Tuesday 16th September 2003
During the time I did not attend school, I was gradually made aware of my brother's lack of presence. He left early in the morning now that he didn't have the burden of me, and didn't return home until late at night. I knew he was a senior, and they had a lot to do, but he was my brother. He knew my parents like I did. He had stood with me as they sang hymns around us and had taken me under his arm when the world seemed too much.
Now he was gone, and though I had Seth (who came to the house every day), I felt lonely without my brother. I understood his pain now, but it was like there were other things, things I was too young to understand.
"Chin up soldier!" Seth grinned one morning as we both ate fresh buttered bread. I smiled weakly at him, downing my orange juice before letting out a sigh. "What's up, Eve?" He asked me, more serious this time.
"It's Logan." I said sadly. "I hardly see him anymore…"
"He seemed pretty angry a few nights ago." Seth looked up as he thought, his hand under his chin. "Well… he is a senior," he said, looking back down to me. "He probably has a lot going on."
"I know that." I said briskly. "He never cooks, either. How will he get into culinary school if he never cooks?" I pushed my plate away, not feeling hungry anymore. "It doesn't matter. Can we go now?"
Seth gobbled the remainders of his breakfast. "First Beach?"
I smiled, nodding. He grinned and we both left the house after saying good bye to my grandpa, who was reading the newspaper in the living room. My grandma was out on the weekly shop, since she had been gathering her coupons the night before.
I stared longingly at the space where Logan's car was usually parked as Seth shut the door. If I just knew he was okay, then I'd be alright. If he just spoke to me- about anything- then I'd be alright. But there was nothing, and his sudden burst of anger a few days ago scared me a little if I was being honest.
"Let's a go!" Seth trilled happily, taking my arm and running me away from the house. I laughed, my world brightening as we were pulled into our forest and our sunny kingdom.
"Look, I'll show you one more time." Seth shook his head, giving me a smile before letting the pebble out of his hand. It shot across the water, diving three times before sinking.
"You make it look so easy!" I cried with anger, smoothing the pebble in my hand with my thumb. "It's not fair, you've had loads of practise."
He laughed and took my hand in his. "See, you hold it like this-"he moved my fingers on the pebble, "and then one," he pulled my hand back gently, "two, three!"
The pebble flew out of my hand and hit the water twice before sinking into the calm waves. My eyes lit up and I jumped. "Yes! Did you see that? I did that!"
He laughed. "You did not! I helped you."
I stuck my tongue out at him and his eyes widened. A giggle burst from my lips and I began to run over the grey sand, my shoes digging in.
"You can't run from me!" Seth exclaimed behind me. I laughed, quickly flicking sand at him before sprinting quicker. He groaned with anger and I laughed again, jumping over rocks with dark sea weed, the salty air tangling in my hair as he chased after me.
Eventually, he caught me and pushed me to the ground. We burst into laughter, rolling on the damp sand. That afternoon, my worries seemed to melt away. We made pictures in the sand with driftwood, skipped more pebbles, chased the waves and sat where the meetings and bonfires were held. Seth began to tell me about the legends- or what he could remember from them. When he was done, he sighed heavily, poking the dry fire pit with a long driftwood stick.
"What?" I asked him, my eyes heavy from sleepiness.
"I want you to hear the elders tell the stories themselves." He mumbled, a crease forming between his brows. "They say it so much better, like they're painting a picture in your head."
"You painted pretty well." I assured him. "It's cool, the legends."
"But there are so many more that I can't tell you." He twisted his mouth, glancing to me. "Its tribe law to not tell them to outsiders."
"Hey, that's okay. I'm getting used to the whole outsider thing anyway." I yawned, blinking heavily.
"You're tired already? We've barely done anything yet!"
I smacked my lips and smiled sleepily, resting my head in my hands.
"Your chasing wore me out." I moaned. He smiled a little.
"Come on, you can come to mine for dinner."
"Okay." I said as he pulled me up, and we began to walk the familiar path to his house.
As the days passed, it became known that I wouldn't be returning to Forks Middle School. My grandpa had gone over there many times, telling the principal that what had happened was unacceptable.
Then the deep conversations began. What would we do now? My grandparents looked at the schools in the district, but they were so far away. I heard them talking about hiring a tutor, but then they'd worry about high school and college, and if I could ever face something like that again after so many years. What then scared me was that they began talking about moving, or sending me to Canada to live with my aunt.
I had been too much hassle. I was making my grandparents greyer, but they were utterly silent about it. Hardly any months had passed since my parents had died and they were already giving up on me. But, I knew I had given up too. Guilt hit me every time I heard Logan tow himself to school every day. It was a strange feeling- like I was barely treading water.
One morning Seth arrived in his dad's old car, his father walking next to him up the path. I had been waiting on the porch swing and hopped up instantly when they came to the gate.
"Hi Mr Clearwater." I greeted. He smiled warmly at me.
"Good morning, Evelyn. Do you mind if I talk to your grandparents about something?"
"Oh-"this caught me off guard. "Of course, come on in." I opened the door for them both and walked them into the kitchen. "Grandpa, this is Mr Clearwater." I told my grandpa, who had been grilling bacon for breakfast.
"Oh, good morning." My grandpa wiped his hands on his apron and shook Mr Clearwater's hand. I glanced to Seth, giving him a look, but he just smiled happily. I rolled my eyes and sat at the breakfast bar. "What brings you to our home, Harry? Would you like some coffee, tea?"
"Ooh, tea if you have any." Harry rubbed his hands together. My grandpa nodded, flicking on the kettle and preparing two mugs.
"You, Seth?" He asked.
"No thanks Mr Hund, err, I mean Jon." Seth slid into the seat next to me, placing his thin elbows on the counter.
"Alright," he handed Harry his mug, which he warmed in his thick hands. My grandpa turned sharply to the grill to take out the bacon before it burned. "What can I do for you, Harry?" He asked while laying the streaks on paper towel.
"It's what I can do for you, Jon." He glanced at me. "And you, Evelyn."
I raised my brow. "What's going on?"
"You've been such a good friend to Seth, Evelyn, and I know there has been some… tightness among the elders about it," he sighed, "but things have to change." He looked to my grandpa. "I've spoken to Seth's teachers about having Evelyn enrolled in the Tribal School."
My eyes widened, and I looked to Seth instantly. He grinned and I gave him a knowing smile. "You didn't tell me, Seth!"
"It's a surprise." He mumbled.
"Well, there's still a long way to go." Harry said calmly. "The school is on a non-Native programme, strictly no non-Natives, but I have spoken to a few friends in different tribes, and on special occasions, they allow outsiders in. We would just need to contact the education bureau and have recommendations…"
"Oh! Grandpa, we can do that, right?!" I asked him hopefully, jumping in my seat. My grandpa nodded a little, looking to Mr Clearwater in an emotion I could only describe as shock.
"Harry… Wow, thank you." He shook his hand solidly again, a smile lighting his face. "That's the best news we've had for a while."
Harry grinned- I could see where Seth's infectious smile came from- and nodded. "That's alright. In the tribe you look after your own, and, well, it seems Evelyn is one of us now."
My heart fluttered and I looked to Seth, seeing him beaming. I took his arm and hugged it, and he chuckled. As my grandpa and Harry talked, Seth and I ventured into the backyard. The morning air was cool and fresh, the grass still dewy though it was nearing ten o'clock.
"Do you think I could get in?" I asked him hopefully.
"I should think so. Why would they want to miss out on you?" He grinned, wrapping his arm around my shoulders. I smiled, leaning into his embrace.
After receiving recommendations from Forks Middle School, our lawyers and our solicitors, the letter was sent to the Washington State Education Bureau. It was a very long letter, with Mr Clearwater writing a few paragraphs in it, but the final product made me breathless with happiness. Just the thought of people accepting me made me slightly giddy.
While all of this was going on, I barely uttered a word to my brother. He'd come back late every night and I'd hear him shouting to my grandparents downstairs. He'd say such awful things, like:
"You're not my parents and you never will be!"
He was worrying me. My grandparents couldn't shout louder than him, and so he stomped into his room, slamming his door. I swallowed, turning on my side in bed, staring at the door. I felt the waves of sadness hit me and take me under. It was suffocating. Tears sprung in my eyes, and, unable to bear it anymore, I got up and snuck to his room.
I opened the door very carefully, remembering all the times I had done this in the past, feeling like I had abandoned him in a way. His room was dark, the thick, dense smell of staleness shifting around me.
He sat on the floor in the corner, by the window, his head in his hands. My throat tightened with memories. Cautiously, I made my way over to him.
"Logan?" I asked quietly, crouching beside him and gingerly touching his knee.
He let out a deep breath, uncovering his face, holding his head up with his hands. His murky eyes were swimming with tears.
"I don't think I…" he swallowed, "I don't think I like myself anymore."
My heart sank, and I took his hand, leading him to the bed. He laid down as I turned his old star globe on, and the room flooded with shining, moving points of light. I laid next to him, my heart beating fast.
"Do you remember the doe and her fawns?" I queried gently.
"Yes." He mumbled. I blinked, watching the stars move over the shadows of his room and the corners of the ceiling.
"Sometimes, it feels like we're them. We're the fawns." I confessed. "I feel so lost without them, Logan." I whimpered, biting my lip as the tears fell down the sides of my face. I glanced to him, seeing he was serenely watching the stars, his eyes less tearful now and more of that blank slate I hated. "Logan."
He looked to me instantly.
"Logan, you have to see a doctor." I advised. "I don't want you-"I swallowed, feeling sobs rise in my chest, "t-to go as well…"
His eyes softened and he pulled me to his chest. "I won't leave you, Evelyn."
"It doesn't matter." I mumbled. "You still have to go, Logan. I can't bear to see you like this."
He sighed, but eventually nodded. "Okay. I'll go. For you."