Rise of the Storyteller 26: Less No More

You gotta understand, she had done this before.

In seventh grade, I had a friend. Best friend. Well, what I thought was a best friend, named Blank. One day he had a birthday party at his house. The entire church youth group was invited and we all came. There was hair band music. Cake and more music. I remember Alice Cooper had made a comeback and we were dancing to his Frankenstein song when Less took Blank by the wrist and pulled him into his bedroom.

His mother, ever the good Christian woman, put a stop to that really quick, but Less had been in a dark room alone with my best friend for three minutes. Could not have been more. When the party ended, he came up to me as he walked me to the door and said, “We are done. I don’t want to be your friend anymore. I never want to talk to you or see you again. Don’t call me. Don’t write me. Don’t sit with me in church. It is over. We are not friends anymore.”

I got to the car and was crying when he walked Less up to the car and she kissed him. She sat in our car and laughed all the way home. She broke up with him the next day. By church the next morning, me and Blank were friends again. But it was dead. We never got back to where we had been, and when the slightest chance for vengeance popped up, he took it. See, he blamed me. He wanted payback for losing the hottest girl in our middle school.

Less was beautiful. She was lovely the way that every guy in middle school wants his girlfriend to be lovely. She knew how to smile. Knew how to talk. She knew how to beckon a guy in and gently push him away. She had a way about her. She was a performer. Had a way of catching the light just right and blinding the looker-on with her laugh. Her voice. She had mastery over all of it and had crafted herself a web that could catch anything for a time. Anyone for just a bit of time.

When, after church, I went looking for D and found that I couldn’t see Less either, I knew what had happened. We searched everywhere, Rose snapping and biting that we needed to get home and get ready for school. See, this was evening service and it was getting late. We got in the car, drove around the building and to a corner where we saw a person standing.

I saw D’s back as he leaned into the corner. He was wearing all white, his blond hair shining. He looked like a movie star caught in the headlights of a villain’s car. He turned and pulled back and there, with her back pressed against the wall, stood Less. She was dressed to the nines and she was grinning.

We dropped him off in silence. He never spoke to me. I never spoke to him. When my mother pulled away from his house, I felt as if I would be sick to my stomach. My dinner churning, my hate for him, for her, for all of them, rising. I didn’t know what to do. My life was over. She had stolen the only good thing that had happened to me in a long time.

She walked into the house stately as a prize-winning mare, her hair rippling, her clothing floating around her body. She smiled at me as she disappeared into her room.

Few minutes later, the phone rang. I stared at it hanging on the wall, the cord long and stretched, curling around itself like a python. I looked at it for a long time until finally I was yelled at to pick it up. When I did, it was him.

“Now is when you tell me you never want to see me again,” I snapped. “You’re with my sister now and you don’t want to talk to me or be with me ever again.”

“No. Not at all,” he said. “She tried that. She grabbed me and pulled me away. Pulled me down halls and stairs. Took me through doors until we found a way outside and she shoved it open. She dragged me out into the night and pulled me to the corner. She grabbed me and she whispered in my ear. ‘I will let you do anything to me that you want. Anything at all, all you have to do is never speak to him again.’ I pulled back and looked at her, but I could only see her in the shadow of my own body and head. She seemed to be built out of darkness, man, like almost evil. I looked at her, confused, and she said, ‘Say you will never see him again. Say you belong to me now.’ Then she put my hand on her boob.”

Shadow was so raging mad. Furious that she would do this to the only person he cared about. Guardian wanted to destroy him for touching her. The Artist was crooning to the sky in victory, the Servant huddled back in the corner and waiting.

“What did you do?” was all I could manage.

“I told her no. You’re my friend. She can fuck herself. I don’t want her, I want you. I want your friendship and your mind. The way you make me feel about myself and the fun we have. I don’t want your sister. Dude, I think she hates you.”

He knew he was the only good thing in my life. He knew she was trying to steal the only thing I cared about. He knew what it would take us another twenty-one years to see.

Less hated me with the passion of a thousand suns. She blamed me for everything. For her abuse, for her loss of innocence. She blamed me for every slight my mother had ever given her and every tiny offense she had ever perceived against her. She hated me for the Benders, for Billy, for Jazz, and for Grr. She hated me on the night when she pulled D into that corner and she hates me today.

Less has worked against me all my life. Guardian’s need to keep her safe, Servant’s desire to make everyone happy and give to all, brought us back to her over and over again. When she pulled this same thing with T, telling T that she was no longer allowed to talk to me or hang out with me ever again, I was done. By that time, I was thirty-seven. We were adults. Supposed to be beyond the bullshit and the games. Supposed to be in a place of health and care for each other.

I decided that day to be done with her, forever. I’ve never regretted it. The thing I will say about my sister, is that she loves me more than anyone else in the world. She treats me better than anyone else she knows. Her hate of me is primal and it makes no sense to her. But if I was a gambling man, I would guess the thing she said about it to T when they fought it out, haunts her to this day.

When she was arguing with T and yelling because T wouldn’t walk out on me, she said these words: “He has this power over people. He just gets them beholding to him and he digs his claws in. He manipulates them into loving him and they will never turn from him. They will do anything for him. He is a sickness. He is evil.”

And if you listen to that right there, you can hear it. You can hear her hate, on display, for all to see. Her view of the world and her issues. Because if you listen to that statement, it becomes clear that she has no idea why my friends are loyal to me. She can’t begin to understand. She doesn’t realize that friends don’t want the Less Show. They want loyalty. She can’t imagine a person choosing me over her, and if they do, it must be manipulation. It couldn’t be how I treat them or the things I am willing to do for them.

I’m done with her. I will not waste anymore of Teardrop Road with her, just like I will not soil any more of my life with her. She is full of hate, and I am beyond that.

This chapter is from Reality of the Unreal Mind, Vol. 1: Teardrop Road, available on Amazon.

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