The summer rain was worse this year than last, it seemed as though every day was overcast. I felt like I hadn’t seen the sun in a year, the gloomy weather taking effect on my mood.
I desperately ran around the house dispensing old Tupperware containers where the rain leaked through the ceiling, dodging puddles on my way. Patricia leaped over a bucket in the hallway, pointing to another leak starting. I quickly threw a container underneath, watching as the drops of water slowly splashed into the plastic. We both sighed as we eyed the damage the water was causing to our ceiling, unsure of what to do next.
“Did you get ahold of the roofing company yet?” Patricia asked as she nudged a container over a little so that it caught most of the splash back.
I nodded, crossing my arms over my chest. “Yeah, but they want a deposit on the shingles.”
“So why don’t you?”
I stared at her blankly, realizing she didn’t know how broke we truly were. I was trying to get enough hours at Copmin’s Ice-cream to cover our living expenses alone, I didn’t have money to budget in a new roof. I wanted to tell her about the multiple phone calls I received daily, how the debt collectors were riding me for overdue payments. But Patricia had a hard time coming to terms with the way we were living now, as things were different when mom was still around.
“I’ll figure it out, don’t worry about it.” I mumbled, turning down the hallway and walking through the kitchen. Patricia followed eagerly behind.
“Some guy from the bank keeps calling for you, I asked to take a message but he won’t leave one. Should I be worried?” Patricia asked, still following me around like a shadow.
I shook my head, I couldn’t tell her why he was calling. “No, I’ll call him back tomorrow after work. You know how bank people are.”
Patricia seemed to ease more as I said this, finding her place at the island counter as I found my way to cupboards. When I opened up the pantry, I found a few old packages of Kraft Dinner and spaghetti sauce. It was a disappointing feeling as I searched further, hoping to uncover something with nutrition in it. We had been eating like college kids for over two months now, struggling to get by on what little we had. The shame hit me even further as I realized I had invested almost a hundred dollars into groceries, yet there was nothing to show for it.
I reached for the box of maccaroni, setting it down on the counter below. Patricia whined, I could hear her head hit the counter gently. I looked over at her, watching as she ruffled her fingers through her hair.
“Not mac and cheese again.” She groaned, peaking up at me from her arm.
“Just think about it this way, you’re preparing for university and the awesome Ramen noodles you’ll be eating on a daily basis.” I joked, trying to make light of the situation. I was met by a scowl.
She sighed deeply, pulling her phone from her pocket as she quickly scrolled through. Suddenly, her face lit up. I reached into the lower cupboard to pull out a medium sized pot, setting it on the burner.
“Nevermind, my dinner is taken care of. I’m going to Sarah’s for the night.” She informed, her tone lighting up.
I spun around to stare at her incredulously, feeling a little hurt that she would be leaving so abruptly. Now I truly understood how mom felt when I was always going-out, it gets awfully lonely when you have no one else around.
“Why? What’s happening at Sarah’s?” I questioned, crossing my arms over my chest as I leaned against the counter.
Patricia raised an eyebrow at me, obviously not intimidated by my maternal instincts. ”She wants to hang-out.”
I couldn’t help but feel over-protective of Patricia, it was my obligation to ensure her safety no matter what. Even if that meant pestering her with constant questions on her whereabouts, who she associates herself with, even what she talks about. I felt like if I didn’t bother her in these ways that I would put her in danger, and I refused to let anything like that ever happen to her again.
I had a hard time getting through to Patricia ever since that night, she never wanted to talk about the things she saw --- the shifters. I wanted to explain to her that it was okay that we talk about it, so long as she didn’t talk to anyone else about it. That was my number one concern, because if she just so happened to mention it to anyone that maybe had a tie to the shifter world, than something bad could come her way. I wasn’t going to risk that. But I also knew her limits, and I couldn’t possibly pressure her into talking about it if she wasn’t comfortable. I think a part of her didn’t want to accept the truth of what she saw, maybe it was a coping mechanism.
“Are guys going to be there? Is it a party?” I pressed further, feeling angry at the thought of alcohol coming into the equation.
Patricia backed up from the island, throwing her hands up in the air. “Whoa, calm down. You are not my mother, Syb.”
I watched as she stomped off through the living-room, veering into her room down the hall. I could chase after her to press her for names and telephone numbers of each person going, but instead I chose to let her calm down. So long as I had Sarah’s parents number so that I could call if I was feeling unsure of my sister, than I felt okay. For now, at least.
With Patricia having her drivers license, she’s been going out a lot. Maybe because she doesn’t like being home, the memories are thick in the house. Luckily I can put my foot down for the most part, especially when we are low on gas. Even then she walks to her friends houses, although she would much rather drive.
I hated being alone, especially at night. The house would creak and shift, the trees rubbing against the window panes; a lonely sound of the empty house I now lived in. Mom brought so much life to our home, but with her being gone it seemed as though all the love and laughter that had once filled the house has now perished along with her.
Patricia finally came out of her room forty-five minutes later carrying a purple duffle bag, probably stuffed to the nines with an unneccessary amount of clothing. She looked as though she could care less what I thought as she strode up to the fridge to grab a cold bottle of water. I had already cooked my mac and cheese, sitting at the island as I slowly pushed the cheesy noodles around in the bowl.
“I’ll be back around noon tomorrow. What time do you get off work?” She questioned, sipping at the water between breaths.
I watched a noodle fall off of my fork, eyeing it carefully as it slid into the bowl. “I work till two, with the exception that Larry doesn’t try to make small talk again. That man is impossible to get away from.”
She raised her eyebrows at me suggestively, a smirk rippling across her face. “He’s so your type.”
I gasped, pointing my fork out of here. “Get out of here before I kick your ass, kid.”
She chuckled, placing the half-drank bottle on the counter. She walked towards the hallway, stopping midway to look back at me. “Love you, sis.”
Those words were very sentimental to me because they weren’t often spoke, which made them even more important. Patricia had become very distanced from me in the past year, keeping mostly to herself while at home. I know it was mostly due to the fact that she was confused, probably still blaming me for mom.
“Be safe.” I replied, sliding my fork into the sticky noodles.
With that, I heard her patter down the hardwood floor towards the mudroom and out of the house. I allowed her to take the vehicle mostly because I always wanted her to be able to get home safely if need be, I didn’t mind walking to work early in the morning.
After coming to the conclusion that my eyes were bigger than my stomach, I tossed away the mac and cheese. I tried not to think about what really made my mouth water; greek salad tossed with feta cheese, porkchops with a maple glaze, fresh cucumbers with ranch dip. I wished I had the money to head over to the grocery store to get all of the above, but as I eyed my wallet, I knew I wouldn’t have enough money to even get a bag of milk.
I attempted to watch a few sitcoms to get myself to lighten up, but nothing drew me in. My mind wandered with thoughts I refused to allow entrance, pushing them to the deepest, darkest corner that I could.
I gave up on television, instead picking up my old Nokia cellphone to send Ashley a message.
Please come over. So bored. I texted her, pawing at my cellphone as I waited.
Finally, a cheesy electronic song resounded from my phone. I was all too eager when I scrolled to her text.
Can’t. At the family’s house. Would invite you, but Uncle Carl = pervy goodness. She texted back.
At this point I was sure I could tolerate another awkward evening of having Ashley’s uncle drool over me and make inappropriate comments, anything to get my mind off of the images that constantly popped into my head.
I left our conversation at that because I didn’t want to pressure Ashley, especially if she was uncomfortable with me being there. Sometimes I wished that Ashley lived with us all of the time, but I knew that would never happen. Ashley enjoyed her alone time, spending hours watching Netflix and Skype calling different men. She was persistent to get over Colby, who was innocently taken from her without her notice. It was as though she couldn’t accept the fact that he was gone, finding different methods to cope.
I quickly scanned through my contacts on my phone, hoping to find someone who would come to my aid. My heart stopped as soon as I saw Aaron’s name, reading it over and over in my head. I hadn’t talked to him since the night he left Bon Resi for good, wondering how he was doing back in Portland. I hesitated on his name, staring at my screen blankly. I couldn’t text him or call him as he didn’t do the same for me.
Finally, I went back through my contacts and landed upon a name. I began to write the text, but stopped myself half-way. I choked back the tears that had started to form in my eyes, realizing what I was doing. I was in the midst of texting Val, asking her if she wanted to come over. All of the emotions involved began to overwhelm me, making me feel as though my world was crashing down around me again. I threw my cellphone onto the coffee table in front of me, running my hands over my face. Now was one of the times where I felt like I couldn’t do this anymore, that I couldn’t continue on with my life as if nothing had ever happened.
Leaving my cellphone behind, I sauntered over to the landline. I quickly dialed in the number, knowing it off by heart now from the frequency that I had dialled it.
“Hello.” His voice was smooth, though he seemed distracted with his response.
“Come over, please?” I begged, trying not to show how upset I was.
“You alright? You sound different.”
“I’m fine, just --- come over.”
“I’m almost in Bon Resi, I’ll be there in about fifteen minutes. I have some things to talk to you about.”
The phone clicked in my ear, signaling to me that he had hung up. I hated how abrasive Leander sounded over the phone, although his demeanour in person was entirely different.
I hadn’t taken Leander up on his offer of being exclusive, as he put it, but I allowed myself to go on quite a few dates with him. We never progressed any further than kissing, which was probably for the best. He understood that I was in a bad head space and he respected my choices, although I could tell that at times he wanted to go further with me again.
Besides Ashley, Lee felt like the only person I could truly connect to. Maybe because he understood me, he knew the troubles that I had experienced --- he related. As much as he didn’t completely fill the void, he was a good distraction. He was the only person that I felt like I could talk to about the past, the present, and even the future. He knew my fears and my sadness. He was willing to accept me no matter what baggage I carried around with me.