I rubbed the sleep out of my eyes and tried to determine what time it was before I looked at the clock. The light was not quite bright enough to light up the entire room, but bright enough for me to know I needed to get up. If I wanted to get any kind of breakfast, I had to almost sneak some food before anyone else got out of bed. My mom was obsessed with looks and body image and insisted everyone only eat fruit and egg whites for breakfast. I was on the lucky side I loved eggs, but my brother couldn’t stomach eggs no matter how they were cooked. I was naturally an early riser so I tried to sneak extra food into my backpack to take to school so Kevin could have something more than a few bites of bananas.
I pulled my slippers from underneath my bed and quietly made my way downstairs. Because of my early morning ramblings for food, I knew exactly where all the squeaky floorboards were and how to avoid them. I hadn’t noticed anything different until I got to the bottom of the stairs. I froze with one foot still in the air when I noticed all the furniture was missing. Every single piece. Even the curtains had been taken down. Had we somehow been robbed in the middle of the night without anyone in the family hearing a single sound? I quickly headed to the kitchen and found every drawer empty and the fridge was completely bare. Was I living in a nightmare? I pinched myself to make sure I was awake and wasn’t entirely surprised when it hurt.
I turned from the kitchen and ran up the stairs and noticed everything I hadn’t in the early morning light. All the pictures were missing from the wall and the rugs had vanished. What was happening? Where were our belongings? Was my family safe? I paused at my parents’ bedroom door, nervous as to what I was going to find. I slowly opened the door and found, not entirely to my surprise, the entire room was deserted. I ran to my brother’s room, only to find him gone as well. I almost smiled as the sun brightened the room to a warm glow. I had finally gotten my wish. To live on my own without the interference of my mother. But was it worth the price of losing my brother?
I felt the sinking feeling in my stomach that I may never see Max again and headed to my room with determination. I would find my brother, bring him back and we could live happily ever after, eating anything but eggs for breakfast. It would take a while for me to realize the dollhouse I was living in. The dollhouse where everything changed, but stayed exactly the same. Day after day, I woke up to a new morning without my family, never knowing I would never see them again. I never knew and would never know how my mother understood so much about the power of hallucinogens.