How to disappear | Teen Ink

How to disappear

August 19, 2013
By CherieKuma, E. Falmouth, Massachusetts
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CherieKuma, E. Falmouth, Massachusetts
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Favorite Quote:
:Better than a thousand hollow words, is one word that brings peace." Buddha

Author's note: I had seen the title 'How to disappear completely' and decided to make a story about it that was not literal.

I used to think that the universe would give me a sign or send me a reason for my existence. Now I realize that there is no reason, and that we’ll all have to be content with settling for pretending there is a purpose in life. The problem is, I would rather not settle. The stars as they dangle in the black night sky and its entire entirety are fragile lies. There is no plan. We do not live in the palm of a god, a god that looks at us with open eyes and surrounds us golden light. There are no horoscopes, no spirits; there are just flesh, bones and flawed minds. If we’re lucky we will live over sixty years and discover this, but I think I am luckier because I discovered this early, which has absolved me of all hopes and expectations.

But my family is different, “Chris, you could just work harder.” My mother says as she stands, completely still, behind me.

I am straightening my tie, twisting it around my neck as if a piece of material could make me look better. My mom is still watching me, on her face is the usual expression of disappointment and it’s sister emotions; some of them being pity and hatred. My mom is generally hard to please, unless we’re talking about my little sister or my older brother. Since I am sitting right in the middle of two of the great ages in life, she overlooks me until I make a mistake. We make many mistakes. Like today, when we crashed the car, failed every class other than math, and wasted our college tuition.

My mom leaves then, I am staring at myself blankly while myself watches me stare with a blank expression. I am not useless, I tell myself at once. It is no longer survival of the fittest, it is survival of the richest and I am surely winning. I can buy myself everything but the things that a truly need, and for now I believe that can be enough.

There is not enough space in my car for more than four people, so Trinity and Cameron cram in and lean forward. Cameron shifts and moves his leather school bag, saying words that I figure are not important enough to hear. Peter is in the passengers seat, fiddling with the radio and choosing a station that is loud and thrashing so my car starts to seem like a travelling nightclub. Thump thump.

I did not like high school and I do not like college. Both of these places are more like zoos rather than places of education and discovery. Sometimes I feel as if my teachers are apes in suits.

“Of course you did that wrong.” Professor Stevens says, staring at Peter’s answers. Peter has a schedule almost identical to mine, so he tends to hang around me – it is unfortunate that I would not consider our relationship as a friendship. It is a little complicated, but I hate the kid that I would die for.

I hate Peter because he is stupid. He is obsessively obedient, edging on the borders of ridiculous. He has a speech impediment and he cannot calculate numbers for the life of him, but as my brother he always tries to get into the higher classes to be on my level. His red eyes come from nights of studying, and now it seems like there is a permanent glaze covering them at all times. I hate that we are identical, I hate that he is always striving for excellence and falls short. I took all the brains, and it seems that he took all of the manners. If we were combined some say that we would be perfect, but I think we would simply seem crazy.

“How could anyone get one-hundred on that test?” Peter asks.

I drag my eyes over towards him, “100 even.”

Peter slides his paper with the big, red ‘F’ under his folder and stares ahead as if he hadn’t asked anything. I stare at the curves and angles of his profile, and at his slightly red skin. He looks nothing like me, he is scared and I can see it all over his face. He is biting his nails to nubs due to a nervous habit, and ticking his eyes towards his notes every time the teacher looks at him.

“Why don’t you just cheat?” I ask him under my breath, but he stares ahead instead of answering.

The end of the day is followed by work, which consists of asking people questions over the phone and collecting surveys. Fortunately, this is where Peter and I split up because he works at a restaurant downtown; he never really gets any tips because he always makes mistakes. Poor fool.

When my shift is over, I usually go home in lower spirits because having so many people berate you for doing your job can get depressing. When I return, David is always waiting at the end of the street. David is also identical to us, but his face is slashed in little ‘x’ shaped scars on the left side. If you stare far enough away, you cannot see it at all. When the accident happened, David was simply angry. He did not shed a tear although his entire face seemed disfigure for life, he just persecuted Peter who could not begin to defend himself.

“How was school?” David sneers, he quit school when that accident happened so now he think that school is only for social rejects. He is more of a hippie now than anything else.

I answer. “Fine.”

“Where’s Peeper?” he asks. We started calling Peter, Peeper, after he tried to spy on the girls next door but got caught when his pants tore on their terrace.

I laugh, and we both walk in because we know that big boss has reprimanded him today. Like everyday and the sweet days before those, Peter is the largest loser.

My mother notices we are home, but she does not say anything and instead reads to my little sister who is falling asleep on her knee. She is not even that young anymore, she has all her adult teeth, so it becomes irritating to David who rolls his eyes. There is no dinner at home because Dominic is at his house. Usually, Dominic cooks whenever he can because he is clearly better at cooking then our maid, Tina. Tina is an okay cook, but she tends to make things too spicy or salty, which only my father likes.

Trinity comes over at four, she dips her head low and slinks into the house as if a large truck hit her. She is the broody type of girl, and it does not help that she is having so much trouble finding a girlfriend. Trinity lowers her hood and shakes rainwater onto the floor as she heads in, which makes my mother give her a disapproving glance. My mother thinks she is my girlfriend, and since Trinity has one foot in the closet, I haven’t told her otherwise. Unfortunately, my mother would not like me dating someone who is not from our neighborhood or any of the surrounding suburbs.

Trinity throws herself onto my floor, and zips her purple hoodie until I cannot see her flushed face. “Cameron says that Jen doesn’t like me. Let’s smoke”

I shake my head. “Can’t.”

“Why not? You suck.”

I shake off her insult and watch as she springs to her feet to play a game of pinball on my machine. When I first met Trinity I really wanted her to actually be my girlfriend. She is pretty in a strange way, with her long, messy hair and small figure. Now I figure it is good to have someone who can pretend to be my girlfriend if my mom keeps asking me to get one or to look like less of a social reject.

“You’re quiet today.” Trinity says.

“I’m quiet everyday.” I say, standing to go and take a piss.

And so the day ends in that quiet way, Trinity leaves and I close my door to invite in sleep.

It’s Saturday and Peter, David and I are walking downtown. We usually hate being together, but I am the only one who knows how to drive. My mother used to tell us that we were poison to each other. It is the truth. We always seem to invite trouble into our lives, swinging the door wide open and not fearing consequences. If three is a crowd, three is a mob, and we’re not keen on resisting mob mentality.

David is the worst out of all of us. I hate him so much. He never asks anyone for an opinion for anything and then gets us in trouble. Chris is bad too, he never says anything and just laughs whenever David does something. It is never even funny. David tries to push the limits, when they do not even need to be pushed. I hate them both equally, just as much as they hate me. David and Chris have had this alliance since they were little after I hurt David’s face. We used to play this game that was called hot coals. We would heat up this electric floor stove and try to jump over it. We never really got burned and the nanny never noticed so I did not even realize how bad it would be if someone happened to fall or something like that. So when it was David’s turn I tripped and he fell right into the stove. It left these little cross scars on his face and his left eye is a little blurry. I guess it’s my entire fault, but I did not do it on purpose. David didn’t even cry about it, he never cries. Now they try to get me back whenever they can and they never apologize. Sometimes they push me or kick me, the other day Chris punched me in the eye for no reason. Three years ago when we went to go see the neighbors next door in their room, they kicked the latter so they would leave me stranded on the terrace like a pervert. Mom doesn’t notice it. She hates me too. I don’t like it downtown either; there are too many people. It is early May, so a lot of people come here because the weather is nice. The people that come are always young and they look like they just came from the beach, wearing bathing suits and perfect tans. They are rude; whenever they come to the restaurant they always talk about how I look as if I don’t get enough sleep. I don’t understand why everyone hates me so much. I never do anything bad, on purpose at least. “It’s crowded today. Why did you want to come here?” Chris asks me in that hard to hear voice he always uses. Chris’ eyebrows always seem drawn together in a grimace and it gets worse when people are around. I bet Chris never gets lonely, ever. I do not look Chris in the eye; instead I stare at the softer concrete. “I just wanted to quit my job.” David sighs. “You’re such a f*ing idiot, do you want to take mommy and daddy’s money forever?” Chris is laughing really hard. I hope he knows what a jerk prep he looks like in his plaid jacket. Chris and David are best friends, they always have been close – I am just a brother, not really a friend. I shrug. “You do it too. You always take dad’s money. You don’t even go to school.” David gets really close to my face, “Don’t you ever compare me to someone like you.” He says. I can see those thin scars on his face so I do not say anything else and keep walking to Cornerstone, ready to quit. At one time I was excited about getting a job at Cornerstone because a lot of young people go; it is a warehouse type of building stuck in the corner of Main Street so not many older people know about it. Dad said I could just get a job at one of his stores and be a manager, but I was really set on getting a job all by myself so I could finally move away from my family. Now, I regret it. All the people at Cornerstone sabotage me and call me daddy’s boy. They purposely give me the wrong orders or they trip me and laugh when I am sprawled out on he floor with food all over me. I don’t tell David because he would make a big deal out of it, but I don’t want him to fight my battles for me anymore. I walk to the back office, and I see that Mr. Clark is on the phone through the glass window. I look over at Chris and shake my head towards the door, gesturing that we can leave anytime soon. Mr. Clark sees me, though, and he puts up his pointer in order to tell me to wait a second. I guess I will have to do this; I will finish this to the end this time. “Are you really going to do it?” David asks. I nod. “Cool.” Chris says, which makes me smile like a crazy person. Chris never really compliments anyone so when he does give you one, it can make you feel like you’re on cloud nine, ten and eleven. I turn around, still grinning, and I bump into another waiter Harvey who scowls at me as a snap reaction. He runs his eyes over my brothers for a minute, deciding how much he can humiliate me today. “Want something, little girl?” He says to me. “What did you say?” David asks. He takes anything like that as an invitation to fight. David already has a reputation, so Harvey does not say anything else and glares at me as if to say that he will attack me later. David’s mad already so he asks it again, “What the f*** do you want?” “Who are you talking to, rich b****?” Harvey replies. “Whom.” Chris corrects. “It’s okay, David, let it go. Harley is not worth it.” I say. David’s face softens; he rips away from us and heads to the front of the restaurant. It is times like these I feel like I’m lucky to have David on my side. Everyone in the town is scared of Harvey and his friends. There is a rumor going around that he killed Calvin DeLuca last summer when people found him beaten in the woods. Harvey wasn’t even questioned for it because his uncle is really powerful in the police force. I don’t know if it’s true. If it is, then he would definitely never get away with something like that. “Don’t think I won’t see you later.” Harvey sneers. Oddly, Chris does not follow David and stands right beside me. “Good luck.” He says quietly, nodding his head at Mr. Clark because he is done talking on the phone. When I walk into his office, it is like Mr. Clark can hear the voice in my head telling me to quit. Mr. Clark grins. “I knew you wouldn’t last two months, yuppie.” They always call us yuppie and I don’t even know what that means actually. I nod and he laughs cruelly saying something like he won a bet. I wish everyone in our town didn’t hate our family. I don’t even know why they don’t like the three of us but they like Dominic. Never mind, I understand why they like Dominic because he is charismatic and he is handsome and nice. It doesn’t matter how you look at it, Dominic is the best in the whole family. He is always kind to me and he has a lot of money like dad, but he works in computers all on his own. “I-I wasn’t going to quit.” I tell Mr. Clark. “Really? Then why did you come here?” I closed my eyes. “Because the other workers keep tripping me and insulting me and giving me the wrong orders.” Mr. Clark laughs. “It’s called hazing, Farrington, stop being a whiny little punk and get past it.” “B-but.” “What, you’ll tell your father to buy us out, too?” He asks. I shut up.

The main reason I stopped going to school was not because of my disfigured face and it’s rough angles and strange texture. It was years after that when I decided that I could not bare with other people anymore. I stopped going to school because I could not tolerate the damn attention I received for my last name and because the students would not cease asking me for my mother’s autograph, even though her face has not graced a television screen in half a decade. Dominic ruined everything for us. The teachers expect us to follow in his footsteps, which are more like impassible craters. The closest thing to Dominic in our family is Chris, but he is living in his pretty, little world and thinking of things that are impossible to understand unless you live with him in that world. Chris could be a genius, but he does not do anything about it. At least Peter tries, he always is playing the game of catch-up, although I dislike watching as Chris falls behind to help Peter quicken his forever slow pace. Chris should really be in Ivy League school, but he is in a small college because he was too busy worrying about Peter who couldn’t get into a good university even if he sold his pure soul to the devil. I cannot be perfect; my mind just does not seem to cooperate during the day unless it is focusing on art. So I decided to be an artist, but I am getting nowhere quickly or slowly for that matter. Peter exits Cornerstone with his job still in standing. I am exasperated with him, as he steps on the sidewalk with a red face. He has not learned to stand up for himself in eighteen years of living, and I am tired of watching idiots walk all over him like it is their job. But to save face, I pretend that I do not know what happened and we walk in silence as we sort through our own thoughts. “David!” Theresa calls, running up to me so she looks like a little girl. She wraps her hand around mine and we walk ahead of my brothers. Theresa has been chasing after me since before I quit school, so it’s been almost three years now. She’s a pretty girl, but I don’t want a pretty girl who lives to please me. “What are you doing around here?” I ask her, trying to shake her off my hand. Theresa has never been even an option to be my girlfriend. “Oh, it’s Chris! Hi, Chris.” She says. She’s so f*ing excited to see Chris. Everyone likes Chris but he never notices anyone but the only girl who could never like him, Trinity. Chris is like that sometimes, smart but stupid all at once. Chris slowly turns his head, revealing his mopey expression. He always looks like a grungy musician, that kid. He nods at her and starts walking towards his red sports car. Theresa tried to follow him but I squeeze her hand so she doesn’t go far. She turns toward me and holds both my hands loosely. To me, she only looks cute whenever she likes someone else. “David! Are you coming? David? David?” Peter calls. “Shut up, peeper!” I yell. Theresa looks over my shoulder, “Is this your brother? I haven’t seen him in person.” I nod. “Peter works at Cornerstone.” She sighs, “Oh, yes. That Peter. Wow, he’s something else.” I let go of her hands. It is hilarious how we all look exactly the f*** the same, but a lot of people think of us differently. This is because attraction is never truly shallow and surfaces and painted on clown faces. No, it is something else that no one can really see. Even I don’t know what it is exactly, but apparently although we are identical, other people have their own hierarchy of where we belong. I can’t say I cannot see why. I want to laugh at Peter who is pulling this face he always makes whenever he is concerned. The expression is so awkward, I feel so sorry for him, but hell, it’s his own fault. Maybe if he bothered to wash his hair or wear clothes that fit, he would not feel so out of place. I do not bother to go home that night; I do not see the point when mom hardly realizes that I am there. I go to a bonfire on Short Beach, which I go to whenever I bump into Theresa and her blonde, cherry-lipped friends. I can tell that Peter wants to come, but he does not and instead turns on his heels and hops in Chris’ car. “When are ya gonna get a hair cut, Davy?” Quincy asks me, still wearing his red snapback. I look at that son of a b****, and pull on my now shoulder length hair. “Whenever the f*** I feel like it. Is you’re hair receding yet, oldie?” I ask. He laughs and punches me in the shoulder. We head towards the fire and I grab a beer out of the cooler. The water slaps on the shore, the fire reaches the sky and we feel f*ing invincible. I get drunk a lot now, it seems like it gets worse whenever I actually attempt to do something in the day. I take a bottle to my lips and try to sip the burning liquid slowly but instead guzzle it sloppily. The girls laugh at something to the left of me but I can hardly pay attention to anything but fire and starlight. Quincy is saying something but I can hardly hear him. Quincy is like that; he has a bad habit of mumbling. He quit school the same year that I did, which was a good idea because what he says that I can hear tends to be idiotic. But I guess I’m not any better than him because he is my only friend. The sand is getting all over my legs. I stand up and shake myself off, losing my balance for a minute. Someone catches me. I look up with weary eyes to see who it is. I don’t recognize the person, so I turn around. Before I can catch myself, I vomit. Then I see a gold badge. The police take this s*** seriously. I am sitting at the station, arms folded and rocking slightly on a plastic chair with uneven legs. The female police officer is kind of hot so I position myself so I can see her better. It’s so boring in hear, all I can hear is whispering and the gentle tick of the clock. When my mom arrives, she is prepared to pay a fine and flirt with the officers, who recognize her immediately. The officer stands, “Oh? You’re his mother? Wow, it’s nice to meet you.” My mother shakes her hair as she usually does and grabs my by my arm. “Yes, you know how it is with kids. You never know what you’re going to get.” “Mom, I’m an adult now you don’t have to come here.” I tell her. My mom wrings her hands anxiously, “Shut up.” She whispers. I arrive home late that night, bursting in the house to see Peter already fast asleep on the couch with his long legs sprawled over the end of it. I flick on the light but he does not wake up and remains there, completely limp. “Your father would be disappointed.” My mother mentions, extending her neck so she can check if he is here. “Dad’s not here. He’s probably with his 20 year old-“ And my mother slaps me. She has done this before, so I don’t do anything but stare at her. I smile at her; I still know exactly how to break her into little pieces whenever she decides to pretend she is actually a parent. I know that I shouldn’t take pleasure in this, but I do feel like I am the king of this pathetic hill we live on. When I look at her green eyes, identical to mine, I remember that I need to relax, so I try to breathe slowly. “You all are set to embarrass me, huh?” She asks. Chris steps downstairs. “No.” “This does not involve you, Chris.” Mom screams. Peter opens his eyes, “What happened?” My mom stands firm, her eyes locked to mine. “You know exactly what I mean, you do anything in your power to destroy our reputation. Do you know how this makes us look? Can’t you just lay low for a little while? I am pretending that you’re an artist. I am letting you chase that ridiculous dream. You owe me.” “Owe you?” I say. Chris shakes his head, “That’s what you’re worried about? You’re reputation? Not about him going to jail?” Peter stares at us with watery eyes, “I think David is a good artist.” My mother starts heading past us and up the stairs. “Fine! Fine! Fine!” She hollers so it reverberates throughout the house. “You all win.”

I am still alive; I am breathing slowly and stare at my flat white ceiling. I will it to cave in, but it does not. I am supposed to be happy to be living and healthy, right? That is what I am told; anyway, I am unsure if I can believe the fragments of advice I pick up from other people. Other people are just as confused as I am.

The alarm clock wakes me up and I am flat on my back still, the sun has not yet pushed its way into the sky, and I cup my hands over my face. I usually do not sleep that much on these hot nights, for some reason my eyes widen and engulf thoughts that I should not be thinking alone. But I am always alone, so there are no other options. My mom is going to wake me up to attend church any minute now, time keeps passing over me. I do not really pray in church so I am unsure why I keep attending. I simply think about dying, living and I try to figure out the differences between them.

A knock falls over the room; I squeeze my eyes and wait for my mom’s annoying voice.

“Are you still in there, Chris?”

It’s Sara. “Yes. I am trying to sleep. What do you want?”

She opens the door so it wails because the screws have gone crooked somehow, and she sits on the edge of my bed.

“Can you help me with this?”
I open my tired eyes and stare at the paper that is in her hands. “Homework? Why so early?”
“Mom told me to ask you yesterday but you feel asleep so early.”
“Why didn’t you ask anyone else?”
“Who else is there to ask?” She says. I nod and I cross my arms to lean forwards and scan her paper. It is simple; there should be someone who is able to help her. I do not bother to complain and take her pen.
“You need to move this and carry that. Otherwise, you are on the right tracks.”
“Thanks.” She leans over. “Let me tell you a secret for a thank you.”
I nod and turn towards her, “Mom said on the phone that you’re on drugs.”
“What?” I say, “Tell mom I’m not on drugs.”
She bobs her head and laughs as she runs out of the room. I can hear her feet as they slap our floor until she stops near my mom’s room at the end of the hallways.
I lay down, somehow revived by that pointless exchange. Drugs? I laugh to the walls, windows and doors. I wish. The sun is high in the sky now, I can probably sneak into the hallways – it does not seem as if church will be a part of our plans today. Oh well.
I do not know that many people, my world is highly enclosed and dark. There are days where I want to socialize, but I never do follow through. I never usually follow through with many things.
I squat and slide under the jagged edges of the broken brick wall that separates our area from the lower income places in this town, I head towards the main road and cross into Cameron’s yellow lawn. He sees me immediately; he is on the porch and on his phone with someone when he gives me the communal half nod before returning to a high-energy conversation.
I do not know much about Cameron’s parents because they are never at home. I saw his mother once when I was grocery shopping and she requested to take a picture with my mother, but all I know of her is she watched the last low-budget film my mother was in. My mother told me once, with wine in her hand and in her veins, that she regrets ever becoming famous, saying that it all ends once your only fans are middle-aged. I agree.
When Cameron stops talking he heads towards me, I can see the sunburn that resides on his nose bridge, right with his freckles. This heat, thanks to melanin and adaption, does not bother me, so I walk to meet him under the large tree in his yard; the only green plant here. He says something to me but I cannot hear him because I keep hearing this loud-pitched wail from inside his house.
“It’s my baby cousin. My sister is watching him. Why are you here?” He asks.
I shrug, “I dunno, what else is there to do?”
He nods and we both stare at the highway for a while, listening to the persistence of silence. I see a car speed up the road. The bumper is barely clinging on and scraping against the street. The sound is grating and spiders its way into my head and I feel nauseous. The car whips around the corner and almost crashes into the other lane, I can see the driver and his flushed face is very familiar.
“Half the people here are deranged.” Cameron mutters. “Did you hear what happened to that gay kid?”
“You mean the DeLuca boy?”
“Yeah. Everyone thinks Harvey did it.”
I snicker and keep looking straight ahead. “Yeah, right.”
And Cameron says, “You got to leave, though, for real.”
I sneer, “Are you serious?”
“Yeah. You’ve been messing with those crazy kids from the boonies. I don’t want to get involved with all that. I’m too young to die. I’ll come by your house later.”
I leave Cameron’s feeling slightly rebuffed, but I give my best attempt to pretend it does not bother me. I do this with most feelings. I like to starve them of attention until they finally die off. It’s the best this way. I look at the border that protects our neighborhood from the other clusters of houses, and for the first time I can conclude that the gate is useful. For some reason there are differences between them and us, even if these difference are miniscule and not noticeable on the surface, any difference is a catalyst to hate someone.
When I am home, the house is filled with the scent of home-cooked food. There’s Dominic, in the kitchen and cooking as he does when he is stressed. I am not hungry. My stomach hitches and rejects the possibility of taking in heaps of perfectly seasoned food. When Dominic sees me, he gives a wide smile.
“Oh, David, come try this.” He says.
I stare at him, “I’m Chris.”
Dominic stops and freezes like he’s nothing but a picture. This is how he gets when charm fails and falls. He builds up his stamina and recollects himself, “You all look so much alike.”
I ignore him and step up the stairs with my head already far above the clouds, but barely above the water. There is something about home that feels alien. Every time I come here I feel the need to adjust. Why?

I would go outside but Harvey is riding along my street in his junkyard-bound car. I think he is looking for me, because he doesn’t know anyone else in this neighborhood. Only real old people live over here. Luckily, Dominic is home so I don’t have anything to worry about.
Dominic is talking to me about Chris. Apparently, Chris is on drugs because all he does is homework and comes home to sleep.
“You can’t be like that, you’re the smart one, right?” Dominic asks.
Dominic is hardly over six years older than us but he always confuses us for some reason. “I’m the dumb one.” I remind him.

“No, don’t say that.”

“It’s true though.” I look over Dominic’s shoulder and I see Harvey standing outside my house with a weird smile on his face. His car is in the middle of the street, like he isn’t threatened by anyone at all. I scoot over so he can’t see me behind the curtain. Fortunately, we have a gate so there isn’t a way to get in. Still, I don’t like this weird feeling I keep getting in my chest as Harvey glowers at me.

“Dominic, why does everyone hate our family?” I ask.

He shrugs his wide shoulders and he sits so his arm is against the arm of the couch. “Are people still giving you a hard time for that? It was just because when dad moved here he bought out some of the smaller, local businesses. Some of them went bankrupt because of that, y’know. So sometimes people get mad.” I feel sort of bad for everyone losing their stores and all, so I calm down and try to understand Harvey, he’s probably mad at dad and he won’t bother me.
I run after David who is already heading outside even though it is earlier than he usually wakes up. I know that he will yell at me if I follow him, but I know that Harvey won’t bother me if I am with David. David used to fight in school every week, one time he caused this kid Joey to get a concussion, so everyone thought he was evil. After he started wearing black and eyeliner, people started to think that he was gothic or something. Now he wears crazy things and is an artist, and people are more afraid of him then other because they don’t know what to think of him. He is untouchable because people think he is crazy enough to be a psycho.
He isn’t.

“What do you want?” David says. He has a light mustache now. I should try to grow one out. I put my hand on my upper lip, but don’t feel even a 5 o’ clock shadow.

“I just want to come with you.” I say. I hope he can’t tell that my voice is shaking. I try to hide it but it’s really hard because there is a lump in my throat.

“You’re almost 19, do things on your own.” He says.
Yeah right, I need to get some muscles if I want to go anywhere on my own.

David gets in Dominic’s car, even though he isn’t even allowed to drive after Chris blamed the car crash on him. But Dominic probably doesn’t even know that David can’t drive; he never comes home anymore. I think it is because his girlfriend Veronica doesn’t like it when he goes out of town. She’s a professional cheerleader, but she’s not even that hot and she seems obsessive. David says to steer clear of those ones, because they are the most insecure.

I’ve never had a serious girlfriend, and now I figure I might as well get one. Its too tiring trying to be someone else all of the time and trying to be smart when I’m not. My dad says, know your strengths and weaknesses. But what if I am all weaknesses and no strength?

If Peter doesn’t leave me the f*** alone I don’t know what I am going to do. He never does anything on his own; he is scared at his own shadow. His eyes are always wide, so he looks like a child sometimes. Ever since he started his job for more independence it is getting worse. He is attached to me like his is my kid or something. So f*ing annoying. And Chris is on crystal meth, crack or something because all he does is sleep. He doesn’t even eat anymore so he sort he looks like some sort of scarecrow. I hate my brothers so much. I hate them with a passion every day of the week. I turn the engine off and zone out of a minute. I am going to get a tattoo today; I lost a bet at the bonfire. Sucks. I don’t want Peter to call mom and tell her. It’s okay legally, but mom will die if she thinks that I am on drugs with Chris. You would think that she would be happy enough to just have Peter and let the two of us become failures, but even she knows that Peter is a loser. The parlor is beside this thrift shop, so the area has this nice grungy vibe. I like it too much; I wish I did not live in Mr. Clean City. Chris comes here all the time with Cameron, but it’s easy for him not to get mugged because he already looks like a living corpse. If I really want to be an artist, I have to save some money to get supplies and s*** like that. I can’t get jumped every week. We walk into the parlor and Peter walks beside me. “I am going to get one too.” I scoff, “Yeah, right.” “No, I’m serious. I want to be like you. I want to be someone else.” Peter says. He seems so desperate; there is a fearful look in his eyes. It is like he is scared of himself and everyone around him. I should tell him that being an asshole like me is still a reason to be afraid, but I don’t. I smile. “I thought you were following Chris.” He grimaces, “I can’t. He never talks to me so it’s too hard, he only helps me sometimes and I can’t be as smart as him anyway, but maybe I can learn to be different in another way.” I doubt that Peter will be anything but Peter, but false hopes can sometimes make people happier. So whatever. I bet he’s going to look like such a poser with a tattoo. That hardly matters; he’s such a f*ing loser that anything else will make him look better. It’s better to be a poser than a punching bag. I look over the tattoos and smile.

Peter has a tattoo of the word ‘P.Nis’ on his lower, inner lip and when he displays this triumph to me I can only freeze, even in the darkness of my bedroom I can see how awful it looks. David raises his eyebrows at me, making sure that I do not tell Peter that P.Nis is not a synonym for gangster, but a synonym for male genitalia. I laugh at this situation, there are no other reactions left for me to use whenever David does something cruelly stupid.

“Did you get a P.Nis tattoo?” I ask David.

“Wait, a what what?”

“P.Nis?” Peter yells. “Like penis?”

David fails at attempting to stifle his bubbling laughter and he bursts into hysterics. I do not laugh this time; I have deducted that Peter has severe dyslexia so it is obvious that he would not understand the joke unless someone said it out loud. I cannot comprehend what makes David do these pranks; he is generally a nice person but has a crude sense of humor.

Peter scrunches his red face into the usual unusual expression and storms out of the room as if someone pushed him out. He cannot tell anyone of this excursion, so he is stuck with the secret P.Nis in his mouth.

David’s tattoo is a Japanese symbol for humility on his arm. It is sort of blurry, as if it was done with weak ink. I do not say this and nod as if I find this interesting. It is not interesting but I am happy that Peter has transferred his irritating abilities to someone else. David sits on my bed.

“So what are you taking, speed, coke, acid?” He asks.

I laugh and cover my face. “Nothing. I’m just..”

“Just what?” He asks.

“I guess..” my words gather in my mind but do not come out of my mouth. Instead they stumble and jumble until they are incoherent. I do not know how I am supposed to tell him. “I am sort of.. depressed.”

David does not speak; instead he adjusts into the shadows so I can only see the curvature of his face and nothing else. I do not know what I am expecting to come from his mouth. There are no words that can change anything at this point. Although, I would like my life to become simple – it’s never that clear cut.

“Since when.” David asks.

That is a lovely question, isn’t it? I guess these feelings of worthlessness started somewhere and simply began to spiral until it engulfed all my thoughts. When? It has been like this for a while. I can be eating and suddenly I think that I should die. When? I can be sleeping and suddenly awake with this suspicion that my world will carry on smoothly without me. No one has been able to convince me otherwise.

I can’t even look at the inside of my mouth anymore. If I have a dentist appointment, I won’t go. I will just have rotten teeth for the rest of my life. I hate David and I hate Chris. I’d rather die than talk to them. So I will just wait for Harvey to beat me up. It’s Monday so he probably will take it out on me at work. Oh well.

I suck at being a waiter. I don’t know why I even chose this job. It’s so hard to talk to the costumers, and some of them dislike me on sight. I am waiting this table with a couple. The blonde lady is looking at me like I am some sort of alien. I feel like she can see straight through my skin and at the tattoo.

“You have some pen on your face.” She says. She has red lipstick. She’s pretty.

“Are you going to stare at us or take our order, son?” The man asks.

I didn’t realize I was staring so I stumble backwards and head over to the kitchen. I usually see Harvey but it seems he isn’t in today. I am so relieved that I think that this day is going to go way better than usual. When Harvey isn’t here his friends should not hate me as much. I sigh and put the order in the back and grab some mustard for table 3.

I go back to get the food but the cook calls me back. He is frowning like something is wrong so I walk back. “So you got Harvey fired, huh? What are you trying to do, bankrupt the whole town?”

“I didn’t mean to.”

“Well you did it, didn’t you.” He scoffs. He pushes my order to me and I am disoriented. “Table 5.”

I rush back to table 5 and start to run away, I am already behind on orders because of getting yelled at from Roy. The table calls me back.

“I asked for pickles.”

Another table shouts, “I need some fries, not salad!” A lady screams.

It seems like six different tables are yelling at me, and it’s a slow day so I do not understand what I am doing wrong. I am quick to correct what I did wrong, but Roy isn’t paying attention when I ask him to get the food. He is cooking something else, I guess, so I do what I can and just apologize. When Roy looks at me, he doesn’t do anything about my food and goes back to the other station. There are other cooks but they do not even look over their shoulders. I can see that these people are going to complain, so I try to take the fries by myself, but I burn my fingers.

When I get back to my tables with the correct order, my manager is already fixing the problems that I have created.

“You’re fired.” He says.

I am home early. No one is here but mom. She’s on the couch and sleeping although it is the middle of the afternoon. I don’t have classes until tonight, so I figure I can talk to her later. All she ever asks me is how’s school. Of course, school is never ever good.

I go to the bathroom and splash water on my face, letting it drip as I stare at myself. I get it too. Why would anyone bother to be nice to such a failure? It doesn’t matter if I try or not, if I fail, that is just the end result. Results are more important than the process. Shouldn’t I know that by now?

I look at my reflection and pull my lower lip down to reveal my tattoo. I stare at it. It is unbelievable that I couldn’t tell what it was. I must really be stupid.

My mom bursts in the bathroom and stares at me, “Oh you’re home.”

Like an idiot, I stand there still exposing the tattoo, completely frozen.

“What is that on your lip?”


My mother comes over and puts her hands on my face like a mother can and says, “Show me.”

I stand very still and show her.

“Penis?” She shouts.

My mom stares at me like I am crazy. She has half a smirk on her face, but I can tell that it will be replaced with anger in no time. When she starts to become less of a person and more of a mom she places her hands on her hips.

“How did this happen?”

“M-mom, I, uh.”

She looks cross, “Tell me. Now. If you don’t, I will personally burn that tattoo.”

“I went to the parlor with-“

“It’s David.” She says flatly. “It’s always David.”

We go downstairs and wait for David to come home. He’s at an art exhibit, I try to tell mom but she doesn’t really care. Moms have their own powers, it seems, and she holds her anger for a full hour until we see a cab pull into the driveway. My mom gives a satisfied chuckle and heads towards the door, arms crossed. When David opens the door, she is right there to greet him. He shifts his eyes between the two of us and it seems like he knows exactly what’s happening.

“F*** you, Peter!” He shouts, trying to walk passed mom.

“Both of you sit down.”

I sit right on the couch as soon as she says so. I think David is having a telepathic battle with her because he just stares at her like he can melt her with lasers in his eyes.

“How did this happen?”

David rolls his eyes. “I’m an adult, I don’t have to explain anything to you.”

“David, come on.” I beg.

My mom looks at me. “Don’t think you’re getting off. You’re the one who let that be written permanently on your body. What were you thinking? Are you stupid? I swear you always do things like this. Think for yourself. If David jumped off a bridge, would you?”

“Probably.” Chris says. He always finds a way to edge into these sorts of things.

“Stay out of this, Chris.” My mother replies.

“I just don’t think you should call Peter stupid. It’s obvious he has a disability with reading.”

Mother turns to him, “Stop saying things like that. Peter’s problem is he doesn’t apply himself.”

“It’s not his fault. Peter studies seven hours every night. He applies himself all the time but the best he can do is a D. He needs help.”

My mom just walks away from us. “No. You all need help. Just take care of yourselves. Alone.”

Mom just gave up like that. I hear her footsteps as they slam on the floors above us. She never likes to talk about us. She always leaves us when all three of us get involved. I don’t think she can handle all of us at once. Especially since dad is always out. I guess she just has a handful. It’s not her fault.

Chris and I are in the backyard with Cameron and his cousin Shay. Dad says we’re not allowed to go anywhere and if we do, he’ll cancel our credit cards. It’s all right, though, I really like Shay. She has black hair that cascades down her back and beautiful big brown eyes. She smiles as she swings on the chair in the backyard, and I feel like I am in love with her. I can’t be, of course, but when she smiles with a dimple in her cheek I feel like she has to be mine. I don’t think she even likes me, but I have an offbeat way of picking to go after girls who don’t even want me. It’s nice out for once, it isn’t hot as balls and I’m eating so I am pretty happy. That’s all Dominic is good for, feeding people. Chris still looks depressed, but I do not think that can get better that quickly. I never really knew he hated himself and everything so much, I only could see that he was intelligent and had many people willing to do anything to be seen by him. Chris said that he just wants to sleep forever. “What do you do all day in this huge house?” Shay asks, turning in the chair so I almost am unable to see her. “Nothing at all.” Chris drones. “We never do anything.” Shay giggles awkwardly because she probably doesn’t know what else to say to him. I have nothing to do but try to lighten the mood, or everyone will be able to tell that we have problems. “I really got fired.” Peter hollered. “Fired.” He runs over to us as if he wants to kill someone. “How?” An amused Cameron replies. “It was Harvey and those guys. I came in today and they kicked me out.” “Stop complaining.” I say to him, but I don’t mean it. I do not f*ing mean a single twisted word I am saying because I can feel that I am becoming angry. It’s like my own body is imploding and I can only wait to see if I really do explode. Cameron snickers. “He’s such a freak, though.” I am at the edge of my seat, if he wasn’t Chris’ friend, I would punch him in the face.

I drive Peter to school and he is still completely distressed, he sits in the seat and wrings his shaking hands around the seat-belt. I do not know why he is reacting like that, but I simply turn up the radio until it I can drown his worries out and focus on the thrashing beats of a crappy Top 40 station.

Peter rushes into school as if he is in high school again and he will be late to class and acquire a detention slip. I slink behind him and observe the world around me. The blue sky is flat, some people may look at it and think that it is above them, but at times I feel like I am a part of the air. Nobody. Nothing.

Peter and I are majoring in business; father told us it was the best course. I do not want any sort of business, I cannot handle any business, not even my own. I feel like I am drowning with every class I take, I am capable of learning but I cannot find enough of my mind to focus on it. I keep passing and scathing by, but scars of disinterest scald me.

I used to think that something dramatic could change how I think, that I could fall in love with a mysterious girl and find happiness. Unfortunately that girl likes other girls, and no one else wants to give me half a chance. Why would someone have any interest in a guy that everyone assumes is drugged?

It’s the last test of this class, and Peter has started cheating, he never would have tried it before but I presume that his P.Nis tattoo gave him some much-needed bravado. He is terrible at concealing what he is doing; anyone can tell that he is cheating as his actions come only a couple seconds delayed after mine. The teacher is Professor Frisbie so he does nothing but read some novel and pretend to pay any sort of attention to us. For the written portion, I slide my paper over to Peter who nervously takes down the answers. He crosses his arms and mumbles something after the test, and puts his head down on the table. He must be sick because he is shaking as if he has the chills in 98-degree weather.

Harvey says to meet him at the pier, alone, but he says he will forgive me. I was so nervous that I forgot to study, but Chris gives me the answers so I am all right for now; but I feel dirty like I don’t bathe or something because I cheated. I usually study all night, that’s why I’m all pale and gross looking, and I study at lunch so people are always asking if I am sick or if I eat. I ask Chris to drive me to the pier and he eventually agrees after he is done reading our section of the textbook. Chris always reads the textbooks ahead so he is able to pass the tests easily without having to try during the semester. I watch and he flips the last page back and forth to make his mind if he is finished or something. He is really strange in the way; he always double-checks everything, even when he doesn’t care at all. We drive and Chris seems to be in a better mood than usual. David told me that he was depressed, but I wonder if that is true. I just think he has a lot going on in his mind, I think all smart people are probably like that. I sit in my usual seat, but Chris lets me change the station this time. “Chris, what happened to you?” He swerves the car over to the left, “What do you mean?” “I mean, what happened to all of us?” He sighs. “We used to be so happy and so close. Now we all are f*ing disappearing.” He looks at me like I am crazy, “Stop hanging out with David, he’s rubbing off on you.” “That’s not it, I mean it. We used to be so happy and crazy. We used to dress the same and everything but now we don’t do anything. You’re depressed, I’m retarded and David’s psycho.” “You aren’t retarded, Peter. You’re better than most of the people I know.” That moment I remembered that I had the best brothers in the world. I smiled again like I was crazy, so crazy and looked at Harvey at the end of the rocks in the beach. “See you, bro.”

Shay and I are at the amusement park; she places her head on my shoulder and laces her warm hand around mine. She has a nice smile, so I am trying to make her show it as much as possible. I won her a stuffed panda; she is holding it so the marbled eyes peer out at me now and then. She laughs because I those kind of things and creepy stuffed animals. If I like her smile, then I can honestly say that I love her laugh. “Let’s go on the Ferris wheel.” She exclaims, pulling me along as if she could possibly drag me with her scrawny arms. I head towards it and watch as other guys look at us, I give them a look – they should probably f*ing turn their heads unless they want to get hurt. As of now, I am pretty sure that Shay is mine and I belong to her. I want it like that always. “It’s so high.” She squeals. “Yeah, but it is so slow, so it isn’t scary at all.” She smiles as if I had given her the best advice in the world. She brushes her hair out of her eyes and we scoot into the cart. I try to be careful because I am tall and completely capable of swaying the cart too much, causing us to plummet to our death… there goes our first date. We are hanging at the highest point, overlooking the park when Chris calls me. I try to ignore it, but I notice I have 24 missed calls so I pull away from Shay. “What do you want?” I say into the receiver.

His lips are blue and canyon cracked, face drained of pigment. His body is slumped into the crevices of rock; part his head slumped into the water. I have never seen this before, something so surreal has never happened in my life. Part of my mind tells me that he cannot be dead; it tells me that there is no blood so he is alive. Another part is screaming that his face is blank and he has no pulse. My hands are trembling as I edge towards Peter, all of the energy gone from his eyes. This cannot be Peter, how could it be, Peter smiles, laughs, he is full of excitement. This is not real, no, this is a dream and it cannot be what my life is. I touch his skin; it is moist with seawater, but cold as if he is simply an object and not a human being. His eyes are bulging, his face is familiar yet completely diffracted and disfigured. I am faint, but I am still near Peter. I am weeping and I can only hear his voice in my head, I am seeing him smile after a simple compliment or grin. Peter was the only one of us that had a chance, but he does not have it any longer, and it is our fault. Dave runs towards me, it is strange how he is able to find me sitting and curled over my brother’s corpse. He runs as fast as he can in the sand, standing behind me with his hand clamped over his mouth. “S***! S***!” He screams, “What do we do? S***!” I wipe at my forever-leaking eyes with my forearm. “He’s been like this for 24 hours. He is dead. I dropped him off yesterday.” “Why?” He asks, while searching my face as if it will give him a better answer than my words could. He is completely dilapidated and I have never seen David look so completely crushed in my life. Seeing his face and making eye contact seems even worse than anything, so I start to sob. “H-he wanted to meet Harvey.” I mumble. David lifts his head and glares at me until it seems as if I am unable to gather my breath. He is a predator and somehow I have become the pathetic prey. “You f*ing left him with that maniac? What the f*** were you thinking. You asshole. You killed him! You killed him!” I put my hands over my ears but I can still hear as David screams that I am a murderer. “You’re too stuck in your own troubles to realize that you could have saved him there. He died alone.” I stand up. “You don’t know if they killed him.” It’s on the news. My brother drowned and died on Tuesday, April 23rd. His lips are blue and canyon cracked, face drained of pigment. His body is slumped into the crevices of rock; part his head slumped into the water. I have never seen this before, something so surreal has never happened in my life. Part of my mind tells me that he cannot be dead; it tells me that there is no blood so he is alive. Another part is screaming that his face is blank and he has no pulse. My hands are trembling as I edge towards Peter, all of the energy gone from his eyes. This cannot be Peter, how could it be, Peter smiles, laughs, he is full of excitement. This is not real, no, this is a dream and it cannot be what my life is. I touch his skin; it is moist with seawater, but cold as if he is simply an object and not a human being. His eyes are bulging, his face is familiar yet completely diffracted and disfigured. I am faint, but I am still near Peter. I am weeping and I can only hear his voice in my head, I am seeing him smile after a simple compliment or grin. Peter was the only one of us that had a chance, but he does not have it any longer, and it is our fault. Dave runs towards me, it is strange how he is able to find me sitting and curled over my brother’s corpse. He runs as fast as he can in the sand, standing behind me with his hand clamped over his mouth. “S***! S***!” He screams, “What do we do? S***!” I wipe at my forever-leaking eyes with my forearm. “He’s been like this for 24 hours. He is dead. I dropped him off yesterday.” “Why?” He asks, while searching my face as if it will give him a better answer than my words could. He is completely dilapidated and I have never seen David look so completely crushed in my life. Seeing his face and making eye contact seems even worse than anything, so I start to sob. “H-he wanted to meet Harvey.” I mumble. David lifts his head and glares at me until it seems as if I am unable to gather my breath. He is a predator and somehow I have become the pathetic prey. “You f*ing left him with that maniac? What the f*** were you thinking. You asshole. You killed him! You killed him!” I put my hands over my ears but I can still hear as David screams that I am a murderer. “You’re too stuck in your own troubles to realize that you could have saved him there. He died alone.” I stand up. “You don’t know if they killed him.” It’s on the news. My brother drowned and died on Tuesday, April 23rd.

I have the gun that my dad uses for hunting in my left hand. My dad told me that I can only hunt game under supervision, but this game is different and I will f*ing kill to kill this kind of animal. The police will take to long, they think it was done by thugs, but I know who it was and I will not wait until they make a decision to put someone in jail. No, I will make the f*ing decision. I am riding Dominic’s car, my head still hurts from not sleeping and screaming and hating and running away. The car is not fast enough, it seems that the more I press my foot on the acceleration the slower I am moving. I just want to find that son of a b**** and end his life like he ended ours. My eyes are all blurry because they keep watering, but I know that crying can’t solve anything like bullets do. The streets double and it seems as if there are three roads in front of me when there should only truly be one. The yellow line across the street waves and dips, I try to control the steering wheel but it is impossible. My knuckles are blank white, and my hands are a vicious red. But then, I see Harvey walking down Main Street; I pull my car over to the side of the road and slowly drive beside him. He doesn’t notice until I road my window down and nod towards him. He turns around. His friend’s chuckle when they see me, walking ahead like nothing really matters. “I already talked to the police. What do you want?” Harvey spits, walking alongside the silver car, completely relaxed. I hate that f*ing satisfied, arrogant expression on his face. I hate it so f*ing much. “Just get in, I want to ask you something.” He hesitates, but slides into the passenger’s seat confidently. He has his hair brushed back and he’s wearing his work uniform. “A spot opened up at Cornerstone. Someone didn’t show up for their shift.” He laughs. I try to steady the car, but it seems we just keep veering off the road and into the middle of the street. I can hardly see with my vision so blurred. With Harvey still spitting nonsense in my ear, I can hardly resist my own mind racing off with thoughts that are no relevant to running a car. I don’t give a s*** about a license to drive, but I sure do want one to kill. “Don’t ruin this expensive car. Your daddy may have bought you everything, but you can’t bring back the dead.” He says. I look at him from the corner of my eye, “You shut up. I’ll kill you.” “What? Like I killed Peter? I took a rock and I beat his pathetic face until it was unrecognizable. I held him under the water and he was screaming so hard. Too bad the water washed the blood away. But at least he looked better that normal.” “What the f*** did you just say?” “And you know what? He was calling out your names the whole time.” “What?” I reach over for my gun that is placed neatly under my seat.

It has been a couple of weeks since Peter and David died. It is quiet, almost like the two of them haven’t existed. It was as if after David and Harvey’s remains were pulled from the wreckage, that our circle had closed and that none of us matter any more. Minutes turn into hours, hours melt into days and I am living on a sickening autopilot. I wake up, go to class, come home and do it all over again. I feel like I am suffocating and drowning under the pressure of an overwhelming ocean.
I think that I am supposed to be over it by now, my father has already told me to deviate from my schedule and get out again. I try so hard, I get out of my room and overlook the emptiness of our large house and then get a sickening feeling in my stomach. The more I attempt to pretend, the less I want to live in a place like this.
It’s Sunday, my mother calls me from the hallway. I pluck open my stick eyes and get to my feet; a pounding headache invites itself in like it has been doing for several weeks now. My mother is in Peter’s room, sitting on the floor with tired eyes and a weakened expression.
“Chris, I can’t do this anymore.” She says, looking at the wall that is covered in pale pink paint. “I was never really artistic.” She laughs.
I do what I usually do and nod silently. She gazes at me for a while, prompting me for a response. This has always been Peter’s room, the brightest room in the house, but as she puts the paint on the wall and strips away furniture, the magic of this room vanishes.
“I am thinking of turning this room into the playroom. I don’t know why I decided to do this myself. Can you call a couple places to see if they can finish it?” My mother stands and rushes out of the room, as if she doesn’t remember who Peter is.
I cough, “Mom.”
She stops and swivels on her heal to turn towards me. Her hair is perfect and she is wearing a white silk dress, while I can hardly even get up in the morning. I do not understand. “What?” She asks.
“This is Peter’s room. Mom. It’s his.” I tell her.
She gives a slight and uneasy laugh, “Chris, Peter is not here anymore.”
“So? Why does Sara need this room? We have plenty of room in this house? Why?”
My mom stares at me blankly, not a hint of emotion playing across her face “You guys took up three rooms and Sara was always left out. I just want to give her a place all her own.”
“Mom. David is gone. Peter is gone. She has all of the house now, like always.”
She puts her hands on her hips, “I understand you are upset about what happened, but so is Sara. You’re acting like you’re dead. You have to be there for us too. You’re the only one left.”
“The only one of what mom?” I yell, “Of what?”
She walks towards me slowly, her steps light and soft. My mom puts her hands on my shoulder, “The three of you were always codependent. Always together, speaking in tongues and gestures none of us could understand. Maybe this is fate telling us that you need to be independent. You need to be an individual.” It’s like she is glad about this.
“Mom. Peter was killed. You don’t even care. David is dead from trying save him!” I yell. “Don’t you even know what happened?”
My mother crosses her arms, “The police said it was an accident. You don’t know everything.” She can argue with me, there is only one of me now. She grins smugly.
“An accident? Peter was drowned!” I scream.
My voice is still echoing when my mom yells, “No he wasn’t! And then you’re brother has the nerve to bring Harvey into this. I can’t even go outside without getting stares and looks. Everyone knows me, Chris. Now they all can’t stand to see me. My son almost killed Harvey.”
“Mom this isn’t about you or Harvey. Harvey killed-“
And she has the audacity to say; “I do feel sorry for that Harvey, after all our family’s done to him.”
I answer, “He killed Peter.”
She shrugs, “There is no evidence to that. Your dad did everything he could to overtake that poor kid’s family. He stole their store just so he could move his locations beach side. Afterwards, his family was so poor they couldn’t afford to keep him. Now the poor kid is in a coma. And it is your brother’s fault.”
I back out of the room, staring at her. “No we’re both wrong. This is your fault.”
I look at her in despair, my breathing shallow. My mother does not think of us any longer, she is still busy with Sara and Dominic. On the day they found David, mangled and blood in his flipped Mercedes, she did not even make a sound. I had foolishly assumed that she still cared within the deepest corners of her mind. She doesn’t care.

Even Shay forgot David’s name, Trinity does not even bother to come over. It seems as if it is truly over, we have diverged into the end of the circle. The only one left is me; so I will disappear.

As I stand on a stool, I see the curves of the rope, outlined by the pale moonlight.

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