Sandalwood And Rose Petals

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Action and Adventure  |  House: Booksie Classic
This was written for my English homework!
I'm quite proud of it.
The title comes from an expression that my dad always says: "Life's not always sandalwood and rose petals" meaning that life is crap some times, basically.

Submitted: November 28, 2011

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Submitted: November 28, 2011




Sandalwood and Rose Petals


I sit back in my seat, annoyed by the cheap, carpeted chairs, grimy with the stains of a hundred-thousand equally grimy passengers. The whole place reeks of spilled alcohol and drunken mis-demeanors, and I wonder why I'm even here in the first place. “Max.” I flick a balled-up bit of paper across the Formica table, which is pockmarked with coffee-rings and battle scars, and into the lap of the man in front of me. He watches it fall onto the seat beside him, then looks up for what feels like the first time in hours. He scrunches up the paper ball with a huff and pulls out his earphones.


“If this thing crashes, and we all die, it is entirely your fault.” I quip, trying to be dry or witty never really seems to work for me. I'm so naturally awkward. Instead, I try to frown and come across stern and warning, but, like the socially-inept hermit that I am, my face gives way to laughter. I just want him to smile again. He raises one neatly-plucked eyebrow at me and tilts his head slightly, as if he's trying to work out where I summon these trains of thought from. He seems to give up with a sigh and a shake of his head as he turns his gaze to the window and the blur of greenery beyond.

“Well, aren't we a sardonic little rain cloud?” He drones. I’m always so jealous of him. He's the funny one, the one with the handsome smile. The one that everyone loves. Myself included.

“Just stating fact.”

“Right.” He doesn't seem interested in continuing the conversation, and puts the music back into his ears with more force than necessary. Why was it always like this? Why couldn't I ever be good enough?


“I'm not sitting on a train with you for seven hours.” He had snapped, testing my patience and my manners. Could I hit my little brother? Only if he hit me first, I decided. I tried not to dwell on it, deciding that stepping out of the kitchen and leaving the situation far behind was a more viable option. He followed me, though. He always followed me. If I was there, he would be too. In the background somewhere, blending into the scenery. As he should. Forever trailing behind me like he could think of no other, more beneficial way to spend his time. He had always looked up to me, I knew that. And why wouldn't he? Our parents had made no secret of the fact that I was, well...Better. I was, in their eyes, flawless. And Joshua couldn't compare. At first it had bothered me when I got old enough to notice, but then the fantastic feeling of indifference wormed its way into my heart. Why should I care? He was him, and I was me. Two separate entities connected only by DNA. One thing I did admire him for, though, was the fact he didn't seem to care enough about anything. Or at least, nothing substantial. He was content enough with his mediocrity, where I always wanted more.


Josh.” He said, bringing my head snapping up. I almost blush by how attentive I am to his words, but he doesn't notice. Doesn't care. He's frowning heavily and his headphones are forgotten in his hand. “Did you feel that?”

Feel?” I had, in fact felt the train shudder underneath the seats, sending a ripple through the fingerprint-pocked glass of the windows. But I couldn't give him that satisfaction.

He lets his hand fall to the table and curl around the plastic edge. “Do you really hate me now, Joshua?”

As much as usual. And that's not my name, Maxwell.” I hiss. He hates his name, but it fits him. Max. The most, the top, the pinnacle. Well, he could forget about me kissing his toes from now on. Leave that to my clairvoyant parents. I’m angry that he could ever expect anything different than my hatred. He's spent his life besting me. Yes, I’m jealous. And yes, I adore him. But I hate him for it. I cross my arms and stare out of the window. Wondering if it's just me, or are the trees moving faster now?


I couldn't bring myself to love him. I wanted to, I felt obliged to, but I couldn't. Surely loving your sibling isn't something you had to strive for. It was supposed to come naturally. You love your family as surely as summer follows spring. So why, why didn't I care about him in the slightest? When he was a baby, had I loved him? When we were children, had I wanted my brother around then? Because now, as I let the obscenities that he shouted at me crash over me like grey, bleak waves, I realised that I felt nothing at all for him. Besides revulsion. I wanted him gone. Out of my life and as far away as possible...We would take the train to our aunt's. He could stay there. He didn't have to know that I wouldn't be staying there too.

I wasn't sure what unnerved me more. My willingness to abandon my brother, or the fact that my mother had suggested it. “Go on,” She had said, clutching my hand in her papery fingers “He needs to get away. Start again.”

It was for his own good. Of course.


I hit the ground. Hard.

I know there's glass everywhere, because I can feel it, like rusty nails all down one side of my face as it's pressed into the floor. But it doesn't hurt. Nothing hurts. Something should be hurting. I’m weighed down by something- someone. I only know this because they're making it harder for my chest to rise and fall with normal breath. I want to call his name, but I can't. He wouldn't come. My eyes are open. I can't close them now. So I stare at the sky. And for the first time in so many months- so many years- I feel...Peaceful. I can't hear, and I don't think I want to. I just watch the clouds as they convulse, merge into each other. And then they split, break apart again, like an eyelid peeled back. And then the rain. At first, delicate tears that spittle down, the soft fragrance of fresh dew that mingles with the acrid smell of charring rubber; of burned flesh. Then they grow to heavy, gratuitous sobs that build and build as they spill from the celestial tear-ducts. Fat raindrops that land on my face, on my cheeks, my eyes. The sky weeps for me, because I can't cry for myself.


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