Dear Darling By: Samantha Taina Chapter One: Parent’s Lie
Seventeen hours. Sixteen, if you are driving really
fast, though I normally have to linger at the one Starbucks I can find one on root. Such a long fucking drive to get all the way down to Little Rock, Arkansas. Mom’s sick. That’s all I got one night, just a simple little text from my baby brother. If any other of my three siblings had sent it, I would have just deleted it, but Clark. I let it just sit on my phone for three days before I finally was able to respond. Probably not the best big sister thing to do, but I was never really ready to be the elder one. Being the second youngest is an odd place to be. Not quite the baby and not quite the middle child. How sick? I kind of hope he wouldn’t respond, but that isn’t Clark. Everything needs an ending. Seemed like a stupid saying to me, but it was that mantra that got him, valedictorian, captain of the soccer team, and hole bunch of other fancy shit, so I guess it’s worth something. Cancer, 4th stage.
Some people might think texting isn’t the best way to relay that kind of news, but that’s just Clark. Always has been. That might be the only thing that makes my family tolerable, a blunt, no-shit attitude. For five hours I was trying to understand why I wasn’t panicked. A white mocha, McDonalds’ French fries, and a full tank later and I still was calm. Is that what two years away from someone does to you? Are feelings for your family supposed to deteriorate after no contact for a while? Hell, just having to leave the city for a second use to freak me out, like somehow Little Rock would just reach out and drag me back if I left the city limits. Now though, I wasn’t panicked or even worried, I was just driving. As the cornfields finally end, and I cross the Mississippi River, I feel that tug in my gut. I can feel my hands tighten, and no matter how much I belt out old nineties rock I can’t get this sick feeling out of my gut. My phone vibrates in the cup holder, and I only cringe at the name popping up on my screen. Two years and I still cringe at my big sister. “You better be on your fucking way!” Oh Vicky, such a pleasure. “Don’t worry about Vic.” And Clark is already running interference.