Dad was rich but traveled a lot. Mom was hooked on downers. My big brother (3 years older than me) largely raised me, cooking breakfast, getting me dressed, making lunches, getting me to school.
Mom did usually make dinner.
Dad was home most Friday & Saturday nights. Big smiles, big laughs, he was so fun & charming.
He was home more after I turned 8 and even took me on play dates. I was 11 when I caught him sleeping with the mom we were visiting; my play dates were cover for him meeting his 3 mistresses.
A year later he skipped town with a lot of money he stole from where he worked. He cleared out our bank accounts, too. So mom, disabled for over a decade, my 17 year old brother, and 14 year old me had to move into a beat up trailer home.
Mom started drinking heavy. My brother was working 2 jobs. I tried to care for mom, keep the place clean, and feed my brother as he worked as a janitor and literally digging ditches.
There was a nice young couple on one side and a widower on the other. The old guy was really nice. He asked me to make him a dozen cookies and gave me $20 for ingredients then refused the change. Then he asked me to pick up some donuts and refused change for a $20. Pretty soon he was paying me $25 a week to ‘help’.
I thought the couple was nice, until the husband offered me $20 if I’d blow him. I ran away. The wife was always mean after that, so I know he told her some tale to protect himself.
I’d always been shy, but with everyone whispering about me and being forced to wear clothes from a church that gave donated stuff to us I vanished. I just wanted a diploma and some hope, but a diploma would do.
The day he turned 18 my brother applied to be my legal guardian (mom signed, so out of it I doubt she understood); after a month he was, so he made a bank account for me and enlisted in the army.
I was alone with mom.
The kids in the neighborhood had been afraid of my brother. Now if I left they taunted me.
The skinny ghost. Bigfoot’s uglier sister. The widower would have me over for tea and talk, but other than that it was school, sleeping mom, cleaning, cooking, over and over.
My brother was in training a long time but right after I turned 16 he was sent to Iraq and we couldn’t go. He’d been paying the rent and sending me money and he got promoted fast, so I was saving.
Then mom died. Just didn’t wake up one Saturday. 44 years old. The alcohol finally got her. Brother came home to bury her, took me to Ft. Bragg with him. The wives in the company helped me a lot (he had months left in combat), and I finished HS. But I was really alone.
Brother got stationed in Atlanta, I went to tech college and got a bookkeeper certification and got a work from home job doing the books on some dentist offices.
I’m working on my Accounting associates, mainly online. My brother gets out soon and is dating a nice girl. I think he’s going to propose.
I have a nice apartment way out of town, only $400 a month with utilities (it is over a garage!). And my brother got me a used Hyundai as a gift.
Haven’t heard from my dad. He might be dead.
But I don’t drink, I don’t have any friends, and other than my brother all men scare me unless they are about 70.