They are here. The twins, Kris and Maya, and their father: the fabled Man with the Pig’s Heart. His real name is Albert. It’s almost too generic.
Maria forced me to show the twins the house, the garden and the block, while Felicia hovered about us, putting broken toys in our path, running around our legs, looking up at the new faces she probably recognized, or maybe not.
The twins didn’t say much. Me neither, just stuff like, “The kitchen, as you can tell” and “The living room”, and “Fela’s room, you’ll be sleeping here, Maya”, and “My room, there’s your mattress, Kris”, and “The garden, and the Igloo, we call it that because it looks like one”, and so on. Together, we embodied that awkwardness grown-ups inflict on you, when they force you to be nice, listen to what they’re saying, and play with your new friends.
Maya took Felicia’s hand when I showed them around the block. Mostly I think it was to stop her from running out in the open street, but I didn’t like it. Felicia got all calm, and looked up to Maya, and started talking real low, like she did when she told you a secret. Like she spoke when she told me mom’s been cheating, several years back. Most people would say she’s a kid, Felicia, she doesn’t know what to say and what to keep to herself, but I think it’s more than that: I think she knows what she’s doing, I think she’s probing, seeing what reactions she get. On the street, I worried she’d tell Maya about my sleepwalking.
Then Kris walked up beside me, and said, without any pretext, “We’re not happy to be here. We’re only here because of bullshit legal issues. We’ll be going soon, don’t you worry. I snore. Hope you can deal with that, until then. Otherwise, sorry you.”
Then he turned back towards the house. I stopped walking. Maya smiled this smooth, soothing smile, slightly cocking her head. Sorry, that’s the way he is, her smile said.
Back home, my parents and Albert, dressed in a suit, his hair reflecting the sunlight through the window, sat at the furthest end of the kitchen table. They spoke low, furtively, like they too had secrets going on.
I might be paranoid.
That night, and every night the last few days, I’ve been sleeping at a friends place. At home, I packed my bag, waited until mom went to the bathroom, and then I dropped by dad’s office, saying I’m going to see a friend. Then I left before he had a chance to object. At this time, Albert and the twins were in the Igloo, and they had been there for probably two hours, not a word or sound.
Contrary to popular belief, completely platonic relationship between people whose respective genders and sexualities happen to align, is possible. I’m staying with a classmate, Amanda, one year older than me, one of those self-made people my parents oh so wish I’d become: someone who pays for their own school, studies independently on their own, pays their own bills, have their own place, go out on the weekends, etc. She’s a bit infuriating, in that regard, but she doesn’t brag, or look down on anyone, for any reason. For her, what is, just is. She’s good with advice.
“What should I do about the sleepwalking situation?” I asked her.
Not all my friends know about my sleepwalking. I choose to only tell the people I truly care about. Victor doesn’t know.
Amanda counted my options:
- Get on medication again and hope it helps. To which I said no way, no way, not letting my brain decay into oatmeal… and those worms. I’ve told Amanda about that, too.
- Talk to my parents about it and see if they can house Kris somewhere else, which I’m not even going to try, since it will inevitably lead to possibility one: they will force me.
- Just go with it, leave the door unlocked, not say a word to Kris, and see what happens. This is possible, but I fear I will leave the room, walk around, and if seen… it would force me to do 2), which would lead to 1).
- Lock the door as usual, after Kris falls asleep, and hope I wake up before him, and that he doesn’t notice me walking around the room at night. This is a stupid idea. That I said, and Amanda just smiled, and told me, “It’s an idea.” But it is a stupid idea. Either Kris would wake up for a toilet visit, and find the door locked, which would incline him to wake me up, and force me to talk to him, or, me walking around would wake him up, and either he freaks out and tells my parents, or forces me to tell him what the fuck is going on. I said all this, and Amanda smiled, and said, “That leaves us to 5).
- Tell Kris about my sleepwalking. Explain why I like to keep my door locked, and why I like to keep it secret. Trust him, and make sure he understands I’ve decided to trust him with this. People like to be trusted, it makes them feel special. Let him have the screwdriver. Amanda said this.
Option five is the only possible option, it seems. This, or stay at Amanda’s place forever, to which she laughed, and tapped my head in a somehow not condescending way, and then she lay down in her bed, saying, “Sleepy time.”
I’m scared. I can’t sleep. That’s the sixth option, I guess: never go to sleep again. It’s sunday night, and tomorrow it’s school again, and I’ll be forced to return home. And not only that, but explain why I haven’t returned Maries calls, why I’ve been so rude to our new guests, and why I have made my parents look like fools in front of such a respectable person as The Man with the Pig’s Heart.