It was an unnecessarily hot Tuesday afternoon. I was babysitting my little brother. Well, my little brother was playing and I was doing other things. One would think that a family with an in-ground pool would have AC, but no, we had fans. My brother ran around the house happily chasing around the kittens.
What makes this dull day worthy to talk about is everything that seemed to take place in a span of ten minutes. First thing that happened was, I woke up and started making breakfast. My brother came down the stairs, wearing only a pair of Batman boxers. He hopped onto a chair next to where I was standing, with a smile on his face. “Why are you so cheerful?” I asked.
“Because it is a great day, and my big brother is cooking me breakfast,” he said.
“This is not for you. It is for me and my imaginary friend.”
“What about me?” he asked with a pout. A smile pulled at the side of my lips. Instead of answering, I shrugged my shoulders, telling him nonverbally that his hunger is not my problem. My father slides in next. He slid into the table and stared sleepily, waiting on his coffee to appear in front of him. After handing me the cup, he turned to me.
“I need you to stay home today… alone,” he said.
“Why?” I asked.
“Don’t question me. I need you here. I will be out of town for the day, so you will have to watch your brother,” he said.
“Ok, whatever” I replied. I had nothing to do for the day anyway. Might as well spend time with the brat. Anyway, the brat and I were bored. Well, I was bored. He was having fun with his imagination, and spending time in his underwear.
A close friend stopped by in the late afternoon. I was lounging in the pool keeping a close eye on the boy at the shallow end. “I come bearing gifts,” said my friend. I lift a dark eyebrow. He pulled out a series of goodies. “I’m feeling generous, and you bought me dinner the other day. It’s on the house.” I grab the brat and make him go into his bedroom. With him gone, my friend and I began to party.
My friend and I laughed and rolled around the floor. I don’t remember much of the details. It was said my brother came downstairs to complain about being hot. I was out of my mind when this happened. I know I slept through whatever he was saying to me.
The next thing that happened were the screams. I couldn’t focus on them. I just ran to them. I didn’t know what was happening until I was in someone’s car, soaking wet. I looked up to someone for answers, but no one said anything. All I could whisper was “don’t tell my dad.” By the time my father showed up to the hospital, I was sober. His presence sobered me up. After silent rage, outward rage, and blaming me, things started to calm. That was, of course, until he turned to yell at me again.
“Really? What were you doing? Let me guess, you were snorting some sort of powder? You were busy trying to get high instead of watching him?” he said.
I stand up to him. “No, I wasn’t. This is not my fault. It was an accident. Accidents happen.”
“Don’t you fucking tell me accidents just happen. No, people like you just happen. And just like you, accidents should not have happen.”
Ignoring the feeling that flashed through me, I stepped back. “He’ll be okay,” I said. With that said, the doctor came out of the room and gave us the news. Forgetting who we were, my father rounded on me. I believed that he couldn’t stop punching me, because if he did, then he’d put me in the room next to my brother’s cold body.