This story contains sensitive content

Takes after Heist

Mentions of: suiside, abuse, princess stickers and scary rides.

I always counted on my big Brother, he did so much for me growing up and now to see on the news that he’s dead? It just can’t be, there had to be a mistake. He would never harm himself in any way no matter what, jumping off a cliff is not like him. He always saw the good in life no matter where he went, he was just on vacation somewhere or sleeping at home on his day off. That had to be it, the news is wrong.

“The four men who stole the Wahipot Wuwunagotmi jewel from the Exhibit late last night, have been found dead. The chase ended early this morning with them throwing themselves off the seaside cliff. The police have recovered the motorbikes they were riding during their escape, the jewel has not been recovered at this time...” I tuned out the rest of the report. My Brother can’t be dead. He’s at home sleeping. It’s not him.

I saw a similar face to him, it seems it was taken by the security camera, it was everywhere I look as I made my way home. The guy looked so sad and what my Brother said to me. That horrible realization was enough to convince me that my Brother was suffering underneath his mask. This man can’t be my Brother. It just can’t be.

“Brother! Thought you might be here, how have you been? How’s work?” I had asked him when we met at the museum. My Brother loves history and always went to the museum when he could spare time. I haven’t seen him for a week after spending so much time with me, the carnival with him was always so fun. Although I think he hates the thrill rides, he always has this gentle side to him that only I got to see. He doesn’t complain that much about the rides only a few times he would suggest a nice slow ride every once in a while. It was mostly just him winning me prizes at the games area. He is so good at games, during the races he would let me win. He thinks I don’t know, he’s so silly.

“Hey little Heartbeat, I’m good, work is work. How about you? What have you been up to?” I never really noticed at that time but he hardly talks about himself just directs the questions back to me. Did I ever understand you?

“I’m doing great, I’m getting good grades and most of the things they teach are what you already taught me. Who are they?” I asked about the people he was with since I’d hardly seen him with his friends. How much of my Brother’s life did I miss? We were so close back then.

“Brazen Friends, Hunter Row and Sidney Stone. Be cautious of them who knows what filth they’ve picked up. Who are you here with?” his way of saying to not get too close to other guys no matter how they look and act. He always told me to make them work for my attention and give it in small doses.

“Jennifer and Athena, you remember them.” He knows all my friends regardless of how many I have he knows each of them by name and face.

“Athena was the one that had a crush on me right? Or was that Abigail? Brooke?” My friends developed a crush on him because of how gentle and talented he is.

“Brother, all my friends have a secret crush on you.” They always told me how lucky I was that I had a good-looking brother that will spoil me whenever I give the word.

“Stop having so many friends then and they should know that my love is only for my little sister.” One of his favourite lines to me, no matter what he always told me he loved me in any shape and form.

“No, I need my friends.”

“You don’t need them, you just want them for the company when you’re bored of setting the house on fire.”

“I only did that once and it was an accident!”

“Leaving the grilled cheese alone wasn’t an accident, who let you cook like that?”

“I forgot! And it never happened again! After all, my chef Brother taught me how to cook properly.”

“Damn straight,” he then gave such a serious expression. That look was a little scary like he’s very far away but there at the same time. “Hey, little Heartbeat,” his voice was now softer it didn’t suit his small frown and knitted worried eyebrows, “you won’t need me around anymore will you? You have so many people around you, now.” those words had surprised me then. What did he mean when he said it with that look? Brother? What did you mean? What did you mean!

“Silly Brother, of course I’ll need you.”

“No, you don’t,” he shook his head, “you stopped needing me ever since our last recital together. I could see it, I was only around when you got sick or was sad Mom passed away. You don’t need me anymore.” Brother! I need you! I do need you!

“Just because we don’t see each other much doesn’t mean I don’t need you.”

“I love you, little Heartbeat and my love for you is as strong as your heart, go see your friends and grow happy.”

I sat in his empty room, helping Dad gather my Brother’s things in his now very empty apartment. He wasn’t sleeping on his day off. He’s not here, why isn’t he here? Looking around, I noticed he had lots of journals, I remember telling him to write with me when we first started. In fact, his first journal is on the bookshelf. It would be nice to see how much he hated writing in it since he often complained about hating it and how boring it was.

I picked up the journal laughing at the princess stickers I decorated it with. He retaliated by putting superhero stickers on mine. But now that I look closer at it, he stuck tape over them. Was he preserving it? The stickers always looked new and freshly put on, with no wear or tear to them over age like how normal stickers would look.

“Princess! Oh there you are, what do you have there? Ah, he always yelled at me to keep the coffee away from the open journal on the dinner table. We both worked late and hard on those days. Put it in your bag, we’ll come again tomorrow to pack the rest of it up. Let’s go out to eat, what do you say?”

I feel so numb but hearing how gentle and hopeful Dad is, reminds me of my Brother. I only nod following him out, we got some food from our favourite place but neither of us touch much of it. The void of not having him around smiling and talking was now starting to sink in. We packed up the remaining food and started our drive home.

“The last thing he said to me was, ‘I love you, little Heartbeat and my love for you is as strong as your heart, go see your friends and grow happy.’. What did he mean by that, Daddy?”

“He said that to you while you were still in your Moms tummy. He told you every night, but he didn’t say Heartbeat he always said little one. It wasn’t until your Moms last trip to the hospital that he started calling you that.”

“He said the doctor let him hear my heartbeat while mom was resting.”

“Hm, she was having problems during her pregnancy with you. They had to keep watch of her and you, you got to see her for three more years before she passed. I’m sorry I wasn’t there much during that time. But your brother said it was okay to leave it to him while I grieved, I should have been there for you both more I feel so selfish.” We parked in front of our house and sat there, “Let’s go in before we catch a cold and your brother yells at us...” Dad’s voice died down from a happy tone to something of longing. I really wanted to hear Brother yell at us to hurry and get inside.

“Yeah, ‘What are you doing out there! Get in here before the soup dries!’” I giggled a bit, Dad only hummed in agreement. He always served soup before the main course when he came over for special occasions. We got out slowly and made our way to our rooms, turning on the light in my room felt empty and cold. I turned and walked to my Brothers room which always felt open and warm but now it felt empty. Like he’s never been there to begin with. I sat on his bed and took out the journal.

Journal Entry #1

Dear, Heartbeat.

I know you remember me saying that this was boring and dumb but this was a great idea to connect with you better, I love that about you. When you read this on your graduation (I’m ripping this page out and putting it in one of those giant cards), just know that I’m proud of you. I bet you’ll have a big smile on your face looking like Mom, I can’t wait to see that. You’ll be so beautiful, I’ll even make your dress for it. But then again I always see that, you remind me so much of her, seeing her sick was scary. Seeing you sick was even scarier. I always worried that you won’t make it, like her. Even if it was just a cold, I still worried.

I also realized when Mom was sick, I was very worried so the doctor showed me something amazing. Your heartbeat and Mom, are both beating strongly and healthily. I thought it was so cool and relieving that you’ll both be okay. It was also the time when I started calling you Heartbeat. So don’t be afraid of the world, just know that you are loved. I love you, little Heartbeat and my love for you is as strong as your heart, go see your friends and grow happy.

To think this is 15-year-old me talking to you. You are three years older than me! How dare you!

Joking aside, give 28-year-old me a good slap. For what I don’t know, but I’m sure I did something stupid in those 13 years. (Knowing me I forgot I wrote it so take a picture of my surprised look I’m counting on you).

I would have taught you the basics of what you need to know by now, so just don’t fall for a jerk that won’t treasure you. If he doesn’t treat you right leave him and find someone better. There are always better guys out there. Or girls. You know what, find someone that makes you happy. I don’t care who as long as you're smiling with your whole heart. Just give them a warning that I’ll make their life miserable if they break your heart. I better be the first person you call when that happens ‘Code Blue’ for heartbreak and ‘Code White’ for abuse.

I just told you that and you laughed at me! How dare you laugh at my genius! So I got bored and looked at the codes in the hospital okay! I memorized them. I’ll write that in your journal so you’ll remember. Every page. You got that! It’ll be our thing!

Call Brother:

Code Blue – my heart is broken!

Code Pink – He made me cry

Code White – HELP

Code Red – I’m mad I set something on fire

Code Black – I’m pregnant

Code Amber/Yellow – I’m lost

Code Brown – Lady talk Woman talk Periods and Sex I need advice

Code Grey – No lady things No tampons Store. Now.

Code Orange – I killed a man

Code Green – I burned down the house.

I stared at the codes I didn’t really know the real reason for Code Brown or Code Grey until now, it also didn’t occur to me that it worked both ways. I remember one time he was with his girlfriend, he seemed so happy then. When I asked him how happy he was he said ‘Pink and White’ with a smile on his face. I thought it was for something else so I just went ‘Eww’. How stupid of me, he was asking for help, he was being abused. When they had to leave, she was the one that made him leave early, he told me before he left ‘I love you, little Heartbeat and my love for you is as strong as your heart, go see your friends and grow happy.’ did he get in trouble for saying that to me?

My own Brother was in trouble and I didn’t even help. His friends caught on, they were the ones that helped him but why didn’t I catch on? Why? Brother, I’m sorry! I’m such a terrible sister!

“Princess? Are you good in here?” Dad came in with a gentle knock. “It’ll be okay,” he must have seen that I was in tears by now.

“Daddy, Code Blue...” I managed to get out before I started to sob again, Dad walked in sat down and hugged me tightly while I cried on his shoulder hugging the journal close.

“Shh, I know it hurts. He helped us out so much...” He paused, I guess he was trying to remember the code. “Princess, Code Yellow,” I felt something wet land on my cheek.

Not sure how long we stayed like that but when I woke up it was morning and the room felt lively again.

“Hey, Heartbeat! You must have had a nightmare but don’t worry I, your big hero brother, chased them away. But we are going to be late so get ready. Your room is safe.” I saw my Brother smile as he opened the curtains and move about his room. He then turned to me as he was walking out the door, “I love you, little Heartbeat and my love for you is as strong as your heart, go see your friends and grow happy.” then he vanished like smoke. I remember he had said that a week before he moved out. I don’t even remember the nightmare I had that night.

“Go see my friends? Grow happy?”

“Princess! Breakfast!” I heard my Dad call. I stood and walked to the bathroom to wash up, I looked like a mess. Puffy red eyes, red nose, dried tear streaks, messy hair, I can barely open my eyes.

“I don’t want to see my friends. I want to see you, Brother.”

“Princess, we have to leave soon to hear your brother’s will.” I walked down looking somewhat decent and into the kitchen with a small plate of food. I took a few bites and we were headed out.

“Scorpius Van Wolfe’s will reads as: ...To Heartbeat, my dear little sister, Melody Van Wolfe, whatever it is you want to keep you keep. For your schooling I’ve set aside $100,000 and for yourself $10,000 but only if you continue school or finish it whatever comes last. I’ve also talked to the post office and sent your birthday, Christmas and graduation gifts for 15 years through them... Live a good life, as I have. I love you.” The will reading was finished and it was just me and Dad as we walked out.

“My Brother made so much...” preparation for this. He really did know when he was going to...

“He paid for everything so we don’t have to worry, even now he’s still taking care of us. I always suspected that he was paying my bills only now he comes clean. He’s lived a good life and to even leave us the cabin by the beach.” Dad laughed after saying that, I’m not too sure if he was still in pain and trying to avoid it or if he still couldn’t believe that Brother was gone.

“I thought you owned that.” I wanted to distract him from it, anything to keep our minds off of it until later when we can be in peace without trying to harden ourselves.

“No,” Dad shook his head, “he just said that I did but he was the one that bought it. He told me it was for your Mom and my retirement home. She always wanted a beachside house. Hey, what do you say we go there for the summer?” I nodded a bit excited by the idea. Just drown ourselves in sorrow in peace until we are ready to go back to the real world.

June 22, 2022 21:14

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