You're almost five years old the first time you feel the ground shattering beneath your little feet. Not young enough to be able to forget as time passes on, not old enough to really understand why or how. What you do understand though, is that suddenly someone or something – as your dad says these days – has stolen away your blanket of comfort and everything is falling apart one way or another.
There's so much noise and colour and strange smells and people; faces you mix up, one face you feel you don't see much of and an other you've lost and desperately want back. There is the colour yellow now in your dreams and smoke and noises and you remember your daddy saying that you shouldn't cry, that you're a big boy now, but lately he isn't around enough to tell you so and you pretend you forget and cry anyway.
You're almost five the first time you are introduced to the word 'chaos' and although you don't really understand what it means, you can take a pretty good guess and you desperately try to hang on because everything is spinning out of control and amongst this abyss of confusion and fear and loss there is only one thing that is keeping you still the same, that is keeping you you. It's just the smallest bundle of flesh and dimples, big eyes and tiny fingers curled around your own small hand and three words that were never even needed.
"Watch for Sammy."
You're nine years old the first time you feel scared to death and you wish that maybe it would have been better if you'd stayed five years old forever. At least then you could still be ignorant and maybe you could still cry without being told off.
Your dad leaves your brother to Uncle Bobby and takes you for your first hunt. You don't do anything, just sit in the car because he says that you still don't know enough and you have to keep safe and just watch so you learn, but still, it's the scariest experience of your short life so far.
It's nothing like the things dad explained about, it's nothing like the things Uncle Bobby taught you about and it's nothing like the stories Pastor Jim told you. It's all these together and worse.
Later your dad tells you that it was nothing serious, just an ordinary exorcism and there are still worse things out there, but you are not sure if you agree to that. You keep these thoughts to yourself and put on your determined face, the one that makes dad proud and look at you, really look at you and smile.
You keep that face all through the fifteen minutes of learning how to use a gun for the first time. Your head hurts because it's just too loud and you didn't expect it, even though you've watched plenty of tv shows, but nothing prepares you for the terrible sound ringing in your ears and the almost unbearable pain in your arm. You imagine that same gun in Sam's tiny hands and a shiver runs through you and then you decide to ask dad for lessons as often as possible, so you can become better; so Sammy won't have to learn ever; so you're good enough for the both of you.
You're almost thirteen when you realise there was a fear you had never known before, and you were pretty sure there was nothing you would ever be afraid of knowing the things you do. It comes in the form of something so normal and natural, you're knocked off your feet when you realise it and understand that nothing can be done to fix the situation you're in.
Because Sammy and you having to go to different schools may be something casual for every other siblings in the country, but for you it's a situation, a serious one, too. Because who will watch over your little brother during day? Who will be there to make sure bullies don't treat him like they do with all the new kids? Who will be there to roll his eyes when he gets an A on some assignment?
Who will be there to smile at you at the halls?
You're almost fifteen when you first fall in love. And you're not sure if it hadn't been there all this time, all these years you've spent away from your first home, living in dingy motel after dingy motel, but now it's something you know for sure and if it had, in fact, been there all along, now at last it's stronger and deeper.
On October 27, 1993 your father gives you the keys to the Impala and takes you for your first driving lesson. As soon as you sit behind the wheel, you know. This car was made for you, because how could it not? You are perfect together; you feel comfortable and look cool and she purrs for you. When your dad says that apparently you are a natural at driving, you feel the need to mention that maybe it's not that, it's just that you were meant to drive just this car.
Your dad says he's just doing it for emergency situations, if you need to drive instead of him and you pretend to not know what he means. You pretend that that the gory images your mind comes up with are not really there and you simply keep driving, busking at the feel of your Impala (because in your mind, form now on, she will always be yours) under you, above you, around you. It feels as if owning a home.
You're sixteen the first time you fully doubt your father. You don't say a thing, keeping the rebelling thoughts to yourself, but it unsettles you how much you wish you could argue with him, fight him and make him see your point. But you say nothing, because what logic dictates you at the moment is that he is right.
But listening to logic doesn't calm your fear when Sammy accompanies you for the first time to a hunt. It doesn't do anything to make sure that he is not hurt, that he is not traumatized. All you want to do is persuade dad to leave Sam behind like you always do. The two of you are more than enough to take care of the job; your brother is not really needed. He doesn't have to know, he doesn't have to learn all these things.
But Sam has always been curious and he follows you around like a lost puppy and, even if you had somehow persuaded dad to leave him behind, you know that Sam would never agree now that he was given the chance to see what it's like when you go hunting.
You're barely seventeen when you loose your virginity. It's not something you have planned but it sure is something you've wanted and kept thinking about non-stop for the past year.
Her name is Lisa, she has dark curls falling over her shoulders, a pair of blue, blue eyes and a valley of soft creamy skin you can't seem to be able to stop touching. She's giggly and shy at first and you don't really know if it's a bad thing you're leaving town in a week, because honestly, you can't stand her voice when she talks and talks, seemingly with no end.
But she's pretty and willing and you feel like you've waited forever and it's over faster than you'd thought and it sure as hell is more awkward than you'd thought, but you don't care, because after, she whispers to your ear that her parents will be out tomorrow night and would you like to come over and watch a movie?
And you go, of course you do, only you're not interested in the movie at all, no matter how much she says she wants to watch it before…well, just before, because you only watch movies with Sammy and you're seventeen, you're horny and you need her and then you want to go back to Sam to really watch a movie with him. You never stop, not once, to ponder on the fact that you'd rather hurry back to your brother rather than stay with her. It's just the way things are.
You're nineteen when the air you breathe is suddenly tasting different, the ground you walk on is once again shaking and you feel that out of the blue the whole world is shaking.
It's the first time you're caught in a position you never wanted to be, you never asked to be, but as it turns out this is just the first of many, many times to come.
You stand between your father and brother as they shout, really shout at each other and it's been going on for so long that you don't even remember why they're fighting in the first place; you're pretty sure they don't either. Your head aches so much from screaming from the inside, wanting them to just stop already and your hands shake with the effort to stay still, to be the reasonable one as what's left of your family is breaking your heart.
You think to yourself that Sammy is just a teenager, that it's the hormones acting out, built up tension expressing itself. You think to yourself that dad is just tired from the hunt he came back from only this morning and the two beers he's had don't help much.
You think many things to yourself…that is, until the shouting and the fights become an every day routine and you pretend you get used to them, that after some time they've stopped breaking your heart.
You are twenty years old the first time you cry in a very long while - almost nine years. Tears have run down your face plenty of times, but you've never really cried - sobs escaping you, choking you and snot running from your nose – since you were eleven.
You're twenty and you think you'll die, the hands holding Sam's broken body trembling and trying to find a place to hold on to that isn't bruised or torn apart or slippery. You breathe through your mouth because you refuse to acknowledge the smell of blood –Sammy's blood, Jesus - and your eyes are locked to your brother's trying to hold his glazed gaze, trying to pretend that his face is only a rosy pink and the red is just an illusion.
Your clothes are wet and you don't want to know what's soaking them because you don't feel hurt except for your head that hurts like a bitch and that's probably why you have no control over your voice, over your mouth, words and pleas and curses falling out uncontrollable.
You feel sick, but you don't tell your dad to pull over - there's no time - and more curses fly out of your mouth and amongst all the stupid, incoherent swearing, there's one thing that makes it past your panicked brain.
"Sam, be okay, please, Sammy, Sammy, Sammy…"
You're twenty-one when you realise that you're going to Hell, full ride. Strangely enough you don't believe in Heaven, so you don't know where good people are going. Maybe they just disappear, their souls rested and in peace. Actually, they could be going to Krypton along with Mickey Mouse, for all you care. As far as you are concerned there's only one place for your soul and that place is Hell.
If the stealing, lying, trespassing and killing hadn't given you a clue, finding yourself jerking off to images of hazel eyes, brown locks and a pair of surprisingly lickable dimples has sealed the deal.
The fact that you vomit right after and two days later you throw yourself at a wendigo in a more than simply reckless move, doesn't make you feel any better. Not touching yourself for weeks and relying on cold showers or very willing waitresses - that are never brunettes - doesn't help matters at all either.
You're going to Hell and what surprises you the most is not how scared you are, because you are not; you're young and reckless and overall too confident for your own good to be afraid of dying. What freaks you out the most is how much you don't really care, how much you actually let yourself sometimes after a while to enjoy the fantasies and indulge in the rare moments of closeness with your brother.
You'd rather cut your own arm off, or maybe other more vital parts for your age, before you let anyone in your sick mind's thoughts or let this situation affect in any way your family, but that doesn't mean you can change the way you feel, because now you fucking feel things, or the fact that you ultimately are going to Hell.
You're twenty-two when the world around you collapses once again and you wish there was something to hold you, ground you, keep you sane, but you realize that this time you only got yourself. You're big and strong now, or at least that's what you say to yourself and you almost believe it for a short while.
But then, three months have passed and you've only talked to Sam (now it's Sam, never Sammy, not any more) once when he called you to give you his new address and his new number and you know that you've been lying to yourself.
You live every day with the memory of the fight, with the bitter taste of betrayal, with the sick feeling of loss. Words you can't seem to forget, others you wish you'd remember and others you wish you'd have said.
You had never felt as shocked as when Sam had thrown the big fat envelop in front of you and your dad. You had never believed Sam was that miserable with the way you lived. Sure, it never was his dream life - hell, it never has been your dream life - but you feel like there's so much more to it than simply the dangers of hunting.
You don't have much, but sometimes it feels as though you own the world. You got the strongest dad anyone has ever had, a great friend in Pastor Jim, your baby – the Impala, freedom, moments of great high during hunts and Sam; the most amazing, geeky, smart, fun, awkward, adorable, precious little brother in the whole wide universe.
But apparently Sam could never see these things. Maybe he could but they weren't enough. Maybe you weren't enough, at least not important enough for Sam to stick around or keep in contact.
When he said he was leaving you didn't expect your dad to act the way he did. You expected the fight but telling Sam to never come back…that may have been a bit too much. But what pierced right through your heart, what filled you with the most overwhelming disappointment was the fact that your brother seemed only too happy to be done with this family; that he didn't even glance your way when he shrieked 'fine' and stormed outside; that he never apologised or looked remotely sorry; that he actually looked expectantly at you later as if waiting for you to apologise for something or maybe ask him, beg him to stay.
But you stayed quiet; like you always do. Because how can you choose between your father and brother? You never could and you never will probably. Sometimes you think that maybe you are a coward - never taking sides, never offering your opinion during a fight. You are not an idiot, though. It wouldn't do any good and you know it. Neither would listen, they're both too stubborn and self-opinionated to let anyone interfere. No matter how much you try to be like your father, you're more like your mother in character.
Now, you think that the world has shrunk around you, you feel suffocated half the time and you panic at the thought that hunting with dad is nothing like hunting with Sam around.
You have no one to protect or watch out for; the responsibility of taking care of Sam was the one thing that kept your feet on the ground. Without your brother you're being reckless with no reason and you have no one to listen to your lame jokes and answer back, to make hunting - and life - that little bit more fun.
You often lay in your bed wondering if Sam is thinking about you, dad, the hunts, the motels and the Impala. You wonder if he's lonely or if he's scared. You wonder if he's happy and if he's fitting in. You wonder a lot of things but you fear the answers and you decide that you don't really want to know, just in case; you don't think you could take much more.
You're twenty-two when you realize that you are in love with your brother – probably have always been - and you'd give anything, anything to have him back by your side where you can feel his warmth, listen to his breaths, hear his voice, touch him during playful fights, watch him as he sleeps. Feel him and know he's there; happy, loved, protected, never alone; your brother.
The End (for now)