The Pact

We hadn’t talked in a while. Mom was helping me move and you were down south. I wasn’t sure what you were doing. Grandpa died and mom was acting like everything was fine. She ordered bread and butter and I asked to be excused from the table. We were waiting for a guy I was seeing, it was his birthday and he didn’t have other plans. He was coming to meet us for dinner.

I called you in the lobby, the movie theater that in the coming months I would frequent alone on Saturday nights above me, and asked if you knew that Grandpa died and you said no, no one told you, but who would have told you anyway, no one tells you anything. No one tells me anything I say trying to make it better and then you say “No one tells us anything.” You’re so far away and it’s loud in the lobby but I ask you to make a pact with me that we will tell each other everything and you agree, you say we will never become like them, and I agree.

In a little over a year when I’m back down south I will be high as a Georgia pine and call you from a coworker’s house, a guy I’m sleeping with, and tell you that mom has lupus and that she wasn’t planning on telling you but I wanted to remain true to the pact. You’re high too but I can’t tell. This is when I think you’re the one who’s doing well. I can hear you clearly though because we’re in the same state. We’re in the same state and when things get bad, not now, but when they get so bad I can’t sleep at night or think I’ve taken too much of something, I often want to drive down to see you and stay for a night or a week and just be with you because you’re my brother and I’m your sister.

When our other grandpa died you got to go to the funeral and I stayed at a friend’s house and played Twister. I was sad that day because I couldn’t get my body to touch more than two colors at once. I was too small and the colors were too far apart for me. I kept falling and wondering when you and mom and dad were coming to get me. Whoever’s house I was at had a bowl of Hershey’s Kisses on the kitchen counter and I put one in my pocket for later so I could have something sweet to look forward to.

Brittany Ackerman is a recent graduate of Florida Atlantic University’s MFA program in creative writing. She is currently a high school English teacher and encourages her students to read. This, however, did not work so she actually reads to them once a week and as they listen, they often drift away to other places in their minds and imagine the stories she shares with them until the bell halts their journeys. More of her work can be found at

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