It was like spring came out of a movie. Birds were singing to the trees, the sun’s rays spilled into the house through the windows Momma always left open, and even the flowers that Thalia attempted to plant came to life a bit. It was almost a dream. Almost.
I was inside, alone like always, sitting on my bed letting the sun be the only source of light in my bedroom. Momma was out back, swimming with Eric and Lacey. Not me, never me. I could hear them laughing and splashing, the mere sound of their enjoyment making me sick. How could she be out there when her child was indoors suffering? She didn’t really love me, did she? She was too busy with mature Eric out there and that whiny baby, Lacey to even wonder about me. That’s what being the middle child is all about, I guess. But I didn’t care. Never ever cared.
I walked over to the window to shut it, block out all the fun that they were having without me. I didn’t need them. I could play by myself. Didn’t need no mom to take care of me. I can take care of myself! I ran over to my wooden horse, mounting it like a knight would his stallion. That was me, the knight. I donned the shiny armor that the girls found irresistible and the muscles that men envied. Look! Up ahead! A dragon attacking the village! I jumped off my mare and ran to the burning town, with a gleaming sword in my hand.
“Hyaggh!” I shouted, as I brought down my blade on the beast’s neck again and again. I had to make sure it was dead or the people would hate me too. When I was done, everyone cheered. They screamed my name and worshipped me! Here, everyone loved me. No one thought Simon was weird; they thought Simon was a hero. I was—
There was a small knock at my bedroom door. “Simon? You in there?” came Eric’s muffled voice. I threw my wooden sword to the ground and ran to my bed. He couldn’t know about my games. He would just laugh. Laugh, laugh, laugh! And tease me! “Momma wants you to come outside and swim with us.” The doorknob twisted slowly and then the door opened. He stood in the doorframe, with his trunks hanging off his hips in a fashion that would surely make girls swoon. I squinted my eyes at my older brother as he ran a hand through his perfect wet hair.
“Don’t wanna go swimming,” I said.
“C’mon, Simon. Mom is asking for you. Even Lacey sounds like she’s calling for you!” he pleaded. Make him beg, a voice in my head told me.
“You don’t want me outside!” I said, my words coming out louder and whinier than I intended.
“I do! I do want you outside! Mom especially!” he exclaimed. “We can’t fully enjoy ourselves knowing you’re up here being glum.”
Could’ve fooled me, I thought with an accidental eye roll.
“Well, I’m not being glum!” I wasn’t being glum, right? I was having my own fun! Momma had Eric and Lacey to play with, didn’t need me. Never wanted me. Tears betrayed me as they welled up in my eyes. “Get out! Get out, I said!” I jumped off the bed and pushed Eric roughly. It barely made him move so I tried harder. I swung at Momma’s pride and joy, the anger that I had bottled up inside of me exploding into a million pieces, releasing every ounce of rage I could possibly have. How dare he? How dare he have to nerve to come in here and make fun of me? Calling me dependent! I hated him! I hated Lacey! I hated Momma!
He chuckled softly. “Simon, stop. Behave yourself already!” I stopped, huffing and puffing. “Nobody hates you, okay? Can’t you just please come swimming with us? It’ll make Mom happy.”
Momma… happy? Could I truly make her happy? No… no. He was lying. He had to be. How could I make her happy? I wasn’t perfect or handsome or charming like Eric. I wasn’t the pretty baby girl that was Lacey. I was just the leftovers. Nobody really wanted me around so I hid in my room, that way they couldn’t make fun of me. Never gave them a chance.
“Please. Come outside,” Eric pleaded. He was begging. He was actually begging! A dark cloud invaded my mind, taking over me completely.
“You really want me to go?” I asked in a weak quavering voice. “Truly?”
“Of course, Simon.”
I watched myself walk across the room to my dresser. “I’ll grab my trunks,” my mouth said. “Can you grab my water shoes? They’re in the closet.”
Something in my mind clicked and my hands moved to find my wooden sword. What am I doing? I thought distantly. I gripped the handle of the heavy toy and moved towards Eric who had turned around to search for my shoes. My arms raised themselves over my head while a vicious shadow fell over my face. No! Stop! I told myself. But it was too late. I brought the wooden toy down on his back and he collapsed with a loud moan. I don’t think he realized what had happened. I wanted to stop, really! I did! But I kept going, my sword connecting with his body over and over until it was black and blue. I wanted to stop and pull him into my arms, apologize again and again. But there was something in the back of my mind that wanted to make him suffer, make Momma suffer! Oh, how her face would crumble to see her precious Eric all bloodied and imperfect.
Simon! I stopped. I dropped the weapon and watched it fall to the floor next to my brother. What had I done? How could I have done it? I didn’t truly hate him, but he always made me second best! I could never compare to him! What I had done wasn’t wrong, right? I had only brought him down to my level! Now it was fair. Now… we were the same. So I shouldn’t be sorry. I shouldn’t be sorry.
I leaned against the wall and closed my eyes becoming more content with my act. “I shouldn’t be sorry. I shouldn’t be sorry. I shouldn’t be sorry…”
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