Along The Line: Chapter 2

Along The Line: Chapter 2

A Story by Crystal Bay

Chapter 2

    Before that stormy day in 1985, we were like any other lower-middle class family. Only our family was missing a father and had more than enough drama. We lived off Mom's part-time job at Lucky's and Dad's child support. It was enough to get by, even if we were just holding on by our teeth, as Mom put it. Of course with Mandy and Buzz still being little kids, Amber and I had come together to try and be like one whole father. We took turns cooking dinner with Mom, Amber got Buzz ready for kindergarten and I gave Mandy her baths. I was only eleven, but sometimes I felt really, really old, like thirty-five. Amber was more distant than ever from the family, always saying she had homework and spending so much time in the bathroom that it seemed as though we fought constantly for longer shower times. Sometimes I wished things were like they were before the divorce, but most of the time I felt that things were a lot better without all the yelling and screaming.
    Dad had always been distant. Right after the divorce in 1983, my heart always skipped a beat when I heard Dad's voice on the other line saying, "Hey baby! How's my favorite girl doing?" I used to think I was special because of this, but later I found out that Amber and Mandy were also his favorite girls. I discovered he had a brand new favorite girl who by far outdid all three of us on Daddy's Favorite Scale. Her name was Sharon and she was twenty-nine years old. Dad had met her at a party (I didn't know my Dad went to things like parties until after the divorce) and ever since, his phone calls seemed fewer and fewer. It got to the point where Mandy referred to him as "The Man".
    "Let me talk to The Man, Mommy! Let me talk to him!" Mandy would cry. Dad seemed unfazed by this. I'm sure he could hear her in the background but he never said anything about it. I was furious at my father. I felt he had betrayed the family. When he called, my heart no longer skipped a beat. Instead, I felt dread because every phone call was an announcement of Dad growing further and further apart from the family. The pregnancy announcement was by far the worst. Dad and Sharon weren't even married but I felt that this new baby now cemented their relationship. There was no turning back. That's when I finally told Dad how I felt.
    "Don't worry, sugar. This baby isn't going to replace you," He told me, ignoring my anger as if I were four-years-old. "Tell you what. Why don't you pick out a name for the baby? After all, she's going to be your little sister."
    "Half-sister." I corrected him.
    "Come on! Pick a name. I'll let you have the honors."
    "I dunno," I mumbled, grudgingly. "How about Meredith? I always liked that name."
    Two months later, Dad and Sharon's baby was born. They named her Hope. I finally met Sharon at the hospital. Dad insisted all four of us come and see our new sister. Sharon seemed delighted to meet us at last, but I sure didn't feel happy to meet her.
    "These are my four angels from my previous marriage," Dad announced, upon our arrival. "The tall, gorgeous blond is Amber. Little freckle-face is Karissa; the tough, spiky-haired dude is Buzz and the munchkin of the bunch is called Mandy but I call her Pip Squeak." Dad tickled her tummy and Mandy laughed loudly.
    "Buzz?" Sharon chuckled, cradling her newborn baby girl. "What a name! Is that his real name or just a nickname?"
    "Actually, his name is Robert Gerald Rubin. I don't know how Buzz came about. The girls started calling him that years ago and it just sort of stuck."
    I didn't mention the origin of Buzz's nickname. It had come from the most frequently heard phrase in our house directed at our noisy little brother: "Buzz off!"
    That was the last time I saw Dad. And Sharon and Hope for that matter. By the time Roiry came to our doorstep, Hope was thirteen months old. That's a long time to go without ever seeing your father.
    So I guess you could say our family was just like any other family, with a few quirks thrown in. We were probably the noisiest family on the block and no visitor of ours ever wanted to stay overnight. Even my best friend, Marcella Vanderbee preferred having sleepovers at her house instead of mine. The last time Marcella stayed at our house, Buzz had drenched her with his Super Soaker 30, a gift from Grandma. Grandma was good about sending the worst possible gifts for Buzz. Last year, she sent him a play drum set. Two hundred and fifty-five aspirins later, Mom sent Grandma a phony thank you card and a permanent resting place for Lil' Dude Drum-Set in the garage next to the Salvation Army pile.
    So I wasn't surprised when I opened the bathroom door and found Roiry missing. Figures, I thought. Even poor little homeless boys won't stay for an entire day.
    But I misjudged that strange, shabby kid. He loved us. I don't know why and I don't know how he found us, but he did and he didn't plan on staying gone long. I only wondered what the real story behind this mysterious boy was, who popped up at our doorstep like a long-lost friend. Why, out of all people, he had chosen our house would remain a myster. 

© 2010 Crystal Bay

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Added on May 30, 2010
Last Updated on June 13, 2010
Tags: fantasy, drama


Crystal Bay
Crystal Bay

Chico, CA

Hey, I'm Crystal. I've loved writing since I was very little and would scribble words and drawings onto stapled paper. I've written poetry, children's stories, young adult, fantasy horror, drama, etc... more..