Almost Dark

I'm not here, this isn't

I can't be in the house anymore. Its cold out here, but chillier inside. Mom is crying, but what does that mean? She wanted him gone, she kicked him out. No one cared what me and Darla wanted, they just wanted to hate each other. Now he's gone and won't be around, ever.

Its almost pitch-black, just a few minutes more of gloominess. The clouds are as dark as I can remember, battleship gray, they float in layers curled on top of one another. All day they have done the storm's bidding, spilling and blowing on our lives, making miserable unbearable.

Now its stopped, just a few minutes of calm, as if gathering energy so it can pound again all night. The lake is deceptively smooth, somber, reflecting the heavens. Occasionally a sharp jab of electricity streaks across the water and lights up this worst of days.

"Do you think he was thinking about us when he . . .?" Darla looked up with those big eyes full of tears and I stopped. She blew her nose and I sat down next to her on the dock, on the benches Dad and I had built 2 summers ago. Darla had turned on the firepit and it felt good.

"No. I think he was mad."

"Mad at us?" I asked.

"Mad at mom, mad at . . . I don’t know” my big sister said. “But mad - and full of bitterness. Dad could focus, like no one else. I think after he left here yesterday, all he thought about was getting revenge.”

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"On Mom?" I asked.

"Yea, sorta" Darla said, now leaning her head on my shoulder.

I looked down at the face that meant so much to me. We had been extra close for years, bonding together while Mom and Dad let their bonds disintegrate.

"That's what it was", she said softly, under her breath, "revenge". She was saying something to me in a way I would understand without being mad at her for telling me. A jab of lightening flashed across Darla's face, and I thought about what she said.

"So . . . he WASN'T thinking about us."

She squeezed my arm, knowing I finally got it. "He really wasn't".

"He really wasn't."

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