She danced in the den, swinging from the door to the open window. She protected our secret through whatever addiction served her. The glare behind her loose curls told me everything.
I walked past her, and wondered if I whispered: Don’t hang your shit on me. You always do that, you think you know why, but I know better. You are afraid I’ll tell. That’s why.
I didn’t hear her follow me into the hall.
“Takes two to play hide and seek, you know,” she said.
I wasn’t hiding. She was drunk. The vodka on her breath stung my throat and made the fabric that barely covered her chest transparent. It was my dress. Her skin, was always softer than mine. She refused to wear a bra, even though it was time. I would have happily shared one of those with her. She never asked of anything, anymore. My closet was hers, in so many ways.
That it didn’t work the other way around didn’t bother me. So long as Mother stitched the tears we all knew we’d wake to in the morning.
Dirt clung to the bottom of my gown as she slid towards me. A lawn mower switched directions outside; my heart wanted to do the same. Why she drank and poisoned her veins was her secret, not ours. If she did it for me, I’d be happy to have my closet back and say no thank you to all of that shit she hung on me. We used to be friends, now we just hung on to that day like we were made for picture frames.
Dad was gone; Mom was gone enough to never notice when a pull of her bottle was gone. They bought it by the gallon at the corner store. Mother had the owner take the cost of her vodka from my wages. She didn’t know they didn’t need to pay me in the first place, I went there to get away from the sloppy smothering.
I loved them.
“Will you ever talk to me again?” she asked. She sat on the futon with nothing but sobs in her lap. Just another trickle to make my dress run.
I pinched her lips with a broken nail and shut the door behind me. Not today, my love. I have a game to play.
prompt: don’t hang your shit on me.