This is a story I wrote for my Creative Writing class. Personally, I think it's one of my better works. Tell me what you think!


Andy Isn't Here


I was fifteen when my little brother Andy died. He was ten. He had been riding his bike home from the park after school.
Some crazy driver came around a corner too fast and hit him. He wasn't wearing a helmet.

When the police came, they told my mom that the helmet probably wouldn't have saved him anyway. They seemed to think that
this was a comfort to us. My mom stood there in the doorway, me hovering behind her, trying to act invisible. My eyes just
about popped out of my head when they asked her to come to the morgue and identify his body. Just like that. She went of
course. The only thing she said to me was, "Stay here, Jake."

For a while after they had gone, I stood there in the hallway looking at the front door. I still couldn't believe that my
little brother was dead. Sure, I used to tease him a lot but I still loved the kid. He could be a little pest but he was
full of life and energy all the time. It didn't seem possible that he wouldn't be around anymore.

When my mother came back, her face looked drawn and tired. She sat down heavily on the couch in the living room. I looked
at her expectantly. "Well," she said. And that was the last time she spoke for a whole year. Of course, I didn't know that
at the time.

I wasn't sure I wanted to ask her about Andy. So I sat there on the armrest and stared off into space. My mom did the same.
We sat there like that for a while, and then I began to get restless.

"Hey Mom, do you want some tea or something?"

She didn't say anything. Tears began to leak out of her eyes.

"Mom, are you ok?"

She still sat there silently crying. I was beginning to get weirded out. My mom was supposed to be the adult and make
decisions and be strong. I was just a kid. I didn't want the responsibilities involved with my brother's death. I didn't
even want to think about it.

I got up and went into the kitchen to make tea, for lack of anything better to do. I brought my mom a mug too, but it was
like she didn't see me at all. She just sat there, with tears falling down into her lap.

I was seriously scared by this time. All of it was a bit much for me to handle. I was considering calling my dad at work,
but a look at the clock told me he had already left. There was nothing to do but wait until he got home.

As soon as my dad walked in the door, he knew something was wrong. One look at my mom was all it took. She wasn't crying a
nymore, but she was still sitting in the same position on the couch, the untouched mug of tea in front of her.

"Sharon?"

My mom didn't move a muscle.

"Sharon what's wrong?" He looked at me. "Jakey, what's wrong with your mom?"

I winced inwardly. I had not been looking forward to this moment. "Andy's dead, Dad," I said. I didn't see any way to beat
around the bush. What was the point? Andy would still be dead.

"What?" he glanced at my mom, but she was still unmoving. "How?"

"He got hit by a car when he was riding home." I lowered my eyes to the floor.

My dad groped for a chair and sat down. He stared blindly at me. "Andy," he whispered. "God dammit!" He banged his fist
on the arm. "Did they catch the bastard?"

"I, I don't know," I said, surprised at his violence. "They probably told Mom."

My dad turned to my mom and took her shoulders gently. "Sharon," he said. "Please tell me what happened to Andy."

She mutely shook her head as tears began rolling down her face again.

"Sharon!" He jerked her back and forth. "Snap out of it!"

She moved limply in his grasp, like a rag doll. Her lips pressed stubbornly together. My dad gave up and turned to me. "Go
get me the number for the police station, and the phone."

"Ok."

As I walked out of the room my dad added, "Order a pizza first. I don't think your mother's in any shape to cook right now.
And frankly, neither am I."

The pizza came when my dad was still on the phone with the cops, trying to get somebody who knew what had happened. He
absently handed me his wallet and motioned for me to pay the delivery guy.

"All I want to know is who the officer on duty was!" my dad snapped. "Just transfer me to his desk please."

He waited a minute, listening to the person on the other end. "Yes, I am aware that my wife has already been to the
station."

I stood in the doorway to the living room, holding the pizzas indecisively.

"No, I can't just ask her. Can I talk to someone else?"

He waved me over as he cleared some space on the coffee table. "Can I talk to your supervisor? Thank you." Covering the
mouthpiece of the phone, he told me, "Go get some plates from the kitchen."

I took my time in the kitchen while my dad yelled at the supervisor. I stacked three plates, three forks and some napkins on
top of each other. I toyed with the idea of getting glasses too, but decided that would have to be another trip.

My dad was just finishing up leaving a message on the officer's machine when I set the glasses on the coffee table. My
mother wordlessly lifted all of them up and put coasters under them. We stared at her in surprise. It was the first time s
he had moved since she came home from identifying Andy's body.

My mind shied away from that topic. I mechanically took a piece of pizza and bit into it. Canadian bacon, Andy's favorite.
We ate in silence. None of us were very hungry. After three pieces, I pushed my plate away and leaned back in the chair.

"You don't have to go to school tomorrow, Jake," my dad said.

"I think I had better." I was surprised at how steady my voice sounded. I didn't feel steady at all.

"Just so you know you don't have to if you're not feeling up to it." My dad looked at Mom. "Maybe I'll take a few days off
work to help your mom out."

My mom stood up and started to clear the coffee table of pizza remains. The glare she shot my father said, "I don't need any
help."

I wanted to leave and get out of that room, this house. I wanted to run away from my parents and the awful truth of Andy.
Instead, I got up and went to my room. Then I shut the door and flopped on the bed. The whole afternoon still didn't seem
real. I didn't have a little brother any more.

I tried it out loud. "Andy's dead."

I was still trying to convince myself that it was true at the funeral. Sitting there in the church, listening to the
preacher talk about my little brother as if he had known him. I wanted to scream at God, "It's not fair! Why did you have
to take him away from us!" But I knew he wouldn't answer.

When we got home, I wanted to see Andy greet us. I wanted to see him bounce up and down in that excited kid way and then
drag me off to see something "really cool Jake!" But of course he wasn't there.

So I went to his room instead. It seemed so vitally Andy. I sat on his bed and looked at his walls covered with dinosaur
and space posters. I sifted through the toys in his toy box. I lay on his floor and gazed at the glow in the dark stars on
the ceiling. I surrounded myself with Andy so I would never forget him.

We had to get an answering machine because my mom wouldn't answer the phone. When I was home, I would do it for her. My dad
and I kind of got used to her not speaking. We got along, in our grief.

It was a week after the anniversary of Andy's death that it happened. I was sitting at my desk doing homework. My mom was
in the kitchen doing something, probably dinner. The phone rang. Immersed in a math problem, I absently reached over and
picked it up. Before I could open my mouth my mom said, "Hello?"

I sat there in shock. She spoke? She spoke!

The person on the other end said, "Hi Sharon. This is Katie Green. Tom's mother? We moved back East a few years ago, and
now we're back in town. Andy and Tom used to be such good friends, I was wondering if they could get together sometime."

"Andy isn't here," my mom said.