My enormous, sleep encrusted brown eyes quickly opened. I jumped out of bed. I dashed to my bedroom door, forcing it open with the might of a 9 year-old on a mission with some seriously unfortunate bedhead.
“I’m awake!” I cried, waiting for some sort of commendation.
Silence. The dog didn’t even stir.
My mom was on the couch with her legs curled underneath her. Her lit cigarette was making billowing silvery-grey smoke figures while resting in the grooves of the pea green, rotund glass ashtray on the side table. Her coffee cup was half full, and it would stay that way, as she never finished a full cup of anything.
“Can I have Cheerios for breakfast?” I requested, adjusting the wedgy that happened every time I wore that 100% polyester floor length, sea foam green nighty from Zellers. Somehow all of the static that was ever accumulated in one summer evening found its way into my fast asleep ass.
“I guess,” she stated glumly while looking through her burgundy coupon container that used to be a recipe container in anticipation of her grocery shopping trip that day. She hated grocery shopping and she wasn’t afraid to tell us as much “If I didn’t ever have to go grocery shopping again I would be happy,” she would say on an almost weekly basis.
Domesticity was not her cup of tea, and in later years I realized she had passed this trait down to me.
“Don’t make a mess, and see what your brother wants.”
Of course I had to find out what my brother wanted. Wade, in my eyes, was only born to make my life miserable. He was the thorn in my side, the Gargamel to my Papa Smurf, the Ghost to my PacMan. Wade, my younger brother, was the barrier in my life’s pursuit as the coolest kid of the 10 kid wolf-pack living on my block.
I lurched past his room which wreaked of old food and pee with hopes of catching him doing something wrong. And there he was, sitting on his bed, sucking his thumb, staring blankly at his X-Wing Fighter poster with his enormous sleep encrusted brown eyes.
“Mom wants to know what you want for breakfast.”
“I want toast.”
“Then you should make some.”
“I’m not allowed”
“Because you’re dumb.”
“I’m telling Mom.”
“Go ahead, I don’t care.”
“Maaaaaaaaaammmmmmm!!! Dallas called me dumb!”
“Dallas don’t call your brother dumb.”
I made my brother toast.
After breakfast which included both toasting and buttering for two people and making sure that the dishes were brought back to the sink, I brushed my teeth and ran to my room to find something to wear. My brown bell bottom corduroys that were worn out in the thighs and knees from both excessive bike riding and attempting wheelies and Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader T-shirt, and ode to my Dad’s favorite football team/cheerleading squad, were my go-to outfit so I slipped them on quickly
“I am going out to play” I said as I struggled to fit my white wooden clogs over my thick white socks.
“Not until you clean your room,” my Mom countered.
“My room is clean,” I disputed.
“Ha! It’s a pig-stye!” clinched my Mom.
“Maaaammmmm…. can’t I clean it when I get home?”
“No. Now. You told me you would do it this weekend.”
Knowing that I had lost the battle, as I always did, I kicked my clogs against the wood panelled wall and ran to my room. I slammed the door.
“Don’t slam your door.”
I quickly hurled all of my toys in the closet. I made my bed. I ran a sticky Kool-Aid encrusted plastic cup to the kitchen. I was done.
I threw my clogs back on. “K, I’m going out to play.”
“Take your brother with you.”
“What? I hate taking him, he always cries.” He did really cry a lot. It was embarrassing.
“You don’t spend enough time with him. He is your brother for crying out loud.”
“He’s stupid, that’s why I don’t play with him.”
“Don’t be smart.”
“OK, I will be dumb than.”
“Take him or you are not going out.”
“Fine, but if I lose all of my friends because of him it’s your fault.”
I kicked off my clogs and stopped for a second to marvel at my accuracy skills. I happened to hit the same spot on the wall as I had ten minutes earlier. Not bad.
I went to Wade’s room to get him. He was sitting on his bed with his thumb in his mouth crying. Of course. I felt bad a little but I didn’t know why.
“Mom wants you to go out and play with me.”
“I don’t want to.”
“Oh my God. Just come outside.”
He wiped his nose with his thread barren yellow blankie and stood up. He was still in his blue Snoopy pyjamas.
“Mom he is still in his pyjamas!”
“Wade, put your clothes on and brush your teeth.”
“I don’t want to go outside with dumb head.”
“Fine, stay home than.”
Summer was exhausting.
I once again put on my clogs.
“I am going outside now.”
“Not until you clean the mark on the wall where you kicked your clogs.”