‘There’s something we have to tell you,’ they say. They sit me down all quiet on the floor in front of the couch and I know it’s bad. I’m only eleven, so I don’t really know all the different ways a thing can be bad yet, but I know the main one and it turns out I’m right.
They tell me that your mother is dead.
They tell me to get in the car.
I walk in like it’s everyday. I don’t want to see you I really don’t want to see you but it’s slow motion and you’re entering the room and it’s so much responsibility because you’re in my arms, you’re crying and it’s real so I take you outside to the chicken coop where we threw that surprise party in February. Remember how we threw confetti at Sherri when she came in and then we went and called Carina, fucking Carina Anderson and asked her – shit, I don’t remember any more. I’m swearing because you’re crying and because I know you like the way the words sound coming out of my mouth, because I don’t do it usually. Remember how then we went downstairs to the pool-room and Sherri fell asleep and we drew swear words on her face and thought she was going to cry in the morning?
I’m crying too now. I’m crying because I’m selfish and we’re never going to go camping at the beach again and come running back up from the water as the sun’s setting and listen to our mothers in jumpers talk about how much they’d rather be married to Jamie, the protagonist in the book series they’re so into. I’m crying because I love your mum and she never took your side just because she was your mum and how sometimes when you were being a bitch she’d look at me like she wanted me to understand and I did. I’m crying because I always sort of wanted your mum to be my mum, and I’m crying because I’m here with you and it’s the first time I feel like I even matter cos you’ve been distant all year – I’m not girly enough like your new friends.
We walk to the end of the road where there are no houses and there’s a bit of a creek. Your stepbrother used to serenade us with Britney’s greatest hits down here but he’d change all the words to something dumb and we’d tell him to get lost.
Oh bacon bacon.
I wear a dress to the funeral and you say ‘Oh my god is that really you?’ and we laugh.
After Year Seven you disappear and one day in high school someone tells me they heard you hate me now and it feels like my guts were ripped out, I don’t know why.
There’s something I’ve always wanted to tell you. I guess this is it. I’m sorry.