Tattoo: The Books of Glory

a webserial about people who are not like us

When We Were Six

Posted by harmony0stars on October 31, 2010

When we were six, Dad came home covered in blood. I didn’t see it, but Glory did, and she never lies. I’d like to smack her sometimes. She won’t even lie to get out of being punished.

I’d heard Mom complain a few times to her friends about how Dad would go out at night and not come home till very late, if at all. Sometimes I heard her crying at night. I love my dad, but I decided right then that I was never going to let some man treat me like that! I was pretty sure even back then that she wasn’t going to tell anyone about the blood though.

Did I say six, dear diary? We weren’t quite six. It was a few days before our birthday. I guess I’ve waited until now to write it down, hoping daddy… Dad would come back if I would just show how different from Glory I was. He always seemed to like her better, and that just wasn’t fair. Mom was always trying to make us look more alike, and telling me to act more like my sister and stay out of the cookie jar and shoes off the couch. I was sure at the time that if I could just show him how great I was and not like my sister at all, that he’d like me better.

But I‘m thirteen now, practically grown up, and I don’t think he’s coming back any more.

I remember I heard mom yelling, and a second later Glory stepped into our room, so pale she looked like she’d fallen head first into the baby powder. Except for one cheek which had a red smear on it. That was where dad had patted her before mom saw him and freaked out. I’ve tried to talk to Glory about it half a dozen times since then, but she just gives me a blank look when I do. I don’t know how dad and mom can like her best when she’s such a retard.

Dad was really weird for a couple days after that. I don’t even remember if he spoke at all before our birthday. He just kind of looked around him like… I don’t know. It was weird. He’d pick things up, look them over, and then put them back down like he hadn’t ever seen them before. And the way he’d grab me or Glory and just examine us was… terrifying. Glory took to hiding from him, but I figured it was my chance to show I was better than her, even if… Nevermind. I guess mom cleaned him up because I never saw any blood. But something had definitely happened.

Up until our sixth birthday, me and Glory had managed to keep mom off our backs about looking like twins. Dad helped. He said we should be allowed “to find out who we were for ourselves.” Mom would still buy exactly the same clothes and fussed with Glory’s hair, begging her to let her cut it, but Glory never would. That kind of made me glad. I wanted to stand out from her, not make it hard for dad to tell us apart.

I guess Glory finally getting her hair cut was kind of my fault. She was sleepwalking and having nightmares. She’d wake up and tell me dad was playing with people’s guts, especially little kids, trying to figure out ‘how to make them better,’ but she said they weren’t sick, so I don’t know. Like I said, she doesn’t remember now, so it’s useless to ask, and she’s such a stuck up bitch anyway, always with her nose I a book. Who even wants to talk to her about anything?

It had only been about a year since we’d gotten our own separate beds, so I figured maybe if we shared, I could at least be there if she started sleepwalking again, and then mom wouldn’t yell at the both of us loud enough to wake the neighbors. She was always yelling! Now she’s just kind of… tired all the time.

After mom tucked us in, I went and got some gum from where I kept it hidden under the toy chest. Mom didn’t like us to chew gum because she said it made people look like cows, and we didn’t want to be stupid cows, did we? Eh… I agree with her now. Chewing gum makes you look idiotic. But back then, I chewed some every night when I had it, just to spite her. If she’d known it was there, she would have wanted to know where it came from, where I got the money, etc. Even then, I knew she’d pitch a fit if she found out I stole it. There’d been ‘incidents’ but luckily she thought I just had a habit of picking stuff up without realizing I had to pay for it.

But I fell asleep with the gum in my mouth, and we woke up with it in Glory’s hair. Boy was mom pissed. She didn’t even ask where it came from, just took us out to the salon, and this time Glory couldn’t stop mom from chopping her hair or mine. I don’t think Glory’s ever forgiven me for that one, though her hair is longer than ever now. She won’t let anyone touch it either.

Mom brought us home and started setting up for our party. We didn’t have many friends because all the neighbors thought mom was a drunk and dad was creepy. (I overheard old Mrs Jenkins on the third floor talking to the super about us. She called me a hellion too, but she won’t say anything bad about us again. When the ambulance driver took her away from the bottom of the stairs, he told me she was with Jesus now… I think she‘s in the other place.)

Dad came home from wherever he’d been. I don’t remember now if he was at work or what he was doing that day. He’d kind of been getting better since the other day, talking and stuff. I‘d heard him and mom just that morning before I realized the gum was gone and opened my eyes. But when he came into the dining room where I was coloring some stupid little kid picture, he looked from me to Glory and back and got this funny look on his face. I knew he was just about as pissed as I was about how we suddenly looked exactly the same.

Glory was moping in the kitchen with mom and hadn’t said two words since we got home, just giving me nasty looks. I swear if she wasn’t my sister, I would have pushed her in front of traffic a long time ago. Dad went into the kitchen and said something to mom. He never did raise his voice, ever. Well she freaked out, like usual. Started yelling about how she was worried he was seeing someone else… and how he was the only thing she had in the world aside from us. Then she kind of remembered we were there and hollered for us to go to our room. When we got there, Glory stuck her nose in a book and refused to even look at me.

I got bored real quick and finally snuck to the top of the stairs to listen. Mom was yelling about dad being out all night, and how she couldn’t keep covering for him. That’s when dad finally opened his mouth loud enough for me to hear and asked what she meant. And then she mentioned the blood. Like I said, Glory never lies. It got real quiet and the next thing I heard mom crying and begging him not to go out again, that she wouldn’t tell anyone. She was just afraid. But if he said anything, it was too soft for me to hear, and that was the last time we saw our dad.

It was the worst birthday ever, not that they were a lot of fun after that. Mom hardly ever smiles, and she’s always picking at us. She hardly even yells any more… just pick, pick pick… She tells Glory to be more like me, and me to be more like Glory. I’m not saying Glory doesn’t piss me off, but we’re kind of in the same boat so far as mom is concerned. Nothing either one of us does will ever be good enough for her.

Glory’s always writing in her diary, so I figured I’d give it a try. I actually do kind of feel better getting this out. Though… it’s probably not the brightest thing to write about what happened to Mrs Jenkins or dad. Someone might read this and get the wrong idea.


6 Responses to “When We Were Six”

  1. Raven said

    … or someone might read this and get the right idea.

    Daddy’s little girl. Takes after the other Daddy.

    It’s been a while, Lori. Sure hope you’re on the other side of the planet now. Or further away, if possible. Yikes.

    • Yes, we can hope. Or at any rate, they’re currently a world apart. That can’t last of course.

      They are not so different in personality. Both stubborn, both protective of things they consider their own, neither of them oblivious to their mother’s not so gentle prodding…

      • Raven said

        Not so different, save perhaps trivially for a murderous sociopathy on the one hand vs. protective empathy on the other; I don’t think Lori’s winding up with a houseful of kids, cats, and other friends, do you?

        Um, live ones, that is….

        • Well, so long as they were useful to her in some way, I don’t think she’d have a problem with them being alive, at least initially. Lori and Glory have been let down by people a lot, even by each other. Ironically, Lori sees it as something she lacks and lashes out at others for not appreciating her. While Glory has a very low opinion of everyone but herself and so withdraws from personal interaction to keep from being disappointed and hurt by her inferiors. How’s that for a spin? You’d think it would be the other way around.

          • Fiona said

            In Leonard Cohen’s amazing song “Isaac”, at the end the lyrics say

            “When it all comes down to dust, I will kill you if I must, I will love you if I can”

            Then next time he sings it a different way “I will love you if I must, I will kill you if I can”

            The difference between being Glory and being Lori?

          • I think Lori wants essentially the same thing as Glory, that is, acceptance, but Glory is willing to wait for it to come while Lori aggressively seeks it, or at least that’s how they started out. Hard to say what Lori’s thinking since she killed their mom. I don’t want to say too much because her part it coming up once Glory gets back to Earth.

            I will say though, that they are more alike than not. It’s the small differences which makes them seem so opposite.

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