“It’s about as good a day as you’re going to get,” I told my younger brother. Jake had been glued to the television all day playing some video game and it was seventy five and sunny outside. “I’ll give you about ten more minutes to play and then you’ll have to come outside. No excuses.”
As I left his room, I heard him grumbling about going outside. On the weekends, my mom disappeared to wherever she disappeared to, I had complete responsibility over my brother – food, homework, chauffeur, exercise. Everything. I was just hoping she would only be gone for the weekend and not any longer. Her habit of leaving us alone for the weekends had started as only an occasional event, but was now morphing into a larger, more frequent, and wasn’t leaving money or taking her cell phone.
Things always got more difficult when she disappeared for longer periods of time. We started rationing the food starting on Sunday evening when she didn’t return. It made getting to school a little harder and if she left long enough, our teachers started asking questions. I don’t know how they knew our mom was gone, but they did.
When mom finally showed up at the house on Wednesday night, I about lost it. I was on the verge of calling our father. Which was the worst idea I could come up for all of us. Especially for Jake and me. But I was desperate, alone, and hungry. And possibly pregnant.