By Lela Smith – Originally published in The Adirondack Trust’s Festival of Young Artists Literary Gallery
It’ll be at least another 30 minutes before Conner comes to get me. An hour if Mom does. What can I do for an hour? It’s not like the guidance office has a tv…
Sure are a lot of tiles on this ceiling. Let’s see, that’s 1, 2, 4, 6-
Nope, I will not resort to counting ceiling tiles. I refuse to be that bored.
Instead, I take out my ipod. I just choose a random playlist and hit shuffle, I’m not in the mood to cherry pick a song like usual. Watch you sleep by girl in red comes on, and I recognize this as one of Ian’s playlists. He gave me this one after he left for college, so I didn’t miss him so much. He said it always helped him calm down.
I didn’t like any of these songs at first. I love my brother, but his music taste has always been questionable at best. I did miss him though, he and Conner both. By the time they came home for Christmas break, I was listening to this playlist almost everyday.
The songs have grown on me since then. Besides, they remind me of Ian. It helps to remember him, on days like this. Days when it feels like he was never here at all.
I think he felt guilty about leaving me back home. He shouldn’t have. He was going on an adventure, he and his best friend were leaving for college in the big city. As far as I was concerned, the last thing Ian should be thinking about then was his snot nose little sister.
“Mom’s not that bad,” I told him, “and I’ve got plenty of friends at school that I can talk to while you’re not here to annoy me. I’ll be fine.” He gave me that timid smile he always used to wear.
“I know Katie baby.” he told me, “But you know me, I just worry is all.”
Katie baby. No one’s called me Katie baby since I was 12.
No one’s called me Katie baby since Ian went missing.
I shouldn’t have put girl in red on. This band always makes me think too much. But I don’t have anything else to play, and I don’t feel like turning Ian’s music off just yet. It really does make me miss him a little less.
I turn the volume up to max, lay back, and try as hard as I can to turn off my brain.
It doesn’t work.