When it was her brother’s turn, she would usually intervene, taking his beating too. And although learning a technique to displace herself during the incidents, immediately after was still a problem as she’d inspect her own body as to where these new bruises were to form.
This liquid, however, did make her mother happy at times. One time after polishing off a bottle, she stumbled into their room and dropped the bottle, and it smashed into micro scattered pieces.
“Thank God I was able to finish it before!” the mother exclaimed and threw her head back in laughter. “Come on! We’ll deal wissss dis later!”
She then took her children to a candy shop and bought them candy that lasted a few weeks. The wonderful colorful sweets brightened the children’s room for those weeks. And as they were consumed, though rationed, the color faded slowly with the miracle morsels, back to the moldy wooding, and soon the most powerful colors left in the room were the Sponge Bob sheets on the bed her and her brother shared. The potion worked good magic that time.
Maybe, if this was able to happen, she could risk all those times turning into a monster. It was almost like a magic potion it seemed, turning you into a good or evil character from a Disney movie. She didn’t want to turn into one of the villains.
But, that particular day, the throbbing of her newly afflicted wounds was unbearable.
So she tried some of it. Some kind of Tequila, Cuervo’s, she remembered the bottle said. The pungency of the concoction pierced her nose before the bottle even met her lips. And then, she quickly threw her head back, expecting instant magic.
It was awful, she spit it out. Her brother watched her do it. He watched a lot, and said nothing. He learned early to do that. It was best.
But sometimes just being there, even angered the mother. She didn’t have much hair, but pulled it back into a ponytail, tightly. It wasn’t really necessary. Because it looked like four pieces of grass, pasted on to one of those papier-mache models she made in school one day.
When she drank she cursed and tugged on that unnecessary ponytail. The girl didn’t know this word was a curse, until she dropped a pen in school and said “Fuck” and one of her classmates told the teacher. The teacher pulled her aside and asked her why she said that word. She explained. The teacher just nodded. And sent her back to her desk. She didn’t get in trouble or sent to the principal. But she now knew that word was bad.
“Did you want something to eat?” A plump white lady with a cigarette asked her and then eyed her brother. Her blue eyes were bloodshot and were as sharp as the green of the trees in this woodland against the gray sky. She slurred her words, just like her mother.
“I don’t know….” A younger version of the lady continued talking as if the two children weren’t even there. She had a lot of tattoos and piercings. “I don’t even want to come back here at all!”
“Well then you come every siss months like you always do, stho what? Who cares?” The older lady narrowed her eyes at the tattooed girl and then took a drag of her cigarette.
The smell of smoke irritated the girl. That was something she was glad her mother never took to. She would smell it throughout the neighborhood sometimes, if people on the street were smoking, or if there was a linger in the apartment building. It smelled as awful as the Cuervos tasted.