Warning: This work has been rated 16+ for language.
Lesson 3: Brother
I had just managed to count fifty-two colorful dots in my vision, and I was trying to decide when it would be appropriate to open my eyes to the world again. Those thoughts were placed on hiatus, for I was in the middle of contemplating a third aspirin. The wash cloth adorning my forehead was making my pillow wetter than my desired target, but I guess that’s what today was all about: missing targets.
God, my eyes burned.
Well, at least I was in a better state than previously, which consisted of me heaped in a hurtled position as I cried until sadness turned to fear of vomiting. This is why I gave up on love, romance, and men a long time ago.In the end, someone always got, and will always get hurt. The rest is self-explanatory.
I sighed, heaving my body to its side so that I faced away from the locked door of my room and tried to bind my pillow and me into one being. The only thing I could count on was that I’d gone through this before, and I had survived. And I was happy. I mean, I was happy with Duane. At one time. Before awareness made its obnoxiously, unwelcomed entrance to my pity party.
And with that, every thought still encompassed Duane. I'd look at something, he’d claim it. I would somber up, he would drug me back to submission. Yet, in this misery, the only solace I could find was in my reminiscence of Duane. My Duane. The boy whom I loved that loved someone else. No, not someone else. One of them.
No matter how many times I replayed the eye scarring scenes, I could not get the little tiny detail of an unfortunately true fact to stop clicking in my head: Duane was gay. Even with all the deluded evidence I used to try to convince myself otherwise, they obviously claimed this godly boy with a flash mob of glitter and nude beaches. I could feel another wave of nausea passing by to suffice for retired tears. Despite the deplorable necessity to find solace in a pillow, I couldn't find myself cursing the day I meet him. I wanted him. I want him. I will always want him. But he wanted ‘Rodney‘.
My hermitic ways were disturbed when I heard an irritably, harsh knock from my door. I cringed, knowing it could only be my brother, Shane. Ever since our eldest brother, Owen, had decided to study aboard in some off-chain country in the Europe-land, he left his car here along with his keys that Shane immediately took since our parents found him too irresponsible to have his own vehicle and, although he's a year older than me, they're currently paying mine off. Every day after school, he would hang out at his friends’ house and return home at five, with some occasional chaperon help from his douche-y excuse for friends, because apparently they had some weird carpool thing going on. Honestly, all I know is dad never missed an opportunity to chastise Shane for one of his many brilliant plans.
I had completely forgotten his existence and I was beginning to wish I had chosen to stick it out with Duane. His irksome, whiny voice spoke, "Kamber, what the hell have you been doing for the past four hours? There's no food on the table and I'm hungry!"
In my usual mood, I would have blown him off with well-mannered insults, but all I could manage was a feeble dismissal wave to my still locked door. When he called my name a second time, I gave my face a break from being smothered as I groaned out, "I'm busy."
"That doesn't change the fact that I'm hungry." Of course, the block head was too dense to consider a little empathy.
I snapped groggily from my pillow, "Then make a TV dinner."
"Or you could just get your ass back to the kitchen where it belongs.“ I was already at the door, almost tearing it at the hinges as I opened it, by the time he finished that sentence.
As if I wasn’t pissed enough, in the hallway I found not just my brother, but my brother nonchalantly pre-occupied with his phone and in mid-text. Almost like as if he totally hadn’t just recently been invading my private space and throwing gender slurs. I was in complete disgust, and, honestly, I wasn’t even feeling up to fighting with him anymore. That and the fact that I wasn't in the mood to deal with anyone possessing a Y-chromosome. I clenched the pillow at my side.
“Shane Oliver Blackley. You are the most worst person on the face of the planet and the only reason I would’ve approved of abortion.”
“Kamber Marie Blackley. It’s called a joke and you need to take a fucking chill pill, you over-dramatic--.”
Of course he would catch the pillow I sent hurtling toward his face. Tucking it under his arm, he returned to his phone.
“You know, ignoring me on your ‘hipster phone’--which you totally don’t deserve by the way--isn’t going to make me make diner.”
“I know. You getting to the--.”
“Don’t! Even think of finishing that,” I growled.
“Okay, that time you just walked into that.”
“Shut up. And just who the heck are you texting?”
Shane quickly flipped his phone at me. “I’m not. Sudoku.”
That was the last straw. Grabbing his phone, I tossed it, getting a 'what the hell' from Shane. Storming back into my room, I closed and locked the door, then proceeded to fling my body into a catharsis upon my bed. After a string of obscenities, I was quickly reminded that my lock continued to be un-fixed. I turned around to face him, feeling very self-conscious of where I was sitting as he was storming toward me with a cracked screen in hand.
One too many steps into my safe-haven, I jumped to my feet and tried to get him to retrace his steps with my body weight. “Get out of my room!”
“You broke my fucking phone! Do you know how expensive this shit is!? What the fuck am I gonna tell Denis!?”
“GET OUT! GET OUT! GET OUT!” I was screeching at this point.
And we did this for a good while, neither one of us getting what we wanted. Eventually desperation kicked in and I grabbed his phone again, hoping he was good at fetch. I just barely had a grip on his phone when he captured my wrist to salvage what was left of the device. Now the yelling was focused on the intent of getting the other to relinquish the cellular garbage. It turned out my eyes weren’t the only things discharging liquids as my hand slipped and we gained a considerable good distance away from one another.
We both found our oxygen thick as gravy as we tried to refill our lungs, and I was so occupied with that task that I neglected to notice that my tears had erupted out of retirement. Too preoccupied with the previous queued tasks, I couldn’t even think about thinking about thinking. His phone now rested on my dresser by the door and I was grateful he hadn’t budged an inch past that.
“I won’t tell them,” Shane spoke.
“I don’t care about your phone.”
He sucked air through his exposed teeth and glanced as the ruined remains. “Yeah, got that.”
“No, I’m sorry about that. I mean you can tell dad.”
He looked at me and I wished I was invisible. “Yeah…got that.”
Hitting another dry spell, any remaining droplets were seeking refuge at my lower eyelids. A few runaways succumbed to gravity and my quick swipe at them was enough to exfoliate. “You’re a selfish prick…this has nothing to do with you.”
Any remaining decency washed away with the color from his face. His gaze never left my person and he was concentrating on me far more than necessary. I grasped at the material at my elbow and tried to pretend I was wearing a parka. When no parka appeared (shocker, I know), I endeavored to give his face a glare, only to give the remnants of it to the wall to the side of him after barely meeting his gaze.
“Kamber.” No. “Tell me.” No nono. “What did he do?”
“He didn’t do anything.” Except jump ship behind my back.
"Well, someone did something."
"Duane didn't do anything. I didn't do anything. We were just us and apparently too much of it." That sounded less stupid in my head.
Shane blinked. “So, this is about Duane.”
“Yes.” Who else did he mean by 'he'?
He scratched his neck as if it harbored a recently acquired burden. “Y’know…he’s--.”
He glanced at his phone and ran a hand over the crack. I wasn't giving him a second apology, even if I was a terrible person.
“You know," He said, still molesting his phone,"If you’re really desperate, I can set you up with one of my friends.”
“Your friends are more of a prick than you.”
“So why would I want them if I don’t want you?”
I wasn’t really sure if I wanted to say that or not, but I did.
Shane started doing that thing I realized I really hated. Then he looked away.
His phone was face down on the dresser and suffering abuse by Shane's middle finger. The abuser was alternating between which cheek he wanted to suck on more. To be honest, I was kinda starting to think maybe I really didn't mean to say that anymore.
He turned to do that thing I hated again. This time glaring.
"What?" I instigated, kinda feeling guilty.
"Just for the record, you weren't even that good."
I didn't even have a second to digest. He just dropped the bomb and ditched my room by banging my door shut behind him.
I was never so pissed to see a door recoil open in my entire life.
I inhaled, hoping to Kirby an insult. All I got was the moisture in the air.
A fraction of me wanted to close the door, but a fear of him still outside the door, fractured phone in hand, kept me away. The reasonable thing to do was to sit back on my bed and cry. Or go for broke and scream obscenities at the open door.
I did neither. I stood there and my body wouldn't stop shaking. It didn't matter how 'good' I was. It didn't matter that it was disturbing that he still thought of it like that. What mattered was that I had given him my moral, character, and pain. And I was just told it meant nothing.
I was doomed to cry for eternity.