posted by Broody_4_Cheery
There is a line in one of my fathers books, it goes âbeing brave is not the absence of fear, itâs having the will do go forth in the presence of fearâ in which case I must be pretty brave because honestly I am scared. I wake up scared, I go through the day scared and I eventually fall asleep still shaking with fear. I donât know what to do, what is right or wrong, where to look or turn. I donât know what to say, or think, I am so lost in the indecision that every move I make racks me with fear.
Just walking upstairs makes me question every move Iâve made but I keep going, one step at a time until I reach Sawyerâs old bedroom. Itâs still pretty much the same as what it was before she moved above the garage, itâs not as messy and it doesnât have a million locks. Itâs hard to put a lock on a room with no door, so I donât knock seeing there is nothing to knock on, I just walk straight in.
Sawyer is sitting at the window, a cigarette in her hand and her legs tucked under her, she barely looks at me when I join her.
We sit in silence for a moment and then she says in her dry tone âsame shit, different dayâ and I translate that as Keith is okay for now, nothing has changed. Then she puts out the cigarette before throwing the butt out the window, Sawyer runs a shaky hand through her long blonde hair before whispering âI fucked upâ
I want to say âwhatâs new?â but I donât and she turns to me âit sucks either way you know. You think itâs all on you, that saving him is in your hands and that sucks right but you have no idea what itâs like to not be able to do anything, to have to watch as it all goes to hell and know nothing you do will ever fix it. That sucksâ and Sawyer gives a bitter laugh before reaching for her another cigarette, her hands fumble with lighting it and eventually she just swears and gives up.
Her blue eyes look at me again and for a moment I think sheâs asking me what to do, asking me to somehow fix it all like I have the power she doesnât. I pull my legs up under my chin and wrap my arms around them, and then I reply âhe cries sometimes and I canât make him stop, and he screams and I donât know what to do. But then they tell me what to do, and I do it, and he tells me what to do and I do itâ I stop and look at my sister before adding on âbut it never fixes anythingâ
âAnd this court thing, is that meant to fix it?â she shakes her head and answers her own question, âitâs meant to end it but it wonât, nothing ever will but good luck with thatâ and this time when she goes to light the cigarette it works.
Pointless, this whole thing is pointless.
âSo, whatâd you do?â I ask sitting back against the window and grabbing a cigarette, I donât light it I just put it between my lips and pretend. Sawyer looks at me again and laughs, she takes it out of my mouth and replaces it with her own, itâs only there for a second before she takes it back and puts it between her own lips but itâs long enough to make me cough. I try not to make it too obvious but Sawyer eyes me carefully and I can tell she knows Iâm trying not to choke, she rolls her eyes and answers âpissed off Brookeâ
âMaybe we should make a clubâ I kink my brow but then I close my eyes and sigh, itâs not really funny for long.
I hear Sawyer tap the window, âlooks like Aunt Haley is off, sheâs probably already told Mom youâre home. Lucky she doesnât know thatâs my fault tooâ
With one eye open I observe my sister, sometimes I forget how old she is getting ânothings ever your faultâ
She laughs loudly and twists the cigarette from finger to finger, âeverythingâs my fault didnât you get the memo?â
I look at her in disbelieve, she can be so clueless sometimes, so determined to think the world is out to get her âright, sure, whateverâ I say. Itâs pointless to tell Sawyer otherwise, she wonât listen, she never does.
She fucks up and waits to be blamed, which hello she should be a lot of the time, when she smokes and drinks and pulls her shit she is to blame, I donât know why she acts like it should be someone elseâs fault. And when itâs not her doing she still expects to be blamed, and no matter how we react sheâll always see it that others blame her.
She wonât see the way Mom and Dad constantly defend her, the way they will try to pin it on anyone other than Sawyer. Itâs the friends she hangs out with, or itâs because of trouble with Keith, itâs their fault because they canât be there for her like they want to sometimes even if she is the one pushing them away. Itâs never Sawyerâs fault.
Iâm pretty sure itâs me thatâs gonna get in trouble about today.
That could be an adventure. Iâve never gotten in trouble before well until this whole thing started but so far I havenât been murdered or grounded so the way I see it so far so good.
âYou coming?â Sawyerâs voice breaks me out of my thoughts and I shake myself back to reality. Sawyer now has the window open, her blonde head poking out, she brings her body back inside and turns to me, a daring glint in her blue eyes âso?â
âWhat are you doing?â I practically yell as she slides the window up more.
She replies with a calm âKeith wants to see youâ
I should hate those words, I want to hate those words but I donât, instead relief rushes through me and I follow Sawyer out the window.
This could get me in trouble, but hey, I might as well catch up on twelve years of doing just what Iâm told.
You would think I would hate hospitals but the funny thing is I donât. Iâve spent a lot of my life within these walls, walking these halls, talking to the staff and patients, I know it and it feels like it knows me. I feel safe here, as safe as I do at home in my own bed. That is what this place is for me â itâs my second home.
It takes ten minutes to find Keithâs room, we stayed out of sight hoping no one would recognise us and finally we find Keith and Mom.
My brother is awake, barely, and mom sits with her legs crossed on the chair next to his bed, one hand lightly holding his hand while the other one holds open a book. She looks exhausted and so pale but she takes a deep breath every now and then and just keeps going on.
Sawyer controls her life by living out of control because there is nothing she can do to save the little brother she loves more than she shows, our mother never rests as she tries to keep us all surviving more than that she tries to keep us happy, and dadâŠ I think he lost a little bit of his wife, the woman he loves, because of the cancer and he holds onto what he has left of his wife and family as strongly as he can. My brother lives life being prodded and poked, in constant pain with only brief glimpses into the world he could have only to have it taken away over and over again.
These are the things I see, the things I constantly think as I watch my family, seeing my brother and mother both fighting so hard it reminds me about it all. I know that the truth is they both just want to fall where they are and let go, let it all go, cry, yell, sleep justâŠ let go.
Yet they canât.
I wish I could just take it all away, take the pain and confusion, I wish I could take the weight off their shoulders.
I am meant to be the one to save him.
âWhat now?â I ask Sawyer.
She pulls out her cell, âoperation distract momma, just be quick â hi I need to speak to Brooke Scott in roomâŠâ and her voice trails off as she disappears down the hall.
My eyes widen and I turn back to look at Keithâs room, seconds later a nurse walks in and leads Mom away.
Ducking into the room I race to Keithâs side, his eyes are now closed, I hate seeing him like this with his eyes shut. There seems to be no life in him, so I do what Iâve done since I was a child, I gently rest my head against his chest above his heart and there it is.
It is the best sound in the world.
âHey baby sisâ his hoarse voice gets out and I just as gently lift my head up, we both smile and I canât help but say back simply âheyâ
âOf course I did, now what was so urgent?â
Out of all the things I expected I never expected his answer, his smile fades âdo you remember your eighth birthday?â
âI-â and suddenly I canât speak.
âIâm sorryâ he whispers âI am so sorry for everything, itâs okay, it really is okay, I want you to know itâs okayâ and he sounds weaker with each word he speaks.
For a moment I jut sit, letting his words sink in and my chest gets tighter and tighter, my cheeks start to hurt and then my shoulders are shaking but itâs still another moment before the tears start to fall.
I hate him, I hate how he can tell me its okay, I hate that he can never hate me.
As much as I hate the fact I donât hate him, as much as I try, as much as I tell myself I do, I simply canât.
The whole month before my eighth birthday we planned my party, it was pirate themed even after Mom tried to convince me a fairy party would be so much more fun. We planned the blow up ship in Aunt Haley and Uncle Nathanâs pool, the food and decorations, the invitations were sent out, it was pretty much a done deal when the day before my birthday Keith was rushed to hospital.
There was no party, I spent my birthday in the hospital as my mother cried every time she thought we couldnât see but I saw it. I refused to leave the hospital and Keith couldnât so for over a week we all lived there.
It was one of the worst days of my life but I never blamed Keith, it didnât suck because I didnât get cake or some stupid party, it sucked because my brother was sick.
Back outside the room Sawyer grabs my arm, âwe gotta get out of hereâ but itâs too late because Mom is already in front of us.
âWhat the heck is going on here?â her dark eyes go between the taller Sawyer and me, her face has no colour and her eyes are red and I can tell its costing her standing in front of us. Her eyes settle on Sawyer âyou were meant to stay home and keep an eye on your sister, did you drive here?â worry is in every word.
âRelax, Iâm fine nowâ Sawyer shoots back straight away defensive.
âFine?â Momâs voice grows louder âdo you have any idea what could have happened to you? Did you think of the consequences of getting behind the wheel after this morning, forget what might still be in your system but you were in shock earlierâ
Ignoring Mom Sawyer answered instead with âKeith wanted to see Abbyâ
And just like that she is looking at me, I fidget under her intense gaze and Mom looks away returning to Sawyer âtake Abby home and by that I mean get a taxiâ with out another word she spins around and walks around the corner back to Keithâs room and I donât need to see her to know that sheâs going to turn that corner, lean against the wall and cry before returning to Keith.
Sawyer grabs my arm and drags me away, I donât exactly want to go but I donât want to stay either, I am torn and no matter what Keith says I know itâs not okay, nothing will ever be okay no matter how this ends. Someone is going to lose.
When we get home Julian and Sam are still there, they donât look happy to see us, âyou snuck out?â Julian asks, he yells but I choose to ignore that, âyou do understand we have to show youâre a mature girl capable of making her own decisions, where does skipping school and running around at this time of night fit into that?â
Sam touches his arm, âJulian, itâs been a rough day letâs just-â
He snaps to the other woman but her hand doesnât leave him, âif she thinks today was hard how will she cope being on the stand, how will she cope if she wins the case and doesnât give her brother the kidney? Today was easyâ
âAsk her that, you donât have to yellâ she shouts back sternly and Julian stops, he closes his mouth and looks at me and apologises but Sam has questions in her eyes, she steps away from Julian and looks between me and Sawyer.
She kinks her eye, itâs funny but she kinda looks like my mom when she does that, âJulian has a point, Iâm meant to observe you and come to a conclusion on what is best for you, that includes making sure this is what you really want, is it?â
Do I want my brother to die? Iâve answered no to that already.
Do I want to have surgery? No, not really.
Do I want to quit this case?
âI havenât changed my mindâ I say instead, it seems easier.
Sam studies me and then sighs, the whole room goes silent, even our breathing seems to stop making the clock sound loud.
Itâs Sawyer who breaks it, I feel her shift beside me and I face her just in time to see her head tilt and her eyes changed as if something has clicked into place. Sheâs staring at Sam, finally she asks in a confused voice âdo I know you?â
I turn back to face my guardian ad litem just in time to see her slip on a invisible mask, I can tell by the way she suddenly stands up straighter and by the way her emotions click off.
Itâs strange, she does look familiar in a weird way, my mouth opens but before any of us can say anything we freeze as a car door slams outside.
There is a line in one of my fathers books, it goes âbeing brave is not the absence of fear, itâs having the will do go forth in the presence of fearâ but sometimes a coward gets in too deep they are too scared to go back, too scared to stop it, so they go on. They arenât being brave.
Itâs because theyâre just as scared of whatâs behind them as what is waiting to be faced.