In the Eyes of Suzanne B. McKenzie
Slice of life. First person. Child narrator. 1420 words.
“You just landed on boardwalk, while I have four houses. That’s $1700.” Robbie’s doing his stupid smirk thing again. (I just learned that word last week!) Robbie is my older brother. He is a whole ten years older than me, and he don’t like playing with me anymore. But today we don’t have school ‘cause it’s a holiday. Only Mommy is gone for the next two days for work, and Daddy went away two years ago on a trip with Auntie Christie. They haven’t come back to see us for a long time. Sometimes they send me cards with money in them. We don’t talk about Daddy very much, ‘cause Mommy gets sad and Robbie makes an angry face.
Since all the real grown-ups are gone Mommy says I have to do everything that Robbie says since he’s more grown-up than me. His best friend Patrick is here too ‘cause Robbie can’t drive yet. Robbie says it’s ‘cause we might need to go somewhere in an emergency. I think it’s ‘cause he wants a friend. But I don’t have any friends here. That’s why Robbie is playing Monopoly with me. Since he’s being nice I didn’t cheat this time so he might play again. But not cheating is hard. I don’t win this way.
“I have $51, and I only have Reading Railroad, Atlantic Avenue, and St. Charles Place unmortgaged. I don’t think that’s $1700,” I’m pouting now, but I can’t help it. I don’t like losing. Maybe if I give him puppy eyes he’ll trade with me?
“YES!” Robbie jumps from his chair and starts dancing. That’s really not very nice at all. I don’t think he’s going to trade with me now.
“Robbie, you are far too excited about beating a seven-year-old at Monopoly.”
Patrick is much nicer than Robbie, ‘cause he don’t dance when I lose. He is laughing, but I don’t know if that’s ‘cause Robbie is being silly or ‘cause I lost. Now I’m really sad. I don’t want Patrick to laugh at me. Patrick is Robbie’s favorite friend and I can tell that ‘cause I’ve seen them hug each other every time Patrick comes over. I remember ‘cause Robbie don’t like it when people give him hugs. He don’t even give hugs to Mommy. He’ll give me hugs though, ‘cause I’m his little sister and even if he don’t play with me I’m still his favorite.
Patrick is Robbie’s friend that spends the most time at our house, and when he comes after school Mommy always tells him to stay for dinner. Patrick is also my favorite of Robbie’s friends. He always listens when I tell him about my school and my friends, even more than Mommy and lots more than Robbie. He also lets me put flowers in his hair. Sometimes I like Patrick more than Robbie and I wish he was my brother. But I never say that ‘cause it’s mean. I don’t want Patrick to laugh at me.
“I’m not excited because I beat her, I’m excited that I don’t have to make breakfast!” Robbie is still dancing. I think I might fake cry so that I don’t have to make breakfast.
“You don’t have to make breakfast Susie,” Patrick is still laughing but I think he’s laughing at Robbie now. I’m happy. I don’t want Patrick to laugh at me. And I don’t wanna make breakfast for Robbie. I might make breakfast for Patrick though, ‘cause he isn’t dancing and wasn’t laughing at me at all.
“We’ll decide who makes breakfast in the morning! It’s time for bed now,” Robbie stopped dancing, and now he is holding his phone really hard.
“But it’s only eight! And it’s a holiday!” Even Mommy don’t make me go to bed this early. It’s just not fair. I would fake cry, but that’ll make him think I’m ‘over tired’ and Mommy always makes me go to bed when I do that.
“Yes, and Mom left me in charge. I want to go to sleep, so you have to go to sleep.”
“But that’s not FAIR!” Now I have to real cry. I wanted to play another game and I wanted to beat him so that I could dance and be not-nice, but now I have to sleep and it’s not fair ‘cause why should I have to sleep ‘cause Robbie is sleeping? And my nose is startin’ to get drippy and my eyes hurt ‘cause of the crying. I think Robbie and Patrick are arguing, and Robbie might be crying too, but I can’t tell ‘cause my ears have gone all fuzzy the way they do when you can’t think about anything but how sad and angry you are and how much you wanna stop crying but you can’t.
“Susie, do you want me to read you a story?” Patrick is really much nicer than Robbie ‘cause he comes over to stop me crying and lets me use his sweater as a tissue to get rid of all the tears and boogers off my face.
I hold out my arms and he picks me up and takes me to my room. I think I am a little sleepy and maybe I should go to bed ‘cause I wanna use his shoulder as a pillow instead of my bed, and now I know why Robbie does it when we all watch movies. Patrick makes me put on pajamas and get into bed though, ‘cause people aren’t actually pillows. If people were pillows than what would sleep on them? Would the pillow-people still sleep on actual pillows? Or would they be the same as regular pillows? Or would only some people be pillows, and other people who are still people use those pillow people as pillows?
I fall asleep before Patrick opens the book and dream of pillow-people.
When I wake up in the morning and go downstairs the house is real quiet. Robbie and Patrick are probably still sleeping. I wanna make Patrick breakfast, but I don’t wanna make any for Robbie, ‘cause Robbie was mean. Sometimes I think he’s lying about me being his favorite. Or ‘cause I have to be favorite ‘cause I’m his only sister. But if I only make Patrick breakfast Robbie will steal it anyways.
When I start to make pancakes I accidentally pour too much pancake mix into the bowl that already has water, so I have to make too many for two people. There’s so many I have to give Robbie some, or it’s a waste of food! So I make pancakes and eggs for Robbie too.
Once I finish and put the eggs and pancakes on the trays and carefully carry them up to Robbie’s room one at a time. Imma make Robbie think I only made breakfast for Patrick as a trick it’ll be so funny to see his face! I try to knock on the door, but it’s not closed all the way and I knock too hard and the door opens all the way. Robbie and Patrick are in Robbie’s big bed like normal except they are cuddling under the covers instead of on opposite sides like normal and I don’t think that either of them is wearing a shirt. They both look at me in the door and Patrick looks like what Mrs. Connelly says is ‘anxious’ only Robbie looks really mad and he yells so loud at me for coming in without knocking that I drop the tray. I’m really scared now.
“I ma-made you breakfast!” My voice is all squeaky and my words are coming out like when I spilled a jar of marbles. But it’s really hard to talk at all ‘cause my throat has a lump in it and my tongue don’t wanna work. It took me lots of tries to make pancakes that weren’t burned on the bottoms, and I picked the shell I dropped in the eggs out for at least ten minutes, and now it was all on the floors. Worst was Robbie yelling at me ‘cause he never ever sound that angry except when Daddy said Patrick couldn’t come over anymore and called Patrick a mean name that I don’t remember, but I think was like a bag. But ever since Daddy left Robbie only gets fake-mad. Only now he’s real-mad and he’s real-mad at me and I don’t think I’m still his favorite and the pancake that I made with a smiley face in chocolate sauce is on Mommy’s favorite carpet.
September Newsletter for Patrons – Word-for-Sense and Other Stories
September 9, 2020 @ 07:49
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