Me and my brother Victor grew up in a pretty rough neighborhood. Our dad was abusive, and our mom spent all our money on booze and furniture, to the point where there were days between our meals.
My brother Victor is seven years younger than me. He was always the weak one, and I remember when mom brought him home, I was afraid I was going to break his tiny little bones. I remember that he stared at me with his blue eyes, and I knew I had to protect him. Or else he was gonna die.
Victor was three when he called me mom for the very first time. I was sitting outside, waiting for the sun to go up, after another sleepless night. I don’t know who taught him the word, probably someone from his school.
He came outside, wearing his little pajamas. It was a little over 5 AM, and Victor used to be a heavy sleeper, so it confused me seeing him out this early.
“You are my mommy.”
It was a conclusion. I was barely eleven, and I didn’t see myself as a mommy. I just saw myself as his older sister. I couldn’t be a mommy, mommies were a lot older. But he looked at me, with this weird look.
“Of course I am.”
He smiled and giggled, and ran over to me. He then placed himself next to me, and we looked at the sun rising together. One in the family had to be a mommy, and our mother didn’t want to, so that left me.
When I was thirteen, my mom died. I didn’t know how to tell it to Victor, I just ran into the room we shared and yelled it out. Victor turned around, with wet eyes.
“No, you can’t die mommy.”
The comment confused me until I realized. I was his mommy. Just like I promised him when I was seven, and nothing could break the little game we had. I then sat next to him and started crying. He looked at me, confused
“Mommies don’t cry.”
I looked at him. His eyes were wet, and he hugged me. No, I couldn’t cry in front of him. I was his mommy.
I remember going to all kinds of different meetings at his school. Watching him play soccer, going to the woods with him. I slowly grew into the role. I dropped out of school but used all my money to keep him in there. Teen pregnancies were normal in the area, and I was lucky enough to look like I was at the start of my twenties, when I was seventeen. So I just said I was his mother.
I didn’t take fathers death so hard. I somehow expected to see him, laying in a sea of booze without a heartbeat. I cleaned up before Victor came home, made a tiny funeral for him, and by the time Victor was home, I had calmed myself enough, to cover my wet eyes with makeup.
I still remember the day everything changed. I remember the day where Victor came home looking like a wreck. He was barely fifteen years old. In the following time, he had begun hanging out with crowds, there wasn’t the safest in town. And I would lie if I said he didn’t come home high or drunk a couple of times. I just did what I could. There was no meaning in yelling at him when he was like that.
I remember asking him what was wrong, as he didn’t seem to be on anything.
“I got a girl pregnant.”
I was crying on the inside. I wanted to yell at him, ask him if he ever thought about anything, but himself. Why didn’t he think? But instead, I just took a deep breath.
“We’ll figure it out, okay.”
He brought his girlfriend the next day. Her name was Aida, and she didn’t look a day over fifteen. Her arms and legs were tiny, and she had long red flowy hair. The girl looked like she hadn’t eaten for days.
Victor never lived to see his daughter. Eight months after, he and Aida were in a car accident. They saved the baby, but Aida died because of complications. Victor was killed on the spot, pierced by a piece of glass, through his throat. I buried the body myself, next to my mom and dad.
I wasn’t a mommy anymore.
Not until they dropped the baby on my doorstep, a month later. She had big blue eyes, and red hair just barely able to see. She looked so much like Victor, my heart hurt, though.
I named her Victoria. That was the only name I was able to consider. Victoria was a sweet kid, she didn’t cry that much, and she distracted me from thinking about my loss of Victor. It was like Victor was back.
Yesterday, I saw Victors grave, and I broke into tears. I was going for a walk with Victoria. She followed me, then looked at me with a distant look in her eyes.
“Remember, mommies don’t cry.”
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