Mathew meets me in the parking after school. “Hey,” Mathew greets me. “Hey,” I answer him. We start walking to my car. There is a long moment of silence, the only sound is a crowd of teenagers talking at once. “Who’s that,” Mathew says, confusion coming over his face. He points towards my car. His face turns into a mixture of emotions. I catch hurt, pain, anger, sad. He almost looks like he’s about to puke.
Wait what is he looking at? I glance around until I spot my car. At first I don’t see anything. But then I see a boy standing there.
It’s my brother.
When we get closer I stop. “Michael,” I say running into his arms. The smell of cologne takes me by surprise for a second, since he’s been out hunting and killing people. He gives me a big squeeze, making me not breath. “Michael,” I barely whisper, “I…Can’t…Breath.” “Oh, sorry,” he says, releasing me out of the hug.
“I missed you so much,” I say, trying to stop the tears from falling down my cheeks. “I missed you to,” he says.
“Who’s he,” he says, looking towards Mathew. I forgot all about him standing there, I wonder how he’s taking all of this in. “Thats Mathew,” I say, “He was walking me to my car.” Mathew’s face turns into confusion as he looks between us. Then extends out his hand, “I’m Mathew,” he says, giving brother a slight smile, “You must be Erica’s dad.”
Michael starts laughing with a booming laugh. I start chuckling because of my brothers sudden outburst. I shake my head, trying to control my laughter. My brothers laughter dies down. “You couldn’t possibly think that I’m her father,” Michael says, “I mean I’m her guardian but I’m not her father.” “Oh,” is all Mathew says, he puts his hand back in his pocket. I almost laugh at Mathews expression. Confusion rushes over his face again, as he looks at the ground. “I’m her brother,” Michael says, reading Mathew’s expression, “I’m Erica’s brother.” “Oh,” he says again, this time his face blank and no hint of confusion.
“Well I gotta go,” I say to Mathew. “Okay,” he says, surprisingly pulling me into a hug. I hug him back feeling awkward since my brother is still there, and we’re out in public. We release our 30 second hug that felt to long. “Bye,” Mathew says walking away, “Text me.”
Me and Michael get inside my car. “Who was he,” Michael says. “Mathew,” I say. “I know that,” Michael says, apparently annoyed, “But is he your boyfriend.” Shock shows on my face. “No he’s not my boyfriend, he’s my friend,” I say. Michael shakes his head, “You two just hugged and he was giving you goggly eyes the whole time,” Michael says. “All because he likes me doesn’t mean that I like him,” I say, not even sure if he liked me. “You hugged him back,” Michael says. “I didn’t want to be rude,” I say. “Whatever you say,” Michael says sighing.
I want to argue more, but I don’t have the energy for it. My phone buzzes in my pocket, I pull it out. “Hey,” the message says. It’s from Mathew.
I don’t feel like texting him so I put my phone back in my pocket.
“That was him wasn’t it,” Michael says. I sigh, “Yes it was.” It doesn’t even matter if it was Mathew or not so why bother asking and keep your eyes on the rode, I want to say, but don’t because I’m afraid he’ll ground me.
We pull up to the house. I get out of the car. “Your not gonna ask me how the army was,” Michael says, walking up to the door. I roll my eyes and sigh, “How was the army,” I ask him in a monotone voice. We go through this routine every time he comes home from the army. “It was good thanks for asking,” Michael says.
I roll my eyes as he unlocks the door and heads into the house. “I got you something,” Michael says smiling, “It’s up in your room.” I drop my backpack down near the stairs and run up to my room. I walk in at first seeing nothing. Then I see a new white nightstand taking place of my other beat-up one. I walk towards it to carefully inspect it. It looks like it was made from scratch, since I can still smell some of the paint on it.
My brother walks into my room, “Do you like it,” he says, a grin forming on his face. “Yeah,” I say, running hands on the white painted wood. “I built it myself,” he says proudly. “Don’t mess it up like you did the other one,” he says, before walking out of my room. I pull the drawers out of the nightstand, the insides my favorite color, green. “You remembered,” I called out to my brother. He comes in my room with a confused expression, “What?” “You remembered my favorite color,” I say, “You remembered that my favorite color was green.”
My brother smiles, “Of course I remembered,” he starts, “Every time I see the grass or trees I think of you,” he says. I smile, then stand up to hug my brother.