What Can Keep Us Together
It's beautiful. DNA keeps us all together, did you know that? Even when we're not related it does. This world is made up of DNA; we all are. I think too much. I know that. But what do you do when you have so much time on your hands?
It's two thirty-two a.m. I'm wide-eyed and awake, sitting on my couch. My Mama and Papa are asleep upstairs. All I hear are the creaks of this house, breaking at the slightest sound of wind, the dripping of the sink, and even the sound of leaves falling off the plants in my house. Your head - its a lonely place, and I like that. I like that.
The sun is sleeping, and the moon is awake; darkness. Charming. I think about how I miss my sister who has life filled with misery. Our “mother” put her on disability for money. Its simple; to her money is more than a daughter's love. She lost one, me. Now she wants to lose the other. I think about how she will never go to college because they think she's dumb, idiosyncratic, untalented. I know she's not any of that she doesn't deserve what she's getting if anything I should be. I went crazy. I cracked under the pressure, wrote on my walls about death, how I would die, who would kill me, when I would kill myself. I'm never good enough to my “Mom” or to my Mama. See when I was younger my real mom, the one whom I no longer call mother left me and so did my real dad. I now reside alongside my Grandmama and Grandpapa who I call Mama and Papa, they raised me they deserve the credit as to whom I would call parents. My sister resides with Joan, my mother. I don't care what happens to her and Cory, my father. I never call them mama or papa. They've always been Joan and Cory to me. And they're going to stay that way for a while now. I also think about how my brother will be off, will he be alright? In all cases he has had a better life than me or my sister, Anne. He has had his shares of belts too, but they never seem to be as bad as me or Anne.
Once when I was little, Cory, he came home angry and he thought it was okay to just kick me until I bruised. No I am not bleeding out of my nose. I was five, Joan was Busy with my brother. Me being the middle child never helped when he came along. I was jealous of him; of course I wanted to be the one carried. "I was five, that's enough to hold on your hand," I would always say. When someone would ask how old I am, I would respond, “Five, 'cause thats how many fingers you can hold.” People thought it was funny. But at this time, being funny was not cutting it. I sat on the floor crying I wanted to be him for that split moment. Cory walked in as I sat on the floor crying so hard I thought my vocal cords would explode. He told me to shut up I continued on, persisting, vigilance. Then he exploded on me. He kicked me so hard, I fell on my back holding my left leg in such pain, I cried more. He kicked me more, telling me to shut up. Joan did nothing. She left me to be beaten by him. I of course stood only to topple over in pain. Hiding in my own world, pain shocked through my veins, blood rushing to fill in the spots that were hurt. Heartbeats joined in tune, making symphony of my pain. I laid there until he left. Soon Anne walked over after the fight, she had left to not be beaten herself for saying anything. I don't blame her.
“Elise, are you okay?” She knelt down beside me. I never moved only laid there.
“Come on I will help you up.” She took hold of me and picked me up slowly. We went to our room we shared. I was not angry. I was not fuming in rage that she did not put an end to my struggle. We cared for each other. That was how it was.
“It hurts,” I stared to cry. Anne handed me my stuffed pig I dearly loved. She stayed with me for the longest time. Until soon I was asleep. I awoke to her sitting on the edge of my bed. With the remote in her hand. I moved to get up.
“Are you better Elise?” She handed me a sandwich. I nodded in return. My pain had died down, now it was matter of healing.
“What does the clock say?” I asked softly.
“Three, in the afternoon. You had been sleeping nearly all day.”
“Oh, h- how does it look?”
Confused she said nothing.
“What, do you mean outside?”
I pointed to myself.
“You have bump on your left leg and its cut a bit open so you bled little on the bed, I won't tell papa that you bled on the sheets. . . or mama.”
Its funny how she took care of me all the time. I was five and she was ten. I felt bad because she was worried about me. I was the one always in need of the help. Not her.
“Where's Papa?” I could barley speak from not using my voice for so long.
“Working, but here eat something. While I get clean sheets.” She must have read my mind. “mama left for town she will be back before papa gets home.” I nodded in return.
But it's not over yet. I had been beaten so badly that not only on my leg was rocketing in pain, but all over my body. My muscles ached. It's a miracle he never hit my face. It's a miracle. I had tried to eat the lunch my sister made, but I ended up throwing it back up. My stomach, we noticed, had bruises; and I had cuts on my arms and on my sides. I had smaller cuts from his shoes. One larger bruise going up my side on my right, was purple, black, and blue in color. The blood on my cuts was crusted. The one on my leg I looked down. Seeing it, some new blood had dribbled out.
And for once in my life, I wish I were those drops of blood. I wish I could escape with just a little rip in my flesh.
The sheets had blotches of blood, and the area underneath my legs resting place was puddled. Anne came back with the sheet, but when she saw my vomit she went and got a mop and mopped up first. I was happy to have a sister like Anne. My brother was with mama like always. She Carried me over to her bed and let me sit there until she had my bed done for me. Then she moved me back to my pig's with wings bead spread.
“Anne, I'm hungry,” I told her, my voice shaking, groggy, hurt, unaltered from yesterday.
She looked at me.
“I don't know what to give you that will not make you sick again.” She thought for a moment. “Maybe some yogurt won't hurt you. . . .” She left the room.
“Anne, I wanna watch Barney and Friends.” I stated as she returned into our room, handing me the yogurt. And for the first time since yesterday, I saw a smile creeping on her face. She looked down at my blood stained sheets and the back up at me.
“Okay, what channel?” she replied finally.
“The Barney channel!”
“I don't know it though.” She looked at the Television Guide on her desktop. Going to channel one hundred and five.
We sat there watching it. I sang along to all the songs because I had seen this episode before. She laughed along as she tried to sing to the last song they sing on every episode. That day was perfect. I was happier than I could imagine. I looked down at my leg. She had bandaged the place up.
“I wanna play a game!” I announced after the show was done.
“What do you want to play then?” She inquired.
“I-spy!” It was my favorite game next to hide-and-seek, but I could not really seek or hide. We played until she recalled she had to finish the laundry, she carried piggy and I back outside to where the laundry was and set me on the swing. She looked exhausted, yet she continued to take care of me, and do anything else. I was five but I already saw much more than most five-year-olds did. I knew what the world was hiding in the blackened boxes of lives. The gate creaked open. We both looked up to cascade of leaves.
Fall had arrived early this year.
It's beautiful. It's beautiful.