I am sitting in the beige armchair in our living room. It is old and very out of place in the new modern-furnished room. The worn upholstery that was once covered with a soft micro-fleece, continues to scratch and nip at my legs. With my feet tucked beneath me steadily growing numb, I stare into the contents of a microwave-safe bowl. The burnt, stiff mess that was supposed to be my macaroni covered with cheese, was now covered in an almost fetus-like film of boiled cheese. I just continue to stare at the monstrosity. I am nearly amused at how the light reflects sickly off the opaque burnt-snot cheese covering my hard noodles.
And it was a Sunday night. me home alone on this last, depressing day of the weekend. But I wasn’t alone due to some miracle enabling me to relax and watch MY shows no one else likes (PBS). But in fact it was a night where I was left alone due to unhappy circumstances and a cubbard filled with two cans of tomato paste and instant dry noodles containing a thing of powdered cheese inside the package. The kind of night home alone that made you talk to yourself because you had something weighing down on you that you needed to expell in some way. And where you tried to busy yourself into being productive by examining noises around your home.
The terribly stressful circumstances by which I was left alone were thick in the air. Only because my sweat fears seemed to permiate off my skin into the artifically-heated living room. My brother had been gone for nearly 23 hours now.
He insisted on taking the dog on a walk, and never showed back up. On his own accord, of course. He recently had been in the mindset of running away for a while and not coming home. Untill he fucked up so bad, he didn’t want to come home and we had to pin him into the backseat of the car. Our town is small you see, and it’s pretty hard to hide for too long. Especially now, when he held the safety and comfort of my dog with him.
The dog never liked him. We recieved her from the shelter and she was very, very timid. The workers explained that she was taken from her home by her previous owners’ neighbors who called serveral times of abuse toward the puppy, but never got anything done. So this 8-month old mutt we now owned was scared of my brother who made sport out of hiding under his over-sized hood and jumping out at her. She hated walks with him, but we made them happen anyways. And while I was only slightly worried about my brother’s safety (I figured he’d be fine, like always), but my dog has a thin coat and he wouldn’t think to feed her.
Anyways, they had been gone all night and it was about nighttime the next day, now. I hadn’t slept at my campout because there was frost on the foot-end of my sleeping bag and my scalp had nearly caught fire in the night. I dind’t sleep a wink. Then I didn’t sleep all night last night due to the sudden, yet not entirely unexpected disappearance of my brother. And so, about 3 days straight with no sleep, I am staring in disgust at my dinner I have eaten half of. Only subconciously because I was multi-tasking. Writing notices all over Facebook asking anyone downtown with theri facy mobile internet access if they had seen him. Waiting and staring. Tired but unab;e to sleep.
Then the most annoying noise in the whole world springs into my ears. It is the noise of a dreaded chatbox appearing on my screen. With the name of one of my friends and a little number 1 beside it. I open it up, hakf-heartidly hoping it’s about my brother.
“Hey, I need to talk to you about something…” It says plainly. Missing the proper grammar tools, however.
“About what?” I type, nearly dazed. And when he finally replies, the noise, I realize, shakes me out of spacy moment.
“Well, I don’t know if you know, but I like you and I was wondering if you felt the same?” I stared at the screen in my stressed and sleep-deprived state. “Of course I like you. We’re friends aren’t we?” I replied a bit confused.
And then as a heart and smiley face appeared in the chat-box. I realized my fatal mistake. Though one of my closest friends had asked me out in the lamest way possible, even though they know full-well who I fancied (and it wasn’t him).
My chest started to hammer to the beat of knowing something bad was about to happen. Knowing someone’s feelings were about to be hurt. Knowing you may have possibly changed your friendship in one sleep-drunk stupor. That stressful beat. When I heard a rattling of my brother’s bedroom window. He was trying to get in and he didn’t know Mum had nailed it shut hours ago. Quickly I hopped up, spilling the puddy-like hardly-edible food all over my lap. But it stuck to nothing, only bounced, and I was okay.
I ran outside in the pouring rain around to the other side of the house. The cold roughness of the sidewalk scraping my feet and the adrenaline pumping through my veins. I was miserable, tired, scared, and stressed. And when he noticed me bracing myself into a run, he began to sprint down the sidewalk. Letting go of my dog’s leash and commanding her to stay.
He had been gone exactly 24 hours and 3 minutes now and my mum was hell-bent out looking for him.
Greatful for the numbing cold of the water, I stepped into as much of a stride as I could manage in my pencile skirt and tackled him in the mud. He struggled and spat curses at me. Ones that I wouldn’t even dare to whisper at his age. And I waited for him to give me a reason to finally relieve the anger that was built up over these days I’m entitled to for rest every week by the law. And how my time over these days was melded together into a juxtapose if what it should be.
And so when he ended up crossing that line with the insults he was spilling at me, I hiked up my skirt enough to not rip it while I held him down.
And I punched him the face.