One morning about seven o’clock, my mother, Marsha Steinberg, has asked me to be part of Roslyn’s group to clean up the last snow at the church courtyard, and I refused. I saw my brother coming in through the open door of the street. He was the lazy one and a devious sibling, what he must do around the house as the man after our father has passed away the last summer. He was in his father’s tuxedo, just as I have last seen him asking our mother and me for money for a holiday friend party which he passed always for two days or so. He looked at me, smiled, then turned to our mother who was waving me not to make any comment. He inquired for breakfast before he went to his room. Mum did not say anything, such as the need of somebody to clean up the snow in front of the church. I did expect she would. Dad has done it when he was alive. My younger brother, Brandy, had done it as well before he had departed on service at the military Whiteville. She was afraid of him when he started cursing her and because I was the one who had her to ask. He almost killed her and I was angry and so disillusioned about him. I closed my hands and tried to look at him and to listen to the conversation he had with our mother. He talked about nonsense and promises and lies. I was upon a Friday when I was in church with all the Roslyn crew (which that bitch I hate as well) cleaning the snow from the following afternoon my brother arrived and took her somewhere. She smiled at my face when Dan had done, and then my brother said something stupid like, “You told me, she was doing that in a rage of jealousy” From that moment on wards I swore to myself that I would not make a fool of myself.
Once when my mother and brother were standing in the kitchen, and consequently were disagreeing what the prince of the house wanted to eat, the telephone rang.
“Get the phone Vivian!”
“You’re closer to it. Why do you not pick it up?”
“Mom! You know how she is.”
“Why doesn’t she pick up? You’re just a platonic gender!”
“Stop it Dan! No names please!”
“He starts mom!”
During the following minutes we were arguing and our mother in-between. I saw her breathing heavily. I had a distinct impression that this would be forever, saying, “Fine!” And indeed, as I was about to get up, I saw mom moving to the telephone, she released her breathing but she had difficulty speaking after she had picked the auricular. She breathed her single word.
“Hello?” She paused. “Oh, yes, Mrs. Schmitz. I know it is our turn and our duty. Certainly, but there is a problem. My daughter has refused to do so. Well, I can speak with Mr. Richardson, and he may understand my situation. I understand. I do. Yes, I understand. You cannot have a council meeting on that issue. We have done many times our duty as a member of the agglomerate. No, I do not want to argue. Of course, not. Well, God bless you.”
She eyed the telephone for a long minute. She put back the telephone and went to the kitchen. She finished cooking the breakfast for my brother. I thought she was going to ask me to join the Roslyn’s crew but she did not. And by the time my brother stormed into his room and slapped the door noisily. I looked after him. Then I went back to my Integrate account and made a several comments on G and transported my new post of myself under the snow. I heard something.
It was like a solid drop. I went to investigate. I stood at the window. Nothing. Just snow and kids played with the balls of snow. I backed and walked to Dad’ room. He was heavily sleeping. I heard a whisper. I looked at mom’s chamber. I ambled down to the corridor and I opened the door. I found that my mother was, who had been seated on the edge of the bed, dressing up which included her outdoor heavily coat, rabbit cup, and scarf, but she had difficulty to put on his snow boots.
“What are you mom?”
“Mrs. Schmitz decided to call up the council upon me.”
“It’s my duty for the cleanup the church courtyard.”
“I did it mom!”
“In accordance with Mrs. Popovic’s daughter, Roslyn, you did not.”
“That bitch is lying mom. Oh, bloody mind! Why didn’t she tell her mother what she did with my brother in the church?”
“I do not want to hear it or ask about anything. Please, help me put these boots.”
“What do you think you are doing?”
“I have told you. It’s my duty what I promised upon.”
“Go clean that snow?”
“You cannot breathe and that icy air will kill you.”
“Somebody has to do that Vivian. Your father is gone and your Randy is way from us.”
“That is unfair.”
“Isn’t it? From now I will do that. I am still strong.”
When she tried to reach the boot she fell. I grasped her, and I made her sit on the bed. Even though there have many things around especially among my brother and me I have never seen her crying. There she was crying.
She touched my face, and she considered my eyes. “It’s all right.” Then she kept crying. She leaned over and kissed her. “I am going to do that mom.”
“You are my girl. You know that.”
“I know mom.”
I helped her undress. Putting all her clothes away, I prepared her medicine and made her lay down. A moment I dressed up and prepared to leave and go get the job done. I kissed mom who had fallen slept.
Outside Becca, Shauna, Suzan waited for me. I did not see Roslyn.
“Roslyn isn’t with us.”
“Heard rumor her mom sent her to her father.”
“You’re a senior. We agreed you should take Roslyn’s place.”
A moment later a second snow raining began to fall. Instead of going to the church courtyard we began to play as the kids in the fountain.
George Keyes is a published author who lives in Mojave Desert of southeastern California, USA. His poems, short stories, and nonfictions have appeared online magazines and printing literary journals such as the Taft College Press, the Literary Yard, and the Scarlet Leaf Publishing House among others. In additional, he is an awarded author by the prestigious International Latino Book Awards. He is currently working on “The God Gender”.