Sunday, 21 July 2013
Thursday, 18 July 2013
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"I swear, does he not shower." She giggled back wrinkling her nose.
I heard those girls whispering about how I was stinking. I pulled my coat closer to myself, slightly shivering in the cold air. I pulled out the keys and unlocked my car. I sighed at the dirty interior. A toothbrush lay on the seat accompanied by a stack of wrinkled clothing. I pulled the seat down and lay down, closing my eyes. Another interview blown. Sleeping in the car without a home, life was just slapping me in the face. And to top it all I was stinking. Brilliant.
"Hey Alice move to the right." I whispered, "That guy looks kind of dangerous." She nodded peering at the guy wrapped in a hoodie, supporting a cut lip and a black eye. We both moved a bit away as we walked.
The man had really done it now. I wiped the slightly bloody lip with the back of my sleeve and winced. And mother hadn't even done anything to stop her husband from beating me up! We were just an all around good family weren't we?
"Look at that girl man. How slutty can you get?!" I whispered to her as she glanced at the girl hanging on the arms of two boys.
I giggled at something Ben said from my left not really hearing what he was saying.
"Hey you want to go for that new movie? What's it called?" Jack asked from my right. I nodded with enthusiasm. Anything to stay away from home and all the fighting.
Ben turned to look at me, his eyes flickering with happiness. At least Someone was happy at something I did, unlike my parents who couldn't think of anything other than each other's fault.
"Want some ice cream?" I asked looking at the ice cream truck standing a few feet away.
"Definately! Who says no to ice cream?" Alice said looking at a mother and son. "Except maybe that kid."
"Probably too much of a snob to have cheap ice cream." I said standing in line.
"Prefers Baskin Robbins or something. Seriously it's the mother's own fault." She said seriously.
"Honey, you can get a lolly. Really it won't matter." Mother said looking at smiling. "I have some money from today's job. I rolled my eyes at her and pulled her on.
"Mom save it okay? We need every pence we got." I said.
"I'm sure a dollar won't harm Rory's stash on medicine." She said walking along.
"Mom, my brother's got cancer. I'm not wasting money on ice cream when we need each dollar to save his life okay mom? So quit it. I don't want a stupid lolly." I said firmly taking her hand. She smiled softly -a first in days.
"You're the best, kiddo!" She said ruffling my hair and we walked on.
"Hurry up man! We haven't got all day." I said to the salesman. I turned to her and said, "Man he's slow."
"I swear, the line's barely moving." She said frowning.
I wiped my brow, exhausted. Maybe I'll take a day off tomorrow and get some sleep. I've barely slept 3 hours in the past week. I took the money from the little girl who happily licked her Strawberry Surprise (the surprise was a lick of vanilla in the middle. What a rip off!). I thought about my wife at home and how she'd fight if I said I wanted to take an off. I sighed. I'd been selling ice cream all my life, she shouldn't have married me if it didn't suit her I earned so little. I worked hard at it, unlike her oh so 'rich' brother who got money for parking his butt on a chair all day.
We walked on eating our Chocolate Swirlies. We came across three girls sitting on a wall. They glanced at us and one turned to whisper something to the others. They all laughed loudly looking at us.
"They're talking about us." I said to Alice.
"I know! Totally judging us!" She said.
"People are so judgemental these days!" I said as we walked past them.
"Yeah! Why can't they just look at what they themselves are doing for like two minutes before assuming about others?!" She said. I nodded in enthusiastic agreement.
Nobody can guess a person's story with just a glance or even a few words, although we do try are best to do so. We all pass judgements here and there, not looking at what we ourselves are doing.
Just something to think about.
Sunday, 14 July 2013
"Mom! The stove! Could you please check that?!" I yelled taking the clothes out of the washer. "MOM!" I yelled. No answer. I rolled my eyes. Who was I kidding? After six months I should just give up. I got up and ran to the kitchen. "Shit!" I swore grabbing a cloth from its peg as I stirred the slightly burning gravy. I gripped the pan and dragged it off the stove.
"Did you burn it again?" A small voice said from the doorway. I frowned.
"It can be eaten." I said turning to find the small figure hugging his Batman action figure. He made a face.
"I don't want to eat burnt food." He said looking at me with his big brown eyes. I sighed.
"It's not burnt." I told him bending down in front of him to straighten his jeans.
"It smells like it is." He said blinking at me. I sighed again.
"I'll make you noodles okay? Happy?" I said smiling softly at him. He grinned. I ruffled his hair and he pouted.
"Not the hair, Alex!" He said patting his hair back into place. I laughed.
"Whatever little brother." I spoke.
"Can you help me with my homework?" He asked.
"I have to hang up the laundry and get the groceries first okay?" I said standing up and going towards the basement.
"You always help me. Math sucks." He sniffed.
"I have work too little brother. I'll help you when I'm done."
"You're always cleaning. I thought you hated cleaning." He said padding along after me.
"Well if I don't who will?" I said quietly.
"Why won't mum leave her room?" He asked me. I sighed.
"She's sad." I said.
"You're sad too, you leave your room." He said. His little feet hurried to keep up with me. I slowed down for him.
"I leave because if I didn't you'd probably eat all the ice cream." I said half-heartedly grinning. I swung down and picked him up. He didn't grin like I expected him to.
"You'd give me all the ice cream anyway so I don't think that's why you leave." He said quietly.
"You're quite smart for a five year old aren't you?" I said softly. He nodded in agreement. I smiled.
"So why don't you stay in your room if you're sad too?" He said.
"Cause of you, little brother." I said honestly for the first time in ages. I had lied too much I realized, 'Yeah I'm okay' or 'Yeah we're coping' and 'Mum is getting better'.
Aaron patted my head. "I'm too cute to leave behind." He said solemnly. I laughed and he grinned.
"You're too cheeky." I said, "You need some punishment to straighten you up." I put him down on top of the counter as I continued pulling the clothes out of the washer.
"I'm too cute to punish." He said making his Batman fly.
"I can tickle you to death." I told him. His eyes widened as he realized I very well could. "And Batman can't fly."
"I know, but why does he wear a cape then?" Aaron asked confused.
"It's bullet proof and helps him balance, little brother." I said taking up the basket and putting it next to Aaron.
"Why do you know that?" He asked grinning at me. I paused.
"I have no id-" I began but the doorbell rang. "That's probably Uncle Alex right?" I said turning to Aaron who nodded. I helped Aaron down, grabbed the basket and we both ran to the door. I looked through the peek hole and Aaron tapped his feet impatiently. I swung open the door and smiled at the familiar tanned face I was named after. He wasn't really our uncle: my father's best friend actually- but he was as good as.
"There's my favorite girl!" He grinned stepping inside.
"Uncle!" Aaron yelled jumping forward. Uncle caught him as usual and swung him up.
"Oof. You're getting big!" Uncle said falling into our worn out couch. "Would you mind getting me a glass of water?" He said to Aaron who shook his head and ambled towards the kitchen. Uncle immediately turned to me and took out an envelope from his pocket. "I put in extra money so you could get Aaron and yourself some new clothes okay?"
My cheeks reddened, "You didn't have to. Our clothes are fine." I said. He waved it off.
"Of course I had to. How's Ariana?" He asked changing the subject.
"She's still vacantly staring out of the window. She doesn't eat or anything. She just sits in that stupid chair of hers and doesn't do anything. I have to literally put food in her mouth." I said aware that the tiredness was now seeping throughout my demeanor.
"Your father's death was hard on her." He said quietly.
"It was hard on all of us, not just her." I said angrily.
"Here you go Uncle." Aaron spoke entering the room. He passed the glass to Uncle and turned to me. I at once smiled at him, beckoning him to come and sit on my lap. He followed my quiet request.
"The house looks spotless." Uncle said looking around.
"Alex just finished cleaning. I helped." Aaron said proudly. I ruffled his hair and he pouted.
"And you did good, little brother." I spoke and kissed his cheek.
"Mum didn't help at all." Aaron frowned. The smile slipped of my face. Uncle frowned too.
"I'm going to go talk to her for a bit." Uncle said.
"No use." I said from experience. He still got up and made his way to her room.
"You want to listen through the door?" Aaron spoke after Uncle had entered her room. I looked at him.
"You're getting too naughty." I said but got up and made my way to her room. I put my ear to the door and began listening.
"Ariana. Come on. Ariana. Look. At. Me. Ariana!!!" The last word was said in a frustrated tone. No answer. I looked down as Aaron looked up. I wrinkled my nose at him and he wrinkled his back. There was silence at the other end and then Uncle spoke in a quiet voice, "Why don't you jump off the building and make it official that you're dead? So your children don't keep hanging. The least you can do for them." My eyes widened at the cruel words. No answer. I heard him take a harsh breathe. "You're killing them too you know. They've lost enough without you being like this too." No answer. "This is not what Ross would have expected from you. You stopped going to work, you've stopped bathing, talking, eating, Hell you've stopped walking! How much longer are you going to let Alex sponge you off and feed you?! That poor girl has been cooking and cleaning and playing mother to her brother! And for God sakes she's barely sixteen, Ariana!" No answer. "You're not the only one to have lost someone." He spat at her. No answer. I heard Uncle get up and take a step towards the door. I was about to grab Aaron and bolt when he stopped. His voice was low as he said "Actually on the plus you only lost your husband, they've managed to lose Both their parents." He began walking towards the door.
My now shaky hands gripped Aaron's shoulders and began to drag him away when a hoarse muffled voice spoke, "It hurts too much. I can't... Move."
My hands slackened and my eyes widened. My knees gave away and I dropped on them, breathing hard. After all the times I tried... After all the things I said... After weeping and calling so many times... Not once... Not once had she spoken. Or even reacted. There was nothing. She had given up on her daughter and I had in turn lost hope in her. And now... And now a few words from my father's friend and she... She had denied her freaking daughter even a glance and she spoke for him!!! I had begged and cried and begged and she-
"Alex?" A small voice said. A tiny hand touched my cheek. I looked up to see Aaron's face. Tears ran down his cheek. I wiped away his tears and hugged him.
I breathed hard as I spoke, "I'm okay. Don't cry little brother. I'm okay. Shhhh..." My hands around him tightened.
"You have to. It doesn't matter if you can't. You have to Make yourself move." Uncle spoke from inside. "It's hurting them too, but Hell your children are braver than you are." The last words held a tone of pride. Aaron's small hands wound themselves around my neck. I stroked his back.
"I know." Mum spoke. "But I can't Alex. Take them."
Anger cracked through my body and I gasped at her words. My eyes saw red. I pulled away from Aaron and slammed the door open. My mother sat in her chair by the window. Her hair was falling loose and her face was an ill pale. She had grown thinner and her once bright blue eyes had dulled.
"You're a coward!" I screamed at her. "A coward! You sit there all day not daring to face anything! You refuse to talk so you won't have to face anyone! You refuse to eat because you can't face your life! You refuse to acknowledge your children because you are scared of the similarities we hold with dad! Fuck, you even refuse to suicide because you're too freaking scared of dying! If I had not been here I think you'd have even let Aaron die so you wouldn't have to face responsibility! I know you're hurt! You think I'm not?! What I wouldn't do to stay and mope in a chair by the window if I could. But I can't! Because you won't bloody move and Aaron has to eat." Tears streamed down my face and my voice broke. "I'm tired." I waited. She turned her head towards the window. No answer.
I breathed in harshly and stood up.
"Come on little brother, let's make noodles for you." I said firmly wiping my face with the back of my hand. I turned to Uncle Alex. "I'll have us packed by tomorrow if you'll have us." I said quietly. He nodded, his eyes brimming. I grabbed Aaron's small hand and led him to the kitchen.
The wedding tune began to play and in walked the bridesmaids in the traditional horrible dresses. Aaron turned to me again. I nodded at him in encouragement and he turned back to look at Rosa walk in, in a beautiful white gown. He smiled. I began to sob as Rosa reached the altar and her father passed her hand to Aaron's. My husband, Dean, quietly handed me a tissue and Uncle Alex patted my knee.
"I give you Mr and Mrs. Aaron." The priest announced. I sprang out of my chair and Aaron opened his arms for a hug beaming.
"My little brother's all grown up." I sniffed ruffling his hair.
"Not the hair, Alex!" He pouted.
Sometimes things may get hard. But we have to learn to move on. If not for ourselves then for people around us.
"Happiness can be found in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light." -Albus Dumbledore.
Thursday, 4 July 2013
It seemed angry, the sea, wild and roaring anger. Its waves reaching out to grab me and then pulling back in furious reluctance, coming closer and closer each time. I looked down at it as it crept up faster, standing my ground. I dug my feet deeper into the gritty sand and grinned as each new wave bought in a splash of cool. For something so angry it was very cool.
I took steps back as it leapt forward, eager, and soon it became a careful dance. I kept my eyes fixed on it, and my cousins standing with me laughing and squealing at the might of the ocean. It got more angry, foaming and frothing its way closer.
One wayward cousin leapt ahead challenging the sea in a daring attempt. He danced and waved at us, calling us out further. One started to give in to the temptation, but I held her back, "No more."
I yelled for him to come back. I could hear him snorting, wave me away and ride the wave. "You don't even know how to swim! And I don't think even that would help! Come back you idiot!" I screamed.
"You're paranoid! It's fine!" He yelled. I started to make my way to him and he took steps further back, cheekily.
"You come forward I go back!" He yelled taking another step back, one too far. There was no floor to step on. He slipped under the water, his hands calling out in a desperate plea.
"Call the life guard!" I yelled to my cousin who stood at my side. She began running. I glanced at the distance. Too far and too slow.
He surfaced, I growled and began to run forward. The sea rushed to greet me and I could almost hear the maniac laugh echoing through. It crashed against me, the salty water blinding me for a second. I vaguely made out his arms flailing a few feet ahead. My eyes watched a huge wave in making. I struggled forward, desperate but determined.
I reached out, so close. I kicked my feet against the water and grabbed his arm, gasping as the sea took revenge by pulling us deeper. I pulled him up and he clung to me, in his panicked state he dug his nails in my shoulders and I gave out a cry. I wrapped my arms around him and screamed, "When I tell you, LET GO!"
He looked at me, wildly refusing, and I repeated, turning around to glance behind me. Almost there... I grimaced as he clung to me harder, my arms now aching and the salty water making my eyes burn. Closer... "Now!" I yelled prying him off me. He protested, but I managed to throw him ahead. I did not get a chance to move ahead though. The wave crashed upon us moving us with fierce determination. Him forward towards hope, family and life. Me downwards to its crushing depths.
There was no sound, only silence as I whirled wildly, lost. My feet and arms burned, but my lungs protested the most. I kicked again closing my eyes to the burning. I surfaced, gasping and only for a moment, before the sea pulled me back gleefully. I kicked again and felt something slimy catch my foot. The air rushed out of me in furious bubbles as I glanced down.
Seaweed had clutched my leg, aiding the ocean in grasping another victim. I struggled, getting more tangled. My lungs burned and I longed for a gulp of air. I tried scratching the seaweed away, but my vision was blurring and my chest ached. I looked around me at the nothingness. For as far as I could see there was only murky water and gritty sand. There was no sound and it was almost serene. Almost.
Spots began to creep around my sight and my eyes closed. My heart thrummed in a desperate plea and my feet gave one last kick. My body gave up the last few gasps of air and I felt sharp pain.
Then, everything went black.
"I'm Salma Ali and this Faisal Khan and we're back with today's headlines." A bright girl told the viewers.
"A factory in Karachi burned. 8 found dead. 7 wounded." Faisal begin in an official voice.
"An 18 year old girl drowned at Hawks Bay while saving, successfully, her cousin." Salma added...
Wednesday, 3 July 2013
I sat, silent, leaning against the wall, my hands wrapped firmly around my knees. My eyes were closed, for even opening them would not remove the crushing darkness. My lips were dry and I was parched, but what use was eating or drinking when it would only sustain the one thing I did not want; to live.
I leaned my head back against the wall and winced as the memories whirled again.
She laughed loudly and shook her head at my antics. I stuck my tongue out at her, walking still like our grade 9 teacher had done, not caring what any other thought. She laughed again and linked her arm through mine, launching into a vivid opinion of exactly how idiotic Professor Ehab had been.
We walked at a leisurely pace pointing discreetly at the people walking on the road and giggling like a couple of loonies. Our conversation altered from how sexy British accents were to the potential psycho paths in our college. There was no sequence or any logic, but still the conversation made perfect sense to us.
We stopped to buy ice cream at the corner of the road. "110rs." The salesman said. She turned to me and asusual shrugged, "I'm broke." I rolled my eyes as I reached into my pocket.
"Tell me something new, you idiot." I told her as I looked for change. She grinned and walked on, licking her ice cream, turning to stick out her tongue at me.
"Here." I said to the man handing him some money. I stood patiently waiting for the change. I turned my head to watch her crossing the road.
A swish of wind blew past me and I saw a car turning wildly around the corner. Straight for her.
My ice cream fell and I screamed, "WATCH OUT!" Her eyes turned to the car speeding at her and she turned to run, her eyes catching mine. They shone with fright as the car hit her. I screamed, calling out for her desperately.
I turned my head as the tears ran and clutched myself tighter. The silence crept around me until I was afraid to breathe in case I upset it. She had always been there to break it, but no more... No one was there anymore.
A creak sounded. I recognised it as the sound of the door opening. Why could they not just leave me be?
"Hey." A low, deep voice whispered. My eyes opened and widened slightly at the familiar brown hair and kind face. I turned away. Footsteps sounded as he walked toward me. He sank on the floor next to me and did not say anything, offered no sympathies or suggestions as many did. He just sat quietly next to me.
"Why did you come back from America?" I asked turning to face him, my voice hoarse from not speaking in a good while.
"I heard a friend needed me so I came." He said simply, turning to me. His eyes shimmered with soft familiarity.
"You didn't have to." I spoke. He smiled softly and reached forward wrapping his arms around me.
"Of course I did." He whispered stroking my hair. I clutched his shirt.
"Why?" I asked.
"Because I promised I'd be there for you every time you needed me." He said.
"She promised that too." I spoke, my voice breaking at the end.
"But she never left you alone. She made sure I'd come." He said rubbing my arm.
He took out a piece of paper from his pocket, "She left this in her will for me."
'Return to her for I have left, but she cannot be alone.'
I cried on his shoulder and he let me. I knew I would never be alone for she would always be there.
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