First Published in the Quarryman 2016, Volume 2
We sit in the middle of the village, Ballyclare, a place so small everyone is related. We were in Fiona’s car, she in the driver’s seat talking about the day’s gossip. Julia in the front seat with her head out the window smoking a fag because if she got any smoke in the car Fiona will kill her; but I felt still getting into my lungs.
I’m in the back seat twiddling my thumbs, thinking how I could go home and read my brother’s paper. I also need a shower. And by the time one of us decide to head home it would be ten o’clock, too late to take a shower, which meant I have to wake up early.
“What is the plan girls?” Fiona ask.
“Why don’t we go to the chipper and get some shakes?” I suggest.
“No, I have no money,” Julia said puffing away.
There really is no winning, it is always the same thing. We sit in the middle of town doing what we’ve been doing and and then when we grew sick of sitting, we do a quick spin around the loop.
My life had not always been like this. I went to college, I had a boyfriend from Germany, who before leaving to go back home wanted me to go with him to Germany for the summer. I had been nearly at the airport when my brother rang me about our mother once again. We still talk, after all these years apart, he still tempts me with a ticket. And I always say no.
Now, I wait tables every day. I come home to a mother who spends her days in bed, not sleeping, but gazing at the window, wishing for him to walk in the door. Plus, my younger brother couldn’t handle he needed someone there. I’ve been doing in for last two years.
Fiona stop the car by the pier, turning on the brights so we could see the waves; there were none.
“Let’s go skinny dipping?” I jokingly suggested.
“Too cold like,” Fiona said.
Julia lit up another one.
The girls did not know about my German boyfriend. No one knew. I always thought about telling them but I knew what they say: What about my brother? What about my mum? She isn’t getting any better.
Everyone who leaves always comes back. I came back because my brother needed me. B he’s seventeen. He’s not the little fourteen year-old who need’s his sister. He was going to leave. He’s always saying” “Once I turn eighteen. I’ll be gone.”
That was 4 months away and then I have no priorities left. I pull out my phone and risk a text. I know I’ll miss them, my girls, our spins around the village.
Fiona drop me off at my house. I saw my brother’s finish paper on the table. He did not need me to read it, but I took it anyway for one last look through. As I got into my bed ready to read my brother’s paper, my phone went off. I looked at it;I got you a ticket.