One thing I want to do with this blog is to share my original stories. I think this platform is a great way to get my writing out there. So, here it is. I hope you enjoy.
She let the door to her uncle’s trailer slam behind her as she stormed out. Kat had had more than enough of living in this hell hole. She deserved better. She’d worked her ass off since she was fourteen and still couldn’t get ahead. No one would let her get ahead. She pulled her pack of Camel lights out of the top pocket of her plaid over shirt and pounded it against her hand before pulling one out; then dug around in her jean shorts for her Bic. She was beyond pissed off. She jumped off the deck and headed across the yard, through the junk cars that her uncle was planning to fix up one day. She wanted out. She needed an escape. This town, this trailer park, even, made her feel like she was living in a snow globe: a bubble with no way out no matter how hard she pushed. She wandered to the back of the lot where the most beat up of her uncle’s cars were: the ones that were too rusted out to be used for anything except spare parts.
“Kathrine!” a gravelly voice called after her. “Get back here. Don’t be like that.”
“No!” Kat called back sucking in a deep a drag on her cigarette then blowing the smoke out like a train whistle. “You don’t get it! You can’t get it. I’m suffocating. I need to live my own life. I want to get my brother, and I want to get out of here. I want to give him all that shit that our parents were supposed to. You won’t let me take him, but he’s not yours to keep.”
“He’s twelve, Kat,” her uncle said. “You can’t just rip a twelve-year-old boy out of his life and wing him around on your will. You just can’t.”
“I can find a place in town. There’s a couple places for rent on the down the street from the shop,” Kat fought. “He won’t have to change schools. He’ll end up on a different bus. It’ll be fine.” Kat flicked the butt of her cigarette on the ground and crushed it under the toe of her work boot. She leaned back against the rusted out frame of F-150. “I gotta good job, I can provide for him. He’s my responsibility.”
“No, he isn’t,” her uncle sighed. “You’re seventeen years old. You dropped out of high school for no reason I can understand. You’re not ripping a little kid out of the only stable life he’d ever had to go off on an adventure. You’re workin’ under the table at a body shop. That’s not reliable employment, kiddo. I understand what you’re trying to do, but I can’t let you fall on your face if Alex’s gonna get the short end. If you want to move out and live on your own, go. I’ll be here to catch ya when ya fall, but I ain’t letting you drag him through the mud along with ya. Both of you deserve better than that, and you know it.”
Kat picked at the chipping paint on the door of the truck and stared dead into her uncle’s eyes. “He’s my responsibly.”
Her uncle never backed down, he matched her stare right back at her. “You’re Daddy left the two of you in my care—“
“When he took off and left us behind,” Kat scoffed. “He told me to take care of Alex. He told me it was my job to keep Alex in order. It’s my job to watch out for him. I don’t get to leave him behind because you don’t want me to take him with me. I can take care of myself. I’ve been doing it for years.”
“I know you can,” her uncle nodded. “You can take care of yourself just fine. What I don’t think you can do is care for a middle schooler right along with ya. You ain’t his mom, kid. You’re his sister. The faster you learn to accept that, the faster this sinks in, the faster you can get over yourself and realize I know what I’m talkin’ about. When you grow up and start thinkin’ like an adult, maybe then we’ll talk about letting Alex move in with you. Right now, Kat, it’s not a good idea. You got no idea what it’s like out there.”
“You can’t tell me what to do anymore,” Kat huffed, crossing her arms across her chest. “You never had the right to tell me what to do. You’re not my dad. You got no legal right to us! We got dumped on your doorstep. I can take my brother and leave when I want to. Maybe me and Alex will head to Virgina and live with Dad. You can’t stop us. I can pack him up in the middle of the night and just leave. There would be nothing you can do about it. Dad’ll take us in. He’d have no problem with it. He’s wanted us to be with him for years. But he said you won’t let him take us back for the same lame ass reasons you won’t let me take Alex. We ain’t yout property. You don’t got no say about what we do. You were just the most convenient roof my dad could think of when he was trying to deal with Mom dying.”
“I could have said ‘fuck it all’ and taken the two of you to child protective services and let you both grow up in the system,” her uncle said. “But outta respect for dead my sister I stepped up and took her two kids in because her deadbeat of a husband couldn’t be bothered to man up. And here you are blindly hero-worshipping a man that you haven’t seen in six years.”
“Don’t talk about my dad like that!” Kat defended.
“You think you know everything?” her uncle laughed. “You think that because he calls you on your birthday and remembers to send Christmas cards he’s an A-plus father? You still hold hope he did the best he could. You think you’re ready to be an adult, start to act like Kat. Go back to school, or get your goddamned GED so you can work for a legit shop. You’re a real smart kid, but you’re acting like a spoiled little brat that doesn’t get to have ice cream for breakfast. Stop making everything so hard for yourself. You don’t have to do anything alone.”
“Alone is the only way I know how to do anything,” Kat spat back. “I’ve been fighting my way alone over half my life.”
Her uncle rubbed his hand down his face the scratched the side of beard. “I’ve just about had enough of fighting with you about it. You’ve never been alone. You just haven’t been able to open your eyes wide enough to see that you have a support system. Do what you’re gonna do, Kat. I can’t stop ya. But you’re not moving Alex out of the only stable environment he’s ever known to live hand to mouth over a Chinese food place downtown. We both know Alex deserves a hell of a lot better than that.”
Her uncle turned and stormed back into the trailer, slamming the door hard behind him. Kat pushed herself off the rusted truck, took another cigarette from her pack and started to walk. She walked along the fence surrounding the yard, stepping over spare mufflers and a stray engine. She hated this place. She hated the broken pieces. She hated that she couldn’t leave. Sure she could pack up her little Toyota and take off tonight, but she wasn’t whole without Alex at her side. She couldn’t leave without knowing that Alex would be okay. It wasn’t that her aunt and uncle had ever done anything to them. They’d been more than great, better parents than two abandoned kids could have asked for. Kat felt that she was the only one who could take care of Alex. Her dad made her promise as the three of them stood on her uncle’s doorstep a month after her mother died she’d watch out of Alex, she’d take care of him. She had to do what was in his best interest. His best interest was to be with her.
As she paced the fence, chain-smoking her shoplifted cigarettes, she started to calm down, see clearly. She kicked a tire that was sitting next to a Mazda with only three attached to it: another project her uncle would get to, eventually. Everything about her life was broken: left unwanted and uncared for by the person who was supposed to care the most. She didn’t want that for her brother. Her brother should never have to feel like she did. He should feel like he belonged and be needed no matter what was happening around him. All she wanted for him was happiness. The one thing she didn’t think she was capable of reaching. As the sun started to set over the yard, she started coming to her senses. Her uncle was right, the cool head that he always was when Kat proved over and over again that she was her father’s daughter.
She circled the yard one more time, passing the better cars, ones that ran with help from the rusted out ones in the back lot, as she got closer to the front door.
Alex sat on the deck, legs hanging off the side, kicking back and forth.
“Are you really going to move out?” he asked as she started to climb the stairs.
“No,” Alex answered sitting next to him. She ruffled his dark hair before placing her chin on his head. “I’m not going anywhere. Not yet.”
Until next time, Internet
Books read in 2017: 2