I never thought it would actually come to this. My independence, my friends, my lifestyle, my life … all stripped away from me as quickly as they were given. Now as I sit here in a fucking wheelchair, a 22-year-old tetraplegic, I think back to where things may have started to sour. And then I think of just how badly my history of carelessness fucked up my family’s lives… and eventually mine too.
I was 17, Sid was too, which makes good sense, I guess, seeing as how we’re twins. Mom was downstairs making dinner, humming to herself as she laid out freshly bought ingredients while rearranging various knick-knacks of sorts. Dad was bumbling around the house somewhere, probably fixing something that didn’t need fixing in the first place. And as usual, Tuesday night was pasta night. Predictability was something my family had come to depend on; something I had come to despise.
I sat in front of my old, yet trusty Nintendo, almost entirely consumed with collecting every single banana necessary to advance to the next level of Donkey Kong, yet I still managed to watch Sid fiddling with his new ipod out of the corner of my eye. It was a gift given to him directly from the palms of my father as we came through the door from class one afternoon. “Your mother and I are very proud of you, Son. Your grades are impeccable, you couldn’t let us down if you tried.”
My father’s eyes slyly rotated in my direction as the last few words fell from his lips. I could feel the animosity in the air rise as I narrowed my eyes back at him and held his gaze. Good ol’ Skelly, always there for a good let-down if you just so happened to need one. I was getting particularly good at it for a while there, especially when it came to my parents. But sorry, school just wasn’t my thing. I was terrible at it to tell you the truth. All of my teachers hated me, every single one. I had a problem with authority figures. That was a given. I just couldn’t take a bunch of asinine, 40 something jerk-offs holding the power of me staying in high school for yet another year and becoming a “super senior” just because I couldn’t write a fucking essay…or solve a quadratic equation…or point to where my phalanges are. But whatever. What good is all of that shit in the long run? I can’t eat an essay on the migration patterns of the Monarch butterfly or live in a house built of quadratic equations. Knowing where my phalanges are won’t pay my rent. So really, what good is it all?
My parents didn’t seem to share my frequently expressed opinions and opted to reward Sid for his ‘excellence’ and remain apathetic to my ‘failures’. Well fuck them and their ipod, I could give a tiny rat’s ass about how much it cost or what my parents thought of me. Sid’s always been the “good one” and always will be. The thing is, he’s not really that good. He’s not that bad either, though. He’s just kind of…blah. I used to think he had somewhat of a personality, back before things started to change. We used to be alike in every way, right down to the way we ate or the way we smiled. Identical. Even then, after 17 years, Mom still had trouble telling us apart. When she’d run her fingers through jet black hair so short it was almost non-existent or look into a set of cerulean-blue eyes to see if they were lying or not, even then she was never 100% sure of whether it was Sid or Skelly. Both of our delicate features were the same in every way, right down to the tips of our noses and the length of our toes. Yet somewhere along the road we became too different emotionally to even relate to each other on the simplest level.
I guess this was about the time I became friends with Ollie. My parents hated him right off the bat. Maybe it was the spiked, blue hair. Or maybe it was the zero gauge bull-ring hanging from the septum of his twice-broken nose. I don’t know, but either way they made it clear they weren’t his biggest fans. But still, I never expected Sid to take such a strong disliking to him so quickly. I never really noticed Sid’s distaste for Ollie until the Saturday night when we had the house to ourselves. Mom and Dad took a break from the usual rented Saturday night movie and opted for dinner and a drive through town instead. The Dead Kennedys were blasting through the speakers as I rummaged through the cabinets trying to salvage enough supplies to make my favorite sandwich of choice, toasted peanut butter and banana.
Sid was sprawled across the coach with his nose in a damn History book for Ellison’s class while Ollie was digging through my parent’s bathroom. At the time, I had no idea what it was he was looking for or what he thought he’d find. So I just let him come and go as he pleased, I had nothing to hide. I couldn’t say the same for Sid, though. Earlier that night Ollie unsuccessfully attempted to raid Sid’s closet. Just as the knob was given a good turn Sid walked through the door and had a freak-out right then and there. He started raving louder and louder about how Ollie had no business being in his room in the first place and how he just needed to stay the fuck out. I’d never heard Sid be so vocal about his feelings. I thought he was going to have a full-blown tantrum right then and there. But just as quickly as it came, it went away as soon as Ollie’s hand fell from the door. Ollie, being a pretty good-natured guy, just let the whole episode roll off his back and gave Sid a friendly punch to the shoulder as he made his way to our parent’s room instead.
Eventually Sid started acting like his usual boring self and settled on the couch. I was testing my sandwich and just about to grab one of my dad’s beers when Ollie came scrambling into the kitchen excited as hell about whatever was in his hand. The gleam in his eye reflected the glimmer of his ever-present bull ring. “Skelly, your parents are fucking junkies! Did you know about their stash?” he practically screamed.
“What the fuck are you talking about?”
He gave me a big, dramatic sigh and motioned for me to follow him. Sid looked up from chapter 2 of his stupid history book and gave me a look. “What are you doing? Why are you going in Mom and Dad’s room?” he asked.
“I’m just following the strange guy with the blue hair. He says he found buried treasure in their room.”
We turned the corner into the room and headed towards the bathroom. Ollie reached for the medicine cabinet above the sink and shouted a loud “Ta-da!” as the door swung open. I looked for a few seconds before I turned to him and said, “What? What’s so special. I don’t see anything.”
“What!? What do you mean ‘I don’t see anything’?! Don’t you know what this is?” He brought the hand clutching a small, orange bottle up to my face. I narrowed my eyes and read the tiny label. Percocet.
I looked back up at Ollie. “So what’s the big deal? Mom’s used this stuff for years.”
“Don’t you get it?” he yelled. “This stuff is amazing and super fucking hard to get. Look, they’ve even got Hydrocodon and Valium.” He shifted his weight and cocked his head to the side. “Don’t tell me that after all these years you’ve never wondered what this stuff does…”
Sid stared at him stupidly for a moment then quietly said, “You need to put that back.”
Ollie’s eyes widened with surprise, but he didn’t put it back. Then, only seconds later, Sid exploded for the second time that night. “You need to put that shit back right fucking now before I beat you in your face!!”
The surprise in Ollie’s eyes turned to irritation as he set the bottle back on its shelf. He turned my way and gave me a look of “what the fuck” and walked into the hallway. After giving Sid the craziest look I could muster I ran to catch up with Ollie. By the time I got to him he was already opening the front door. “Wait, why are you leaving. Forget about Sid, he’s retarded. I don’t know why he acts so crazy sometimes.”
I tried to reason with him, but he was set on leaving. He turned to me once more before he shut the door all the way. “Skelly, you’re pretty cool, and I like hanging out with you. But your family is driving me fucking nuts.” He shifted his gaze to the end of the dark street. “Look, I know where and how we can have some real fun next weekend. Bring your mom’s Percocet. Call me later this week and I’ll tell you more. I’ll kill you if you tell Sid, he’s acting fucking crazy over nothing.”
I nodded and closed the door behind him. I wasn’t so sure about what kind of fun we could have on my mom’s pills but I was willing to give it a shot. Sid was practically breathing down my neck so I almost tripped over him as I turned around. “What did he tell you? What are you two going to do?” he semi-shouted.
“None of your damn business, Sid. Get the fuck out of my way.” I shoved past him and headed up the stairs towards the room we shared. I left the light off and sat down on my bed while Sid leaned against the doorway.
“Why don’t you ever tell me things anymore, Skelly? How come I’m the enemy now?”
I sighed and flopped backwards on the bed. “I don’t know Sid, things change I guess. We just grew apart. We like different things now.”
I looked over at him to see his reaction. Because the dim lighting from the hallway was all that was illuminating the room, I couldn’t really see his expression. If I didn’t know better, though, I would have said he looked angry. I didn’t really know what to say after that so I just turned over and stared at the wall. Sid was silent for a long time. The next time I rolled over to say something he was gone.
To be continued...