared at his face and put her hand through his. He didn’t wake up but he stirred a bit.
While I was there, Jake woke up one other time and it was shorter than the last. Lacy and I made our way out of the room and headed to the cafeteria again. On the way she saw her parent’s vehicle outside the automatic doors. Her mother got out of the passenger side and she turned around -to what looked like Lacey’s dad- and said something. Her door slammed then her heels started to click-click-click on the pathway all the way inside. Lacy saw her mother coming inside and quickly ducked inside the cafeteria, taking me with her by holding onto my shirtsleeve.
Tonight I had seen many of Lacey’s expressions. Her face looked worn and tired when I first arrived tonight. The excitement on her face showed when she had told me that Jake woke up. Anger and hurt was relevant when the story about her parents came up. Most of all, sadness, –which had been common with Lacey since the accident- was most relevant. The expression I saw whenever her eyes spotted her mother, though, was indescribable. It was a mix of almost every emotion I saw from her, and I couldn’t determine her feelings at all.
I took a deep breath. It felt as if I’d been holding it for hours. Keith and I were in the cafeteria and were drinking some coffee. We both escaped my mother without even the slightest hint that we were only a few feet away from her.
When I saw her walking in through the entrance of the hospital, she looked the same as she always did, professional. I remember that even as a little girl, she would take me to the park in slacks and a sleek top. Today she was wearing a black pair of slacks and a nice red long-sleeved top that dipped into a v at the neck.
She had been digging in her purse and not looking forward, so I grabbed Keith by the hand and pulled him into the cafeteria. I went all the way to the other side so that there was no way of her seeing me while passing the entrance. I wouldn’t be able to stay in there forever - my mom was a bit of a coffee fanatic- and anyway, I’d be staying at Keith’s tonight, so I didn’t have to.
Keith owned a nice apartment. Two bedroom, big living area that opened into the kitchen. Like most guys homes, Keith’s apartment wasn’t messy with the exception of a few unfolded blankets and a couple of empty beer cans.
“Can I get you something to drink?” He asked
“A water would be fine.” I replied
“Coming right up. You can set your stuff down in that room over there.” He pointed down the hallway to a room with the door open.
The room was painted with a nice beige color and had a desk and a big dresser. The bed was twin sized and was covered with a blue and black floral comfortor. Keith came in with a cold bottle of water in hand.
“This was my sisters room. She comes and visits every few months from college, so I just sat up a room for her.”
“I didn’t know you had a sister.” I said
“Yep.” He replied then moved over to the desk picking up a frame. “This was when we went to Disney World together. We were planning to go to the same college, but my dad had other plans for me.”
“The cop thing?” I asked taking the picture. He nodded and I turned my gaze to the frame. It showed Keith who looked a bit younger with his arm around a girl who looked quite similar. Her hair was brown like Keith’s and her eyes were a blue color, almost like sapphire. I handed the picture back to Keith where he then put it back on the desk.
It was around six and we ordered pizza for dinner. We stayed up watching Disney movies like The Aristocats and The Tigger Movie. Surprisingly Keith didn’t look tired at all. And of course, I wasn’t tired at all.
“So, it’s about midnight.” Keith said with a chuckle.
“That it is.” I reply
“If you want to go to sleep, you can, you don’t have to stay up with Me.” he said.
“Well it’ll probably be a sleepless night, among others. I have insomnia.”
Keith looked a bit startled. “Me too.”
“Really? But you were asleep at the hospital.”
“Yeah I know. I hadn’t slept for about a week.”
“Oh. Well that makes sense.”
We stayed up all night watching movies and talking. I learned a lot about Keith tonight. I learned that his favorite food is pizza and he loves Pepsi. I learned him and his sister are really close, like Jake and I, and she goes to College about an hour and a half away. She comes every month or two to visit him. He hates the Twilight Saga and loves the band Of Mice And Men.
In turn he found out a good deal about me as well. He found out that I play tennis and that I love the bands Fall Out Boy and Sleeping With Sirens. He now knows my favorite food is spaghetti and I love Chinese food. I told him that Jake and I want to go to the same college and get apartments no more than 5 miles away from each other.
“What about your parents? Do they live here?” I asked
“Actually,” He said a little shyly “My mom passed away when I was a freshman.”
“Oh I’m-“ I begun to say I’m sorry but he just raised his hand up.
“I know you are, everybody is.” He answered.
“Were you and her close?” I ask letting the hand thing go.
“Not too much but of course I did love her. After she died my dad really tried to step up. Try to develop a real father-son relationship.”
“So you guys are close?” I ask.
“No.” He said with a bit of a chuckle. “Instead it drove us apart. He wanted me to be a cop like he was. You know, follow in his footsteps, are like your father. After mom died, it’s like I had an obligation to keep him happy. It just made me resent him. He was never the father I wanted. Always working, leaving me and my mom at home all day, sometimes all night. He still isn’t the father I want, he’s my boss.”
“I know how you feel.” I whisper.
“My mother, she’s like your dad. My mom and dad started arguing a lot when I was younger so I took up tennis because mom did it when she was in school. I figured it’d make them stop arguing. If I won they would be happy and not upset. But it didn’t work. Instead it backfired and they were arguing about tournaments, money, how Jake isn’t as determined as I am. My mom and I never became close like I thought we’d be, instead she became my second coach, always looking for my flaws in my swing, and as a daughter. My parents are always doing two things. Working and arguing. That’s how my brother and I became so close.”
Keith looked at me with a look on his face. What surprised me most was, not the look, but that I understood it. It contained a mix of anger toward his dad, understanding toward me, and sadness that our parents aren’t the way we’d like. I think of Jake and how my parents are probably there right now, watching him and pretending to care so much about him with a worried expression on their face. What others don’t know is that that worried expression is due to the cost the bills are going to be, the cost of classes that they are going to try to put Jake in, their reputation because their son tried to commit suicide. They don’t care.