Things were different after Grandpa Ryan died. Grandma Cindy didn’t want to live in the house on the corner of the lot that they had shared. She moved into Dad’s office and their old house became sort of a garage/storage unit. Dad’s office has a nice big window overlooking the park across the street.
Most of the time Grandma just sits in front of the window with a blank expression on her face. She looks like she did the day of Grandpa’s funeral. Like her mind wants to be somewhere else. I can’t blame her.
I didn’t spend too much time at home either. More often than not I stayed at my friend George’s house. He knew that I needed time away from my family and let me crash in the guest bedroom anytime that I wanted. It was a pretty sweet setup.
His dad Carson was off on some deployment mission with the military. He has been gone for a month now, and was not coming back anytime soon. George’s mother Sarah worked at the ER and kept crazy rotating work hours. When she wasn’t working 14 hour days at the hospital she was at home asleep and dead to the world. Needless to say most of the time George and I had the house to ourselves. But that doesn’t mean that we were lonely.
Do you remember when I told you that girls love musicians? Well, do you know what they love even more? A musician in mourning. My grief was like catnip. Every girl in school wanted to help me. Most of them wanted to get with me anyway, but now I am lusted after even more. They thought that they could, “make me feel better”. Being with these girls, one after the other, didn’t help me. But I was still going to let them try.
The first girl was….Christina. I think. I honestly don’t remember her name. What I do remember was that she was easy on the eyes, and easy in other areas too. There was a string of girls after that. To be perfectly honest I couldn’t tell you what order they were in, or even what their names were. Not that I cared. This wasn’t about them, or anyone else. It was about me. And what these girls could do for me.
My current female “caregiver” is Becca. To my surprise and delight she isn’t as clingy as the others have been. I don’t have to call her everyday. She doesn’t panic when I don’t immediately respond to her texts. She gives me the space I need, but is always ready and available when I need her. We have already been named Homecoming King & Queen, and there is no reason to think that we won’t be crowned Prom King & Queen either. That is if we are still together at that time.
Becca has been my longest… I don’t know what to call us. We aren’t really in a relationship. I wouldn’t label her as my girlfriend. On the other hand, she is more than just a random booty call. We could be called friends with benefits, except that we aren’t really friends. Other than the fact that her name is Becca I don’t know anything about her; and I want it that way. Our relationship isn’t conventional, but it works for me. And that is all that matters.
I enjoyed having my space, and I am not ashamed to admit that I didn’t think about how the rest of my family felt about it. I only cared about me and how much Grandpa Ryan’s passing hurt me. It took Autumn to finally wake me up to how important I am to all of them.
My crew and I usually spend our Friday nights hanging out at the old outdoor amphitheater. We get a good sized bonfire going and if we are lucky Alex can usually steal some booze from his dad’s liquor cabinet. It is always a good time with plenty of laughs, plenty of food, and of course plenty of girls vying for my attention (that is if Becca isn’t with me). I always try to get Autumn to come out with me, but she has yet to accept my invitation. So imagine how surprised I was when she finally decided to show up out of the blue.
“I haven’t seen you in a long while,” Autumn pulled me away from Becca to talk.
“Just spending quality time with my best friend and my best girl.” I joked. George is of course my best friend, and even though Becca isn’t my best girl calling her that was easier than acknowledging the truth.
Autumn sighed to show me that she saw right through my façade. There are many people that I can bull shit; like pretty much everyone, including most of my teachers and my parents. However, Autumn has a BS radar that won’t let me get anything past her.
“I can’t be at home right now,” I confessed. “Everything reminds me of him, and it is just too hard.”
“I know you are sad. We are all hurting.” I could tell Autumn had rehearsed what she was going to say to me tonight. I stayed silent as she said her peace. “Right now we need to be there for each other, especially for Mom and Grandma. Don’t push us away, Lincoln. We need you.”
Autumn concluded her speech with a meek smile. She was trying to be strong, but she has never been the strong one. That has always been my job. I have never had a problem with being a supportive older brother to my sisters. It was just another thing that I excelled at. Now, I felt bad that I had let them down. I had been selfish. I had let my sister’s down and I had let Grandpa Ryan down. He taught me better than this. But no more! My family needs me. I am too important to not be at home for them.
“You are right,” I wasn’t able to look my twin in the eye I was so ashamed. “I will come home tomorrow for dinner.”
Autumn was so excited that she gave a tight hug. And for the first time in a long time, I started feeling better.