Remember Last Knight

oh, happy day


No one was home.

They should have been home hours ago.

Where were they?

Where were they?

I wanted to pull my hair out. I had cleaned the kitchen top to bottom after Knight had left; I scrubbed the counters and floor, cleaned out the refrigerator, wiped down the appliances. My parents weren’t home. I had also washed the sheets to my bed, vacuumed my room, the upstairs hallway and the living room. The three toilets in the house had been bleached, the mirrors wiped down with Windex and the showers cleaned with LCR. Ayden had crawled back to his room as soon as I started the vacuum up, leaving me to work and worry over the sound of Bright Eyes and Owl & Penny coming through my headphones.

I finished making my bed, fluffing my pillows and straightening the edge of the comforter once last time, before plopping myself down in my desk chair. I pulled my headphones from my ears just as “Lua” came to an end. My head fell into my hands as I leaned forward on the hard desk. I was tired. I was tired of not being able to control anything as hard as I try. I was tired of my parents not coming home until they felt like it. I was tired of them acting like everything is fine when it’s not, and I was tired of them acting as if they weren’t both cheating on each other. I was tired of worrying over my parents and my brother… and I was angry that it was my fault.

I looked up when I heard a door slam downstairs. Finally. I dropped my head again, taking a deep breath. I wanted to talk to someone, to my Mom, but I’ve got mixed feelings about talking to her nowadays. I feel like she doesn’t want to listen to me, to her baby, ever since the shit hit the fan for the first time years ago.

I started to get up, my arms pushing down on the desk to pull myself up. That’s when I saw the photos. That’s when I felt the hatred toward myself again. That’s when I sat back down.

I don’t leave them there as a happy memory, even if the first two could be considered such a thing. I keep them there as a reminder of what a horrible person I am, of how better off they would all be without me and my temper.

The first photo, of Ayden and I when we were younger, reminds me of how things should be. We looked happy, because we were. No one was faking it. We were happy, despite the ups and downs life through at us.

The second photo was of me. I was eleven. I was holding all the medals I owned from the community center and tournaments, from boxing. That was before I lost it on a group of girls at my school. That was before I got suspended and spent two weeks at home, cleaning and organizing. That was before I realized how much more I liked fighting compared to recreation. That was before I got banned from boxing. That was before I turned everything to shit.

The last picture is of all of us, as a “family.” It was my last court date. I was sixteen. It was the third time I’d been charged. My probation officer, Stacy Lee, was the one who had taken the photo. It was a celebration of the ruling, which was more anger management and community service. I could care less about that day. I had tried to change before. Things happen though, people piss me off, and that’s when I let myself go. That time was supposed to be different, though.

I was almost seventeen, only a few months away, and that meant I would be a year closer to eighteen; a year closer to being an adult, out on my own, punishable by law to serve hard time. I had to change something, everything, and anything that would keep me out of trouble.

I went to anger management and community service without complaint. I sat and listened and did as I was told. I joined track to take up for letting out my frustrations through my fists, where I did sprints and distance races, anything that allowed me to be a part of the team without having to rely on anyone else completely like they did in relays. I went to every practice and ran faster than everyone else, trained harder and became stronger than the rest of the girls. Not because I wanted to win, though I did. I did it because I needed control, I needed a ventilation system, and that was the only way I could do so without making someone else bleed. My own pain substituted for so many others’.

In the picture, my parents were smiling. I think they were genuinely happy that the charges had come out so well, thanks to Stacy and my lawyer. Things had been so tough for them, because of me, that they were relieved that it could be over. I either didn’t mess up anymore or I did, but by then I wouldn’t be their problem. Oh happy day.

Too bad things didn’t get better, even after I kept up the good girl act. Ayden started going to parties and drinking when he started high school and their marriage fell apart. They resent me. My parents more so than my brother. I was just a burden to them, despite all the work I do for that resentment to lessen.

Hearing my mother call out for me and Ayden, once, twice, I started downstairs, opening my brother’s door on the way out. She had picked up lunch after “church” and said that Dad would be home in a few minutes, he was running a few “errands” of his own. I sat down and started to eat.

I didn’t tell my mom about the punch I’d thrown. She wouldn’t care anyway.

How could she help someone out who had ruined her marriage, her life?