This was written after a moment of weakness on my part. While not exactly how the situation is, for awhile back in the day I’d felt very isolated and overlooked as my brother got older. And he had a little phase where he was very degrading and rude, just plain mean, really, and it hit me harder than I thought it would. We’d been super close when we were younger (arguments and such, as siblings do, but still), and so the sudden shift into asshole mode was just a real hit to the emotions and mind set. I felt like I was losing my family at times.
He’s still a butt head, but now it’s the typical teenager kind of butt head. We’re getting back to the close relationship again, which I’m very glad for. 🙂 Hopefully it stays that way and gets better…
Nate continued to barrage me with insults and swears, and silently I cried in the front seat, my eyes misting over and my hands tightly clenching the steering wheel. It was so strange, hearing such venom in a ten year old’s voice. I did my best to hide the fact that I was crying, being especially quiet, even though if he did hear me, I doubt that Nate would care. Most likely he would sneer and make more comments. Which is exactly why I kept it to myself. Thankfully, he sat in the backseat.
But this was normal.
I had no idea why he was like that. Well, maybe I did. Ever since we knew Mom was pregnant, suddenly the focus shifted and nothing else mattered. Mom would still pay attention to me, of course, but then, there wasn’t a new baby to dote on just yet. Dad would constantly be at her side, however. He did everything for her–“A boy, a boy, I’ve always wanted a little boy…!”–and it was as though I didn’t exist. At the time I was only five, and thought this was normal. I just bragged to the kids in daycare and kindergarten that I was going to be a big sister in five months… four… three… two… one…
And then I was alone.
Nate came and even my mom, who had always had time for me, even when she was having pains because of the pregnancy, seemed to forget I was there. Nobody played with me anymore, and it even seemed that the kids at school were drifting away from me. Or perhaps I was simply so down trodden that I scared them away myself.
And as Nate grew and grew, I tried my best to be a good big sister. But… that may have been part of the problem. He seemed to grow up with the idea that, because I was trying so hard to help Mom with him and was always doing things for him, that I was more like a pet or servant than his sister. In fact, I remember clearly…
“Nate, sit next to Haylee so we can take your pictures! Grandma wants to see how big her little grand kids have gotten!”
He had given her the most odd combination of disgust and confusion I had ever seen on an eight year old’s face. Even though the word ‘sister’ was tossed around at home, it had seemed to finally sink in that we were actually related. And that’s when he deemed himself to be the favorite, and began to insult and ridicule.
“If you’re my sister,” he said soon after the picture incident, “how come mommy and daddy don’t play with you as much? How come They never ask you how school was? You must not be as special.”
The window in the front seat was fogging up, probably because I was bawling so much, but finally it was time to drop Nate off at school. He said nothing and slammed the door behind him, walking up to his friends and laughing carelessly. I clenched my teeth and gripped the steering wheel so hard it hurt. I quickly pulled away and left the grade school, speeding across town to get to the high school, though I didn’t feel like showing my face. The few friends I had, bless them, would know something was up (again) when they saw me.
So when I pulled into the school parking lot I sat and sat and cried and cried, willing myself to stop so I could at least make myself look presentable before walking inside. It was eight thirty before I could finally calm myself down, and the icy wind outside bit at my damp cheeks as I slid across ice to the doors. I was late, but I couldn’t care less at this point.
I made it into the class and sat down next to Trisha, who gave me a look that clearly said, “What happened to you?!” I frowned sadly and shook my head, mouthing, “I’ll tell you later.”
“Thanks for joining us, Haylee,” Mr. Appo said from the front of the room, where he was writing the day’s assignment on the board. “You missed a pop quiz, it’s sitting on my desk.”
“Thank you,” I mumbled, leaning over and swiping the paper from the corner of his desk. I’d chosen a seat by the teacher’s desk in case I had questions, but because my being late was a normal occurrence anymore (much like Mr. Appo’s pop quizzes seemed to be becoming) it was more convenient than I’d thought it would be.
As soon as class was finished, Trisha grabbed my arm and hauled me toward the door, but Mr. Appo stopped her. “Trisha,” he called, “I’d like to have a word with Haylee if I may have your permission?” He had a smirk on his face, probably because of how we looked, her dragging me away and all.
“Oh, yeah, sure,” she said, letting me go and giving me another look. “We’re talking as soon as you’re done!” it said.
“I know,” I silently thought waving as I walked back in.
“Shut the door, please.”
“Don’t you have another class next?”
“Not today, no. Sit down, Haylee.” He motioned to the desk I always sat in and I sat, turning to face him. I had a feeling I wasn’t going to like this conversation.
“I’m going to get right to the point,” he said, folding his hands together on top of his desk. I unconsciously mimicked the motion, feeling nervous. “Are you having problems at home?”
“No, Sir,” I said immediately, shaking my head. I’d already told myself back in middle school that, if asked, I would deny. It was my problem and I was dealing with it. It’s not like the school could make my brother shape up and my parents notice me again, anyway.
“Then why are you so late all the time?” he asked gently. “At first you would come in so early, sometimes earlier than me. Which was nice,” he added, a joking tone in his voice, “because my homeroom always needed a guard dog.”
“That’s just because–”
“You drop your brother off early, I know how it is. So what happened? Did your brother start waking up late or something?” he asked, eyes showing the frown that appeared on his face.
“No…” I began, “He’s perfect about getting up on time and doing what he’s told.” I cleared my throat, realizing I was using my parents’ words. Perfect.
“Then what’s going on?” he asked, sounding like he was pleading, almost. “I enjoy having you in my class, Haylee, and I’ve already had you in my homeroom last year and this year. I’d like to think I know you a little bit, at least. And so I worry when you come in late looking like you just cried for hours straight.”
I was shocked that he’d noticed. I looked up at him, wide-eyed, before staring down at my lap. The bell rang in the background for the next class to start, but neither of us moved. Finally Mr. Appo sighed and motioned to the door. “Obviously you won’t speak to me, but talk to someone Haylee, please?”
I nodded and grabbed my bag, hurrying to stand and leave the room.
“Oh, I’ll email Mrs. Faust and tell her I kept you so late, all right?”
“Yes, Sir. Thank you,” I said quickly, rushing for the door.
“Have a better day, Haylee,” he called after me.
“You too,” I said, waving as I slammed the door shut. The sound echoed down the hall, which was completely empty, and I ran for my next class, desperately trying to hold in more tears that I hadn’t thought I had.