Only This Morning

It was January 23rd, 2020. My alarm went off at 6:15, as per usual, and I hit the snooze button (also far too familiar). My mom poked her head in my room, “Wake up bunbun, big day.” she said in a chirpy voice. For all the years that I’ve been alive I have never understood how someone can be so happy and energetic in the morning.

Too happy. Too Early.

I groaned, rolled over, pushing my head as far into my pillows as possible, probably looking a little ostrich-like. She turns my light on just as I turn back over to face the ceiling. I can feel my eyes rolling to the back of my head just as a bowling ball would roll into place as it comes up the ramp to meet you.

Today was the day my brother, Max, was leaving for college. For some reason, I wasn’t too upset about it. I’m not entirely sure if it was because all he does is complain and make fun of me or if it was because now I have my own bathroom. No seriously, all jokes aside, Max has been my best friend for years. We do everything together and now he’s just not going to be here. He’s just kind of… leaving I guess. 

Anyways, by now it’s about 6:30 and if I don’t get out of bed I’ll miss my bus. I frantically throw on some black LuluLemon leggings and white AirForce Ones with a black hoodie on top. 

“I left you some cut up strawberries on your makeup table.” My mom shouts from up the stairs. “Good brain food for you today.”

“Thanks!” I yell back. I paint on some mascara and brush my hair out then suddenly stop in my tracks. Max had walked into my room with a backpack bigger than him (to be fair he is only 5 foot 6). H eheld his cup of G-Fuel in his left hand and one of his many suitcases in his right. 

“We’re headed outta here in a few.” He said with a wholehearted smile. “Weird to see my up this early?”

“Very.” I said back. Max usually wakes up at about 3 or 4 in the afternoon after staying up til 7 or 8 in the morning the “night” before.

My mom comes traipsing up the stairs. “Ok Max, we’ve gotta go. We don’t know how long security is going to take, there could be traffic or we could forget something…” I cut her off as she walks into the room max and I were both in. “Mom. Relax. Please.” She takes a deep breath and looks as though she’s about to pass out. That or she has just seen a very large ghost behind us. 

I stand up and wrap my arms around max as tight as humanly possible, it still didn’t feel tight enough by a long shot. 

“Please don’t die.” I whispered as he hugged me back.

“I’m gonna be fine. I’m more worried about you than you are of me I bet.” He rubs the back of my head with his fingers and so much crashes over me. I felt like I was being hit by one of those water bucket things at just about any water park you can go to in America.

July 27th, 2016. 

It was late. Too late to be standing in my driveway, hyperventilating in my brother’s arms as he tries to calm me down. We were waiting for the police to arrive at our house. I was facing our house. I could see through tens of tens of tears my step-dad, sitting with his elbows on his knees, hands down covering the top of his almost bald head. It was as if someone literally took an image of a criminal getting busted and made it a real-life nightmare right before my eyes. His name was Edward, everyone called him Ward though. Him and my mom got married when I was six and he has two children of his own, Sarah and Ethan.

Ethan was still locked in the bathroom. He had been thrown into a wall and screamed at for at least an hour so I didn’t exactly blame him. Ward had always had anger issues but not like this, never like this.

So as Max rubbed the back of my head with his fingers through my hair that January morning, I thought of that late, July night for weeks after. 


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