When she was gone and guilt had spread over
me like an itchy blanket, I curled up on the couch, my black coat
and tie still on~but then I sat back up. There, in the darkness, I
wanted to do something to make up for all the years I had been gone.
I wanted to be part of the family. I wanted to be her older brother.
I'd pay my rent and walk out of that dingy Chicago apartment where
I spent my nights staring at the ceiling. I'd leave behind my sometime-job
at a newspaper~fuck them~I could freelance anywhere. I'd sell my car
for a plane ticket. Then, I'd fly back to Miami and move in with my
sister. I'd help her out. She'd dump Sam, dump him like waterlogged
driftwood he was. It'd be rough, at first; it'd be hard raising her
kids, but I'd do it for her. On weekends I'd go to softball and soccer
matches, weekdays I'd pick them up from school.
As for Clarissa, she could do whatever she
wanted~whatever that was. She'd once wanted to be a
ballerina. She couldn't exactly do that now, but she could do just
about anything else. I'd take a world off her shoulders.
I heard the stairs creak~Sam coming up from
downstairs. I considered lying back down and pretending to be asleep,
but then I figured I'd face him like a man.
with the email, Sammy?"
"You're up." He didn't seem surprised. I don't
think anything could surprise him.
He stood awkwardly, his arm already resting
on the banister leading upstairs. "Well, I'm tired."
He sighed. "I just spent two hours writing
to the lawyer who's going to handle your mom's estate. Apparently,
she never made an official will and sorting out what belongs to who
and making sure the government doesn't tax us for all she's worth
is going to be a nightmare."