Never Understand | Teen Ink

Never Understand

April 9, 2021
By avegrace PLATINUM, Houston, Texas
avegrace PLATINUM, Houston, Texas
31 articles 28 photos 1 comment

Favorite Quote:
Psalm 82:3

Looking out my window as the sun sank below the horizon, I was sure I’d never understand. I glanced over at a framed photo, perched on the shelf mounted to my bedroom wall. The photo was of my mother, father, older brother, and me. It had been taken twelve and a half years ago when I was only eight months old. 

     My family had changed drastically since the time that photo was taken. My father, Bradley, and my mother, Mariah, had divorced. Photos of my mother and father together had become a thing of the past.  Mom remarried. Her family photos now consisted of her, her husband, and her stepchildren. A new family. A new family that didn’t include us. 

     Dad took up the task of raising my siblings and me on his own. The work that was made for two people to do was now his to do alone. He worked long hours, from four in the morning till nine at night. Whether it was to support his family or as a way to escape from it, I was never sure. 

       My brother, Sawyer, was five years old in the photo, his thumbs hooked through the belt loops of his too-baggy jeans, a crooked smile on his face. The sun was shining in his eyes, causing him to squint. That same five-year-old was now seventeen. A senior in high school, he was his football team’s star player. He, once thin and spindly, was towering, Herculean, and, frankly, a bit intimidating. He still had the same dark brown, curly hair and eyes like blue ice, features he had inherited from our mother. 

     I, just a baby in the photo, was now thirteen. I was a cheerleader at my middle school. Although I was quiet most of the time, I was anything but unheard when cheering from the sidelines. My pale green eyes had remained unchanged, though my dishwater- blonde hair had darkened to a light brown. 

     My older sister, Camryn, stood beside Sawyer in the photo. Her smile displayed the gap where her two front teeth were missing. Unlike Sawyer and I, Camryn never got to grow up. She passed away a month after the photo was taken. She’d remain the same freckled-faced, blonde-headed little girl in everyone’s memory. My parents never told me what happened to her. Whether it was because they were trying to shield me or because it was too upsetting for them to revisit, I had no idea.

      A little over four years after that photo was taken, when I was five years old, my sister, Monroe, was born. Now eight years old, Monroe was a ball of energy. Having done gymnastics for four years, she was flipping and tumbling nonstop. We were often told we looked similar, with similar features and hair colors. 

       Following Monroe three years later, Fallyn was born. Fallyn was a red-headed five-year-old with a head full of fantasies. In her mind, she was a princess, her teddy bear her prince, the plastic rhinestones on her tiara as precious as rubies. She’d run through the yard as fast as she could in her plastic high heels without slipping in the mud and soiling her dress-up gown. 

      We were an average family you could find pretty much anywhere. 

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