Brother and sister grieve their parents’ deaths together.. Laura laid in her bed, the room nearly pitch black with the curtains drawn tight. Her clock read 3:48 p.m., but other than that, there was no way for her to tell whether it was night or day. She decided she wouldn’t get up today. She just couldn’t. Maybe tomorrow.
Laura had been saying “maybe tomorrow” for the past three weeks straight. She’d managed to hold it together through the news of the terrible car crash and the horrifying scene in the emergency room; through the somber doctors informing her and her brother that unfortunately they weren’t able to save their parents, despite their best efforts; and even through the funeral, where dozens of sniffling relatives gave their deepest condolences.
But now that all of that was done, Laura was paralyzed. She didn’t know how to function. She didn’t know how to be in this house without them. She may have been twenty-one years old — an adult — but she felt like a scared little girl who just wanted her mom and dad.
Having her older brother Cole in the house should’ve been a comfort to her, but she’d barely spoken to him since the funeral. She couldn’t speak to anyone. He’d mostly left her alone, allowing her to grieve in her own way. Cole would leave plates of food outside her door which she’d occasionally pick at, but mostly it went untouched. Laura just wanted to sleep. When she was asleep, she forgot how horrible she felt.
But that day, Cole must’ve decided he’d had enough of her wallowing. With a loud knock on her door, Cole entered Laura’s room before she could tell him to go away.
“Come on. Get up,” Cole said, ripping open the curtains. The afternoon sun suddenly flooded the room, hurting Laura’s eyes. She pulled the covers up over her head.
“Cole, leave me alone please,” she mumbled.
“Laura, you can’t keep doing this,” he said. “You aren’t taking care of yourself. You need to shower, eat, go outside. You need to do something.” When Laura didn’t reply, Cole grabbed her comforter and yanked it out of her grasp and off the bed. Laura sat up angrily.
“Stop telling me how to deal with this!” She shouted. On some level, Laura realized his concern was very reasonable, but she wasn’t in the mood. She just wanted him to go away.
“You know this happened to me too, right?” Cole asked, crossing his arms. “And I’m managing to function without locking myself in my room.”
“Congratulations,” Laura said. “Now get the fuck out of my room.” Cole’s face switched from angry to exasperated. He sighed, walked over to the bed, and perched himself on the edge.
“I don’t want to fight,” he said. “I’m worried about you. We used to talk all the time, Laura. We can talk about this, too.”
“I don’t want to talk to you!” Laura spat at him. “I hate you! Just get out!” She didn’t hate him. Not at all. But she’d rather scream and get him to go away than talk about her real feelings.
“Laura–” She didn’t let him finish. She reached out and gave him a hard shove. Cole was caught off-guard and he wobbled a bit, nearly falling off the bed, but he was still too big for Laura to overpower him.
“Seriously?” He asked. “You really want to treat me like this when I’m all you have left?” The horrible truth of that statement sunk in, and tears immediately filled Laura’s eyes. She’d been doing such a great job at holding it all in. But not anymore.
“You’re all I have left, and I hate it,” Laura wailed. The tears were streaming down her cheeks now. She started trying to shove him off the bed again. “Just get OUT!” Cole, anger in his eyes, grabbed both of her wrists and pushed Laura back down onto the bed. His strength startled her. He had her pinned down. She couldn’t move if she wanted to.
“Trust me, you’re no picnic either,” he hissed at her, bringing his face close to hers. Laura could see the tears forming in his eyes as well. “And I don’t know what the fuck we’re going to do without them.” He took a deep, steadying breath. “But we have to at least try and move on.” That sent Laura into another burst of hysterics, her breathing ragged as she struggled to take in air through all the sobbing.