My Room

The last time I saw Andy
he was living with us.
We had three weeks
left of school. Mom said
he’d be staying here maybe
a month. His mom
was in the hospital.
She slipped on some ice
and couldn’t move.

I didn’t care
how long he stayed. I put extra air
in my tires, showed him my secret stacks
of Analog and Vision of Tomorrow,
and draped my yellow comforter
on the basement couch.

The first night we stayed up till 3:20
talking about the Nullifier, which could make
any device stop working.
Andy wanted it to break
us out of school, and rob banks and kill police
cars as we drove across the country.

That night he left
his toothbrush in the sink.
A couple days later he stopped
walking with me to school.

I stared out the window
if I got angry, but sometimes
he just had to say
one word.

We were reading in my room
when I finally said it. I figured
we’d talk and feel better.

Hey, why are you being a jerk?

Who’s being a jerk?

You are. I heard you snickering
at my brother in the hall after Biology
on Tuesday. And this morning, I heard you
in the shower. You called my mom
a hussy.

It’s just a song. I wasn’t talking
about your mom, anyway.
It was about your sister.

That’s what I mean.
Why are you saying shit like that?

Shit like what? Your sister’s a bitch?
She is a bitch. You know what she did
last night? I knocked on her door
and she pointed a fucking knife at me.

That’s a hell of a way to say she likes you.

The words are like a bird
coming through the window.
I almost duck.

I… don’t think you’re her type.

Whatever. She likes those handsome—
he brushes his collar—brown boys.
They all do.

Andy opens his Spiderman
#145
.

I stand in the doorway a minute.
He doesn’t say anything.
I brush my teeth.

I have to go to bed.

I’ll be done in a minute.

Please, just go read
downstairs.

Just give me a minute.

I have a Spanish test
first period. I have to sleep.

Andy doesn’t move. I make to pull
the comic out of his hand
and he grabs it, hard.

Just a fucking minute. I’m almost done.

What’s happening
that’s so important?

You can read it when I’m done.

I’m in the middle
of three other books.
Just tell me.

Andy sighs loudly.
There’s two Gwen Stacys.

What? How?

I told you, you can read it when I’m done.

No, I can’t. I’d have to start
at the beginning.

So you just want me to tell you?
You want to come in and do none
of the work. Someone just tells you
everything you missed.

It doesn’t work like that.
You want the story, you have to read it
from the fucking beginning.

After a minute he closes the book
and goes downstairs.

Added: March 7, 2013 | Last changed: June 7, 2014