I suddenly remember the feeling, why we couldn’t wait to get the hell away from this town as soon as we finished high school. My sister is calling me from Fargo. “Why aren’t you home at night? What are you up to?” Crap, how the hell does she know? And if she knows, from a hundred and fifty miles away … This could turn out ugly.
Ben and I used to call her “princess” when we were young and she was in high school. She was always complaining about us to our mother. “They’re picking on me!” Or, “They won’t leave me alone when I’m in the bathroom.” She was always in the bathroom, seemed like.
Really, she’s mad because nobody’s coming down to look at her baby. We’ve seen her. I stopped and saw her on the way up here last summer. And then what did she do? She calls my mother. “Mom! Finn is coming home! What’s up?” We saw her at Thanksgiving, at Christmas. I stopped and saw her with Lars, on the way to New York. I guess that’s not enough. We have to come and bow down more often. What are we supposed to do? It’s not like the baby can even talk yet. Chris says she can sit up now. Wow! I bet that is exciting.
The one good thing about the baby is that now she doesn’t talk about Ben all the time. It used to be Ben, one thing after another. Nobody was talking about it. “Why don’t you talk about Ben? Don’t you miss him? Doesn’t it hurt when you think about him?” I told her she should move out to California. I’ve heard people out there like to talk about their feelings all day long.
She’s always been worried about everybody else. She’s like the herding dog for our family, keeping us together. It’s probably why we can’t manage even a decent conversation with her gone, seriously. I mean, you sit around at the house in the evening and there isn’t a sound. Except for the televisions on the family room, the kitchen, my parents’ bedroom. I don’t think I know anyone else in town has more than one television. We not only have three, half the time they’re all on at the same time.
If she knew how bad things are around the house now, I don’t think Chris would wonder why I’m not at home in the evening. Why I ended up making a friend. I wonder how she’s hearing stuff, so far away, though. Who would be spreading rumors to her? What rumors is she hearing?