The Bitter End
Watching your entire family fall apart is surreal. It feels like it isn't really happening, that your watching someone else's life being torn apart, until reality sinks in and you realise that your just pretending that everything is okay.
I'm Jordan Pike. Fourteen and a freshman at Stoneybrook High School. I'm one third of triplets and the third eldest of eight. I had spent my entire childhood thinking that my family could stand through everything together. My dad lost his job for a while, and we managed to get back on our feet. We stood together through a lot of tough times, but coming home to find both of your parents sitting there in the living room at 3:30 in the afternoon is never a good sign. Mom looked like she had been crying and Dad's tie was askew. At first I thought someone died, like grandma or grandpa or Mallory had been in accident up at her school but something felt odd. We sat down in front of them like wewere the ones in trouble.
"Mommy?" Claire asked, as she clutched my hand. Claire was the youngest at eight and still had the innocence of much younger. It made me want to protect her even more. She believed that there could be no bad or evil in the world and I guess that was her coping mechanism. "Daddy?"
Mom and Dad exchanged glances before Mom looked straight back at us, her arms folding across her chest like they do when she gets angry. "Go ahead. You tell them what you did." Her voice sounds so angry but at the same time, it sounds like she's about to start crying.
Dad's mouth fell open a little, I guess from the harshness of Mom's words. He clasped his hands together. "Kids... your Mom and I have felt like we should... not be together anymore." He said, slowly, like he was unsure of what he was saying.
"Tell them why, John."
All of our eyes went from Dad to Mom as they stared at each other. A pit grew in my stomach as Dad turned back to us and sighed. "Kids, the reason is because I... cheated on your mother."
"Are you serious?" Vanessa asked, leaning forward. She had a look of disbelief. "Why?"
Mom snorted. "A thing I would like to know too. Why, John? Can you explain it to the kids and me or are you unable to do that?"
Dad rubbed his hands. "I can't just explain why!" He said, tugging at his tie. "Just know that I love you all very much still." He looked sideways. "You will all stay here with your mom and I'll stay at a motel until I can find something more."
I squeezed Claire's hand as I felt it shake a little. "Your getting divorced?" I asked.
Dad's face looked sad. "I don't know yet, son. We haven't worked anything out yet." He said, standing up and walking away.
Claire got up and walked over to mom. "I love you, mommy." She said in a small voice. She hugged mom who started crying. The rest of us just kind of sat there in shock. I didn't know what to say, I guess they didn't either. Were we meant to be angry at Dad? Were we meant to take mom's side? All I felt was numb.
Mom let Claire go, and wiped her eyes. "You kids have homework." She said, standing up. "I should get a start on dinner." Mom left the lounge room.
Vanessa stood up. "I'll help you Claire." She said. Vanessa was smart, she often helped Margo and Claire with their homework. Sometimes Vanessa reminded me of Mallory, always had her head stuck in a book but Vanessa had something Mallory didn't have, this air around her full of confidence. She was one of the most popular girls at SMS.
Claire smiled. "Come on!" She said, tugging at Margo's hand. "You are coming with us."
I stand up and walk up the stairs, into my bedroom that I share with Adam. Last year, the girls decided that they wanted the big room, which was originally shared by all us boys. Byron drew the short stick and had to share with Nicky. It's not that I don't like Nicky, it's just that, he's a bit awkward and doesn't make new friends very well. I take a look at the state of the room, it was very clear that two teenage boys lived in here. It probably even smelt like it, not that I would know. I flopped down on my bed and closed my eyes.
I slept something crazy like eighteen hours straight. I woke up, feeling like absolute shit and even more tired than I was yesterday. The whole day was a blur. I remember closing my eyes in English and opening them to find myself in gym class in the middle of a game of basketball. After school, I didn't exactly feel like going home. Dad was probably still at work and then going to what ever motel he was staying at. Mom had probably locked herself in her room, and was still crying. I couldn't look at my sad, depressed siblings. I was the eldest now, since Mallory was off at boarding school. I was forty seconds older than Adam, even though we were born on the same day. Instead of going home, I walked towards Brenner park, where not many kids hung out, at least during the day. I had heard of stories about some burnouts at my school hanging out there. I sat down on a park bench and looked around, as expected, no one was here or so I thought. Haley Braddock was walking towards me. Haley was only in the eighth grade and still at SMS, but last year while I was still there, we'd go to dances together, birthday parties and hangout a lot. We weren't exclusive, but I had the feeling she liked me more than I liked her, which always sounds wrong when I think of her. We hadn't talked much since the beginning of the school year.
"Hi." She said, smiling at me as she pulled her backpack off and sat down next to me. "Haven't seen you in a while." She said, giving me a look.
I shrugged. "I'm sorry. High school is crazy, so much homework and my gym teacher wants me to practice basketball as much as possible so I can join the team next year and yesterday, my dad decided to tell us he cheated on my mom so they're probably getting a divorce." I said, realising I was actually telling someone that last part, but this was Stoneybrook, a small town where gossip flies around in no time.
I felt Haley's hand on mine, giving it a small squeeze. "I'm sorry to hear that Jordan." She said. "I feel bad now for being angry at you for not talking to me. It seems so silly when you have problems in your life."
"I think my mom's going to have a mental breakdown. She won't come out of her room or stop crying. My dad, I don't even know why he did it. I thought he loved my mom. You know, I thought they would be together forever, they have eight kids together and like sixteen years of marriage and he ruins it by being with some other woman. Maybe i'm not old enough to understand."
"Jordan, the only thing you can do right now is be there for everyone, including your dad. He made a big mistake, I know. He hurt your mom and she's angry at him, but he's your dad and you can't change that fact. You have a strong heart and I know you can get through this." I turned to Haley. She sounded so mature, then again, she had always been a little more mature for her age. Her younger brother, Matt, was deaf and she defended him at no cost whenever someone made a snide comment or made fun of him. I didn't care that she was thirteen and I was fourteen. There had been a reason that I had hung out with her all those times, gone to dances with her, danced with her (even though I absolutely hated dancing) and thought of her often. I leaned across the bench and placed a kiss on her lips. I pulled away staring at her reaction. "What are you doing?" She whispered.
I leaned closer again. "I don't know."
A week later, my mom still hadn't come out of her room. Mrs McGill, my mom's best friend who lived behind us, had cooked us dinner every night and looked after mom. She did our laundry, dishes and even helped Nicky with an assignment. Every night before Claire went to bed, she stood outside mom's room, just staring at the closed door. On the eighth day of the door being closed, I stood outside it. I was meant to be getting ready for school but I was over seeing the door closed and not eating my mom's home cooked dinners or seeing her help Claire and Margo with their homework while cooking dinner, or seeing her collecting all the dirty laundry while complaining about her little "pigs" that she gave birth too. I opened the door. "Mom?" I called, in case she was a sleep.
There was movement on the bed. "Jordan?" She replied.
I walked towards her. "You can tell my voice apart?" I asked as I saw her up close. She looked so tired and sad. It was probably the worst shape I had ever seen my mom in. She looked quite tiny under all the blankets.
A small smile was on her face before it vanished. "Of course I can, sweetheart. What's wrong?"
I looked around. It was so dark and cold in the room. "Are you okay?" I asked.
She sighed. "Honey, sometimes, people go through dark times in their life that is hard for them to cope with. I promise that soon, I'll be back on my feet. Everyday becomes lighter and the darkness goes away."
"I love you, mom." I said, standing up. "I have to go to school."
"Good boy. I love you too, honey."
"My dad is at work and my mom is taking Matt up to his specialist appointment." Haley said as she dragged me up the stairs. "So, we are alone for a couple hours." She said, smiling at me as she leaned against her bedroom door. She looked really cute today, her hair pulled back in a braid and she was wearing a cute little sweater and jeans.
"So, what did you want to do?" I asked, putting my hand on the door above her head. I towered over her now.
Haley shrugged. "Whatever you want to do." She said, biting her lip.
I leaned down, close enough for her to think I was going to kiss her and opened the door. "Your room hasn't changed much." I said, looking at her dresser. The last corsage I brought her was in the middle.
Haley flopped down on her bed. "I like keeping the important things."
I turned to her. "So, I have a question to ask you." I said. "It involves...us..." Haley's face lit up like a Christmas tree. "I wanted to know if you wanted to go out. Like boyfriend and girlfriend?"
Haley stared at me. "Are you joking?" She asked, not blinking.
I blinked. "No?" I replied.
Haley flew off the bed and hugged me. "Yes!" She said, squeezing me.
"Babe, I can't breathe."
True to my mom's words, things did get better. My mom managed to get out of bed and got the household back to normal, well, as normal as it would ever get to now. My parents officially separated and were divorced by April. My dad moved to a smaller house and we sometimes visited him. It was hard to adjust that our parents were living under separate houses. Christmas was worse, our parents fought over who got us on Christmas day until Vanessa came up with the agreement that we spend Christmas eve with dad and Christmas day with mom. I practised basketball and by the end of the school year, I found out that I was going to be on the junior varisty team starting next year.
"Haley Braddock!" Mr Taylor announced over the microphone.
"Woo! Go Haley!" I shouted as she walked up the stairs and grabbed her diploma. I was still dating Haley, which Adam and Byron teased me a bit about, because she was still in middle school but they couldn't no longer do that, because she was graduating today. After the ceremony, I made my way through the crowd towards her. "Hey." I said, tapping her on the shoulder.
Haley smiled and gave me a quick kiss. "Hey yourself." She said.
"Congratulations." I said.
"Excited that your now officially a high school student?"
She laughed. "Of course." She rolled her eyes. She leaned up towards my ear. "Did I tell you everything would work out?"
I pulled her into a hug and nodded. "Yes, you did."
- Current Location:Boyfriend's House
- Current Mood: bored