I love poetry. It’s like a story, but it’s not. It’s whatever you want it to be. It’s love, it’s hate. It’s heaven, it’s hell. It’s trust, it’s suspect. It’s whisper, it’s yell. See, what I just did there? I don’t know. I usually don’t like to rhyme, when I write. I just see as another limit, to what I can and cannot do. It’s the same with punctuation. Writing is a liberating experience. Why ruin it with lame boundaries that aren’t even necessary?
That was kind of a weird beginning. Maybe I should start over. My name is Marc Goodwin. I am 16 years old, and I live in New York City. I wouldn’t trade anything for my life in the city. It’s everything I could ever have wished for. I grew up in a small town in Michigan. I don’t really know the name of it, because we moved away when I was only four years old, and I’ve never really been so curious about that part of my life. The only thing I remember is sitting in front of the TV on new year’s eve. They were filming in Time Square, and I was so jealous. They showed all these pictures from the Manhattan skyline, while I was sitting in a small house in Michigan. So we moved there. Not because of that, but because my dad got a job at ABC. What he is doing there, I don’t really know. All he has ever told me, is that he is a journalist.
So now I live here. We live in an apartment on W 68th St, which is right next to the ABC building.
Now you know a bit about me, let me show you the rest of the family.
“Marc, dinner’s ready!” my mom yells from the kitchen, so that everyone in the radius of three blocks can hear her. What a perfect timing? Dinner is one of the best ways to get to know my family. Some weird shit happens when we come together.
“I’m on my way,” I yell back.
In the dining room my mom has just put the food on the table. She always works really hard. She isn’t just one of those housewives, who doesn’t do anything but cook and clean. She has a full-time job as a social worker, but still manages to do all the things, a housewife does, while her husband is working overtime to make their finances stable. My mom’s a fighter. Sometimes I imagine her being a politician, which, I’m pretty sure, is a job, that she considered, when she was younger.
While we are on the topic of politics, my sister walks (or rather drags her feet across the floor, while making noises, telling the rest of the world, that they should stay away, if they want to keep just a little bit of positivity in their life) into the dining room. Although you wouldn’t believe it, she is actually very active. Politically active. It’s her kind of exercise. She believes, that you can burn tons of calories by attending a protest. After all, you do walk and swing your arms in the air, but I think she knows, that she needs to be active in other ways too. She is a true progressive, and she is not afraid to hide it, even when my dad is showing his conservative side. Or she didn’t use to be. She doesn’t really react when he says anything anymore.
I don’t know much about her, really. The only conversations we have, are the ones that include: “I hate you”, “I did it last time” or “I will murder you”. We have a very healthy relationship. It’s not that I don’t like her. It’s just that she decided, that the minute our mom gave birth to her, she was going to be mean to everyone, that was standing in her way. And then she decided to grab me and put her in a certain place, so that I could be in her way. I don’t know why, and I don’t care.
Although we can disagree on many things, at the end of the day we would do anything for each other. That's the thing with siblings. No matter how much you fight, if the other one needs help, you provide it.
My mom looks at me and says: “Can you grab a spoon from the kitchen? I forgot one.”
As I make my way into the kitchen, I get this special feeling. It’s a feeling that has come to me every single day. The feeling of my dad entering the building. And while I’m looking for the spoon, I am proven to be right. My dad enters, then closes the door.
“I’m home,” he says, like we haven’t noticed, that he came home two hours later that he promised, which we should actually be celebrating, given that he normally wouldn’t even be thinking about leaving work at this time of the day. We don’t usually see him at dinner, but today we have been granted with by company for just one meal. I can’t really decide, whether I’m happy about him being home or not. I love my dad, but sometimes he can be a bit too much. Not because I have anything against conservatives, but I really do. And you have to kind of keep your mouth shut, if you still want a roof to sleep under, which is really exhausting, when you just want to raise yourself from the table and start screaming at him. He doesn’t really fit in with our family. He’s sort of a fourth wheel. I don’t agree with him on anything. Neither does my mom or sister. But we still love him; sort of.
“Perfect timing,” my mom says, when he enters the dining room, “Dinner’s ready”.
“Where’s Marc?” My dad asks.
“In the kitchen,” my mom answers and then yells: “Did you find the spoon, Marc?”
I stand with my back against the wall for a second. I really don’t want to be in that dining room. It’s nothing but uncomfortable. After a few seconds I finally pull myself together and go in there. I put the spoon on the table.
“Hey Marc,” my dad says.
“Hi dad.” I fake a smile.
“So,” my dad continues, “how has everyone’s day been?”
“Fine,” I say.
My sister can’t even act like she cares, so all she can say is: “Same”.
“Did you do anything special?” my mom asks.
“Not really,” I say.
It’s like this every time he is home. Contrary to my sister, I try to make it less uncomfortable, but it’s really difficult. You might not be fully aware, of what I’m talking about, so let me explain.
As I mentioned earlier, my dad is quite conservative; but he is also very religious and judgmental. If he knew about all the things we do in our lives, we wouldn’t be living in this apartment anymore.
“I saw two faggots holding hands today,” my dad says in disgust.
No one says anything. This is so uncomfortable. I can live with talking about any other thing, but just not this. Why this? My sister looks at me, and asks me telepathically if I’m okay. I signal to her that it’s fine, but if she could do something, it would be great. She stands up.
“You cannot be serious,” my sister yells, “We live in one of the freest and non-judgmental cities on earth, and you still have to be homophobic.”
My dad gets a chock. She hasn’t done that in years. Not since her “rebellious face”.
“Take it easy he says…”
My sister interrupts him: “No, I won’t. I will not just sit here and listen to your shit all night”.
My dad stands up and raises his voice: “It was not a suggestion. If you don’t get back in your chair right now, and finish this lovely dinner, that your mother made, then you can walk out of that door, and I will never let you back in”.
All of our eyes grow several inches larger. He could be very mad, but he had never made threats like this before.
My sister goes into her room, goes through some stuff and leaves the apartment with a small bag.
She got kicked out.