“Honey, I’m home!” Alison smiles and turns to the kitchen door where her Peter comes through and greets her with a kiss.
“Hey,” Alison greets him and turns back to the furnace, stirring in her curry. “How was your day?”
“Tiring,” he opens the faucet and holds his hands under the water. “Where’s the soap?” he looks around. The countertops of the small kitchen are filled with kitchen utensils, dirty dishes.
“Here,” she hands him the hand soap, and he starts washing his hands thoroughly. Washing the grime and dirt from the garage off his hands.
“How long ’til dinner’s ready? Do I have time to freshen up and change my clothes?”
“Ten minutes, max.”
“Are Brian or Martin home yet?”
“Brian is upstairs, he is in his room, Martin is on his way.”
“Alright, I’ll be right back.”
When he has walked out, Alison sighs. She is so glad to see him, but also, she’s relieved when he leaves. She doesn’t know why, she truly loves him, but she always feels tense around him.
Five minutes later, Brain saunters into the kitchen, taking a drink from the fridge and leaves again, totally ignoring her. Brian is Peter’s son from a previous relationship.
The boy, now sixteen, has had hard time growing up. He never felt loved by his own mother. She never came to pick him up when it was her turn. She never called him, took interest in him; he only cost her money. But even the fifty-dollar allowance she had to pay, just a formality, Peter didn’t want to feel like he owed her money, was too much. The woman was a wreck, but she was too proud to admit it.
When Alison met Peter, she was still young and naive, she was only twenty-four years old, when she left everything she had back home and moved in with Peter. Peter was still fighting for custody, so Brian wasn’t in view as of yet. When Brian eventually was placed with them instead of with his mother; he turned their world upside down. He was then three years old and already quite the character. Alison didn’t have a job at the time, so she took care of the boy, over time growing to love him more and more eventually seeing him as her own.
When Brian was four, Alison became pregnant with Martin. She couldn’t be happier, a brother for Brian. Looking back, that is where the problems started. That is where the rivalry and the jealousy rooted.
Alison sighs and shakes her head. Despite all attempts to bond with the boy, despite all the attempts to make the boy feel wanted and loved; he has always seen her as the enemy. He never accepted her as the love of his dad’s life. He always blamed her and his father for taking him away from his mom, even though it was his own mother’s behaviour that made the judge decide to place him with his father.
Alison stirs in her pan again, seeing that the food is ready.
She walks I to the hallway and calls out. “Food’s ready!”
At the same time, the backdoor opens and a seemingly frozen Martin shows up. “Hey mom,” Martin greets his mom and Alison smiles. “It’s so cold outside, and all that rain, it’s making me so slow, I almost needed double the time to get to and come back home from school. I slipped about ten times with my bike when I went through all those huge puddles.”
Alison smiles, “well, you’re home now. Take off your boots and your coat and wash your hands. Dinner is ready.”
Martin nods. “Alright mom.”
They’re all done eating, but they’re still at the table, Alison is reading a post on her Facebook, Brian is watching a video on Youtube, and Martin is doing the same. Peter gets up from the table, “Brian, have you done your homework yet?”
Brian shrugs and shakes his head.
“Brian, I asked you something.” Peter looks at him sternly.
“Huh?” Brian looks at his dad looks at him as if he’s seen him for the first time.
“I asked if you’ve done your homework!”
“No, will do it later. I don’t know if I even have homework. I really don’t care.”
“Clear the table, put the dishes in the dishwasher. Then do your homework here at the table so I can see you doing it.” Peter turns and leaves to watch tv.
Alison smiles and gets up too. “The faster you do your chore, the faster you can get back to watch your video’s again.” Brian gives her a nasty look and sighs. “You’re not my mom, you know,” he says lowly, loud enough for Alison to hear, but quiet enough so that Peter doesn’t.
Alison turns away, not ready to show the hurt she feels whenever he behaves like that.
Late at night, she lies awake. Peter lies next to her, snoring the night away. She turns around again, closing her eyes and trying to sleep. She sighs and pulls the comforter away to go downstairs. When she is on the upstairs landing, she sees light coming from Brian’s room.
She quietly knocks on his door and looks inside. Brian sits with his laptop and his headphones on his bed and looks at her with a death stare.
“Shouldn’t you be asleep, Brian?” She asks.
He shrugs, “I don’t care. Leave me alone.”
“Brian it’s late, tomorrow morning is an early morning again and you need to go to school. Put that laptop away and go to sleep.”
“Don’t tell me what to do,” Brain whispers angrily.
Alison shrugs, shakes her head, and closes the door again. It has no use; Brian won’t listen to her anyway.
In a dark office, a tall, broad man looks through his window. His dark figure stands out against the blueish light of the moon; the moon makes the silver streaks in his dark hair lighten up. Dark smoke circles around him, the tip of his cigar the only thing with colour in the room.
The man hangs his head low, resting his forehead against the cold glass of the window. A deep sigh escape his mouth and he shakes his head. Little wet drops land beside his boots.