The Adult.

I opened the door and walked into the darkness. It was Friday. Mum and Dad had go away for a weekend so we were at my Aunt’s house. Aunt Holly and I get on really well. I can talk to her about anything without feeling like a dork. But just in the last few weeks, Aunty Holly hasn’t been herself. “Jethro.. he’s really done it this time. The bastard..” Mum had said. What he’d done exactly I wasn’t sure but Jethro has never been good news. That’s something I don’t get. Way she sticks around. He doesn’t make her happy. Why can’t Mum tell him to piss off? “Things don’t work like that Ella. Holly is an adult. I’ll do whatever I can to help but it’s up to her.”

The darkness in the cottage took my eyes a while to adjust too. It smelt of jasmine and damp wood. Through the hallway I saw a faint figure. It was Holly. At first I thought she was dancing. But there was no music playing. Then I froze. Holly wasn’t dancing; she was staggering. She looked like a rag doll being pulled and pushed by some invisible cords. It was too hard for her to even stand up straight. The noise of her body crashing into the bench made me close my eyes and wince. Her small frame then bounced into the pantry door. “Holly what’s wrong with you?” I breathed. “Too many pills, that’s all.. I just thought I’d go away for a while…just to leave from it all..” Her voice husky and cracked. Eyes half shut and her head rolling around uncontrollably. Her face looked old and waxy with cold sweat glinting on her brow. Mangled hair looked as if it was trying to escape. He eyes small, red and swollen. Makeup smeared all over her face. I felt as if I was looking at an actor, fake tears, stage makeup.

This wasn’t meant to happen. Holly was my aunty, my friend, an adult. Now she was a mess. Pills?! What the hell is wrong with her? She’s meant to be taking care of us! God, I’m meant to be the unstable one.

On the way to her bedroom she stumbled and muttered a lot of things. I couldn’t understand what but I didn’t care what she was saying. I dropped her on the bed and her breathing settled. My eyes narrowed and my teeth clinched. She’s meant to be the one telling me drugs are dangerous. Then I remembered Evie. “Where’s Evie?!” I shook her shoulder and her whole body rolled around. Nothing I could understand. She’d forgotten to pick Evie up. 4.30, fuck!!!!

Evie was sitting in the gutter paddling her feet in the dirty water. She’d been crying. She was soaked and shivering. “I’m cold! Where’s Holly?” Evie whined through chattering teeth. “I’m sorry I’m late Evie, Holly isn’t well, she’s us to take care of her.” A cold little hand slipped into mine. “OK”.