I’m supposed to be the kid that has everything together. It was as if everyone pasted around a coffee cup of stirrers and I picked the purposely broken one. I’m the short straw in the grief of my mom’s death. I don’t get to fall apart, because someone has to stay together. Everyone else had already claimed their roles while the shock that she wasn’t coming home ever again has started to rattle within me.
The grief counselors say shock as if it’s a dull numbness that clears your mind of the pain of loss. The mind hasn’t set in yet. But that’s not the way I feel it. Shock is an electricity that is on a continuous soundtrack in my head: Mom is dead. Snap. Mom has a lovely smile. I’ll never see Mom’s smile again. Snap. I should do something nice for Mom. There is no Mom. Snap. The snaps of reality are powerline wires slapping at my bare skin in waves of painful reminders.
But I don’t get to show those scars. Someone has to have it together and that’s me now. So I have to learn what having it together looks like at 17. What’s being an adult? My younger sisters certainly don’t know, but that’s what they need: a parent, a leader. I’m no longer a brother; I’m more. And being more led me here.
I think I made the wrong move, I went too far left of center.
Author note: I’m working on some character development of Easton, the lead in my in-progress novel Fleeting East, which you can read more on here.