Hi, Hey, Hello!
What a post at the usual scheduled time? How organised of me in this very moment in a month that has been a bit all over the place in that respect this month. I cannot believe that it’s day 28 of 30. Where has the month gone? Let’s get to it though.
‘It feels easier to just swim down’
I have been in this very room many times over the last 4 years. I’ve retreated to it to get some solace from the craziness that is my family house, sometimes spending a week there just to avoid going home to unexpected loud noises as the pseudos came up with a new game that involved a lot of banging and to avoid being woken up every hour on the hour by a hungry, needy newborn baby. Sometimes I just retreated to this room because I knew Nix wouldn’t ask a million questions. She would just leave me to and get back to living her life.
She was this calm presence in my life and this spare room had become the second home that she had allowed me to cultivate. The walls were painted my favourite colour, the bed spread was covered in Disney Villains, my favourite candle lay on the bedside table melted in a blob, some of my most loved clothes were in this room because it was convenient for them to be there. I clearly lived in this room, even though it wasn’t my home.
My younger brother and sister were sleeping brokenly in the bed, one curled up under a snarling Ursula and the other under the Evil Queen. There was no real room for me on that bed with their constant tossing and turning so I was sat on the window ledge looking at the world pass by through the window. A gentle wind was blowing through the trees outside and took with it some of the recently sprung blossom. The pink of the flowers looked almost white in the early morning sun. As I watched the world pass by almost in slow motion I felt the first of the teats start to bubble over and spill down my face.
No one would really tell us, me, what happened, the perils of being considered a minor. Old enough to drive, not old enough to be told outright as a next of kin that my parents were dead. I could almost laugh at the irony of that.
I was woken up by flashing blue lights outside of the living room window which at the time just alerted me to the fact that I had fallen asleep in the sofa again. It didn’t occur to me at the time that the flashing lights were directly outside the house, for the people inside it. Me. The knock on the door was the worst part. A simple banging of brass on brass and yet it turned my blood ice cold. It was muscle memory that led me to the front door and as I opened it I could make out three blurry figures.
I needed to wake up my siblings and go with them so they could provide us with appropriate care. Our parents had been in an accident. That was a bad enough sentence to hear at 11pm on a Tuesday when I was half asleep, but it was made worse when I took note of their faces when I reappeared at the front door with two kids under 10 and a baby trying to fall back asleep strapped to my chest. Whatever this accident my parents had been involved in wasn’t good.
Which was reaffirmed to me when we were dropped off at Nix’s house and she looked like she had recently seen a ghost Pale, scared eyes, completely zoned out. They were dead. Our parents were dead. They had finally taken a night to themselves and it had cost them their lives. It made that joke I had made for weeks about how the world wasn’t going to end if they actually went on a date every now and then seem tasteless now. Apparently the world could end. Not the whole world obviously, but our world. Looking at the face of my sister I could see that it had happened, her world had ended and slowly but surely ours was going to come crashing down with hers.
I knew just by looking at her, in her hollow state, that she had chosen this. She was taking this on, not just for the grieving period but for good. Until we were all well and truly grown up. She was stepping up to the plate. For us. As I sat on that window ledge, with the distinct feeling that Nix was doing the same in her room next door, I cried.
I cried for the obvious reason and then I cried for Nix. I cried because she was sacrificing the life she had grafted hard for and built for herself for diapers and pre-pubescents. She was probably going to lose the window seat in her room, which was pretty much the only reason that she chose this place at all. She was moving back into a house that held nothing but good memories for the worst possible reason. I cried because my parents were never going to get to see me graduate after watching all the hard work I had put in over the years. They weren’t going to throw Nix a massive 30th birthday, or celebrate Scott and Lydia reaching double figures. They weren’t going to see Hayden finally sleeping through the night for the first time. Or watch him grow up at all. They weren’t going to see who their children would become. Or at least 4 out 5 of them. They had watched Nix grow up, they had watched her become this bad ass girl who got shit done and was happy.
And I was going to watch that come crashing down.
I cried because Scott, Lydia and Hayden, especially Hayden, were never going to know how truly amazing their parents were. Stories were never going to do them justice and they just wouldn’t know. Nix and I had become part of this exclusive, almost secret, club because we knew them. They loved with everything they had and they ignored the people who told them they were stupid for having a kid so young. They kicked ass and made names for themselves and they did it all with a little girl right beside them. They shone so bright and passed that on to all their children, but especially me and Nix, who couldn’t help but find it infectious. I cried because as I watched the blossom swirl through the wind and disappear past the window and the sunlight grow stronger that everything had changed now.
And once I started crying, I didn’t know how to stop.
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