Note: This was written for yesterday’s #MarquessaChallenge.
*Trigger warning – fiction alludes to sexual abuse/child abuse*
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My younger brother, Don and I sat next to each other on the couch in our parent’s living room. It was their 55th wedding anniversary and the entire extended family had turned out for the casual BBQ party they had decided to throw themselves. People milled around, some catching up on the latest family news while others boasted about their fabulous accomplishments to make each other jealous.
I had been all around the world but whenever I visited my childhood house, the only place I wanted to be was away from here. That’s when I longed for the safe confines of my own peaceful and comforting home.
The entire gathering was ridiculously hypocritical seeing that our parent’s entire marriage had only been full of hateful tolerance instead of wedded bliss. Don and I had endured that charade our entire lives behind their closed doors and we knew their dirty secret.
“I blame you David.”
My plate of homemade macaroni and cheese and barbecue ribs sitting precariously on my lap almost fell between my knees at Don’s angry voice.
“Blame me? For what? What did I ever do to you?!”
Over the years, we had rarely seen each other but it wasn’t for my lack of trying to make an effort. Don had been the one to distance himself and his family away from me. Our disconnect had slowly started after I had eloped at eighteen to marry my first wife, a calculated move far out of state that had more to do with escaping the smothering environment than being head over heels in love. Unfortunately, leaving town had also meant leaving Don behind to fend for himself.
“I blame you for her.”
Don pointed to the bay window to where Uncle Alonso and Aunt Beatrice stood in the front garden area chatting up a storm with our parents. My blood ran cold with nausea.
“What are they doing here?” I found myself saying much too loud.
How dare they have the audacity to even show their faces here?
The urge to run to the bathroom and throw up quickly turned into an overwhelming desire to jump into my car and run them both over.
No, maybe run all four of them over.
Deader than dead.
“If you had spoken up back then, she never would have come after me after you left. My life would have been so different if you had just fought back. But you were always the selfish one, weren’t you?”
Don pushed himself up from the couch and walked away, leaving me to deal with the fallout of the bomb he had dropped.
She had done things to him too?
Cold sweat racked my body as my soul emptied itself onto the carpet alongside the contents of my plate. My soul hadn’t felt so empty since the first time Uncle Alonso had begged me not to tell on Aunt Bea, almost as empty as when my parents had refused to believe me when I had finally spoken my truth.
I could still almost feel the pain of the beating I had received for it.
Bloody little liar! That’s my sister you’re talking about! Bea would never do such a thing! Don’t you ever say anything like that again!
Oblivious to the frenzied scene of aunts and girl cousins trying to clean up the ribs and macaroni decorating my mother’s precious Siberian white rug, I was on my feet in an instant.
As I barreled my way out of the front door to where they stood jabbering away, my hand searched frantically in the depths of my pockets for my car keys.
There was no time like the present…
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