They ignored me after it happened. They’d never ignored me before.
It changes people. My mum watches the television now. She’d never watched it before. She used to tell me to turn it off. But now she watches. It makes them blind to those around them. She couldn’t see the mess my sister was making behind the sofa.
When she did see, she would somehow forget to be angry. She would tidy things away without a word, locked in heavy muted thoughts.
I wished I could help.
Sometimes she made too much dinner, expecting us to eat it and then remembering that, after the accident, the doctor said we couldn’t. I didn’t blame her. It was a hard thing to remember.
She asked us, a lot, why we messed up the living room. When we didn’t reply her eyes closed and a strange wrinkle she hadn’t had before would crease her brow. It was another thing she forgot. I think, maybe, the television was eating away her mind. That’s probably why I wasn’t allowed to watch it before.
I don’t watch it much now. She never had any good cartoons on anyway.
My sister scribbled another note on a piece of paper and pushed it in my direction. Her face remained bent on her other drawings, crayon wriggling away in her hand. Mum wouldn’t like the drawings, but she wouldn’t say anything.
I looked at the note. It was a pictogram. Tiffany was always good at pictograms and now it seemed to be the only way she could communicate. The rest of the time she continued in her own world, ignoring me again.
They told me it was because of the trauma she’d suffered. Eventually she’d get over it, but for now she needed to draw things to help her.
Mum didn’t notice much. She just put the drawings in a pile on the kitchen worktop beside her car keys.
I wish I hadn’t picked up the keys that day. We’d thought it was the only way to escape, though. Then the accident happened and mum started ignoring us. And I knew that both were my fault. If I hadn’t picked up the keys that day this wouldn’t have happened.
But it had seemed like the only choice we had.
Dad wasn’t supposed to come around to the house. We’d been told to get away if he did. He’d followed us from school. I tried to close the door on him, but he’d gotten in. Mum wasn’t there She’d gone to the neighbour’s for something.
Tiffany had screamed. It was the last noise I’d heard her make as we ran. When we’d reached the car I’d tried to drive, but I’d never driven before. Dad had rammed us with his off-roader. We’d spun out of control and started to roll.
I can remember mum’s face in the hospital afterwards. I can remember the tears and the sobs.
Now dad stood outside our window. He wanted to come in, but I wouldn’t let him. He’d never get inside again to hurt us. Nobody could hurt us.
Tears slid down mum’s cheeks as she watched the screen. I hadn’t wanted to leave her.
Neither of us had.
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