I married the right brother.
At least that’s what I tell myself at night, when I stare at the ceiling and listen to the rhythm of the grandfather clock down the hall. It never feels like the mere passage of time, but a countdown towards something inevitable.
Bobby Lightly is selfish, irresponsible, and careless. I haven’t seen him since the day I married his brother. He slipped out during the wedding reception without a word.
A year later, I heard Bobby was drafted to Korea. He never said goodbye to anyone. Never sent a letter. We had all come to terms with the fact that he was probably dead somewhere, either a victim of the war or its aftermath.
That is, until in the midst of an unrelenting heatwave, he showed up at the doorstep of the house I lived in with his brother.
Everyone thinks I’m cruel. Everyone thinks I should be easy on him. They think I don’t understand him. They all think I hate him.
But what no one understands is that it was Bobby who broke my heart.
And I think he’s back to do it again.
“What do you want me to do?” I yelled frustratedly.
“Pack my bags and go to India? Life’s not that easy. We’re not all you. We don’t all just walk away from our responsibilities.” I immediately regretted those last words, recalling the scar on his shoulder. There were some responsibilities Bobby faced when others would have run.
“It’s not about what I want you to do, Lil. What do you want?”
What I wanted was no longer relevant. It was too late for what I wanted.
“You keep taking that shit and one day you are going to wake up and realize you slept your whole life away. There may be people who need that, but you are not one of them. Let yourself feel it all. The good. The bad. The fucking great. Don’t imprison yourself.”
I knew he was right, but I had grown comfortable in the numbness. Yet there was something luxurious about the pain I felt upon Bobby’s return. It was rich and textured. I could feel it in my bones and my chest and on my skin. I could taste it. I could feel again. And feeling the pain also gave me room to feel alive.
“If you keep doing this, how are you any different than Rory? We want to get him better, right? Well the changes start with us. I’m back and trust me, that wasn’t easy for me. And now you’ve gotta bring yourself back.”
I swallowed sharply, preparing myself to say goodbye to my dear friend. A friend who had always been there. More than my sister, or mother, or Barbie could be. It understood my fears, my insecurities, the things I had sacrificed. It knew my secrets. I never had to explain myself to it. It never judged.
“Fine,” I surrendered. But I clutched the bottle tighter in my hands than ever before.
Bobby’s body language relaxed as he glanced over to me and opened his palm. “Gimme.”
“What? Now you want ‘em?”
“Don’t be an ass, Lil.”
I sneered at Bobby, slamming the bottle in his palm. The pills tried to seduce me one last time as I heard them dance in their container.
About The Author
Her next novel, Swelter, releases on October 1st, 2015.
Nina LOVES connecting with readers. You can connect with her via Facebook, Twitter, or through this site.