Eleanor hates her brother Ezra for many things. For being smarter. Being dorky. Being her shadow. But mostly, she hates him for dying. Because it was a choice. His choice. And her fault.
First 500 Words:
The Head Doctor
She said to keep a journal. “It will make you feel better.”
So I said, “I already keep a journal.”
And she asked, “Where do you keep it?”
And I answered “None of your business.”
So I guess that’s kind of a theme with me.
But here it is.
The funeral was short.
There were a lot of people, especially people from the community that Mom said she’d never seen before and didn’t want nowhere around her baby’s last goodbye. People from the school who didn’t care enough to listen when he was still alive, but suddenly care enough to come sit in the pews and cry and pray and act like they wish they could’ve done more to help.
My father finally showed up.
Like Mom says, “Too little, too late.”
I didn’t bother to get out of bed.
Neither did Mom.
I still didn’t bother to get out of bed.
But I couldn’t sleep. Every time I closed my eyes I’d relive that last day.
That Last Day
“Do you ever think about what it would be like?” he’d asked.
“What what would be like?” I wasn’t in the mood for one of his downer conversations. I was taking this quiz in a magazine I borrowed from Alexis.Who’s Your Rocker Soul Mate? I was hoping to score Nick Tristan, lead guitar from Broken Dream, because they’re the hottest band ever.
“Death,” he said. “Dying. I wonder if it would hurt, or if it’s peaceful.”
I rolled my eyes. “I guess it depends on whether you kick it in your sleep or catch on fire when you’re awake.”
“I won’t catch on fire,” he said. “But I don’t think I’ll be sleeping either.”
“Whatever.” I went back to my magazine.
I should have been paying attention.
I didn’t feel like going back to school.
So I stayed home.
Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday.
More of the same.
Aunt Cammie and Uncle Brent threw a barbeque.
Cammie showed up early to pick me up and drag me there.
I got back in bed and pulled the covers over my head.
“She shouldn’t spend all her time cooped up in her room.” I heard Aunt Cammie tell Mom from my spot on my bed. “It’s not healthy. She’ll get depressed.”
“We’re all depressed,” Mom answered.
But Aunt Cammie refused to take no for an answer.
That’s why I found myself in the backseat of Uncle Brent’s car on my way to their house in the nice part of town while Mom stayed home alone, cooped up in her room, depressed.
It was a miserable day. Overcast and ugly. Not ideal Memorial Day BBQ weather. But it wasn’t raining, so Uncle Brent and the other men made a big show of going out to fire up the grill, because nothing says “Honoring Our Troops” like slightly undercooked hamburgers and char-broiled hotdogs.