He stood in the middle of Claire's room having opened the window a little. He understood why she was gone. Sort of. She was special. Dad had sent her away to keep her safe. He never gave much thought to the fact he might miss her. She was his big sister. She was annoying. She took too long in the bathroom, hogged the phone, was pretty enough and not conceited about it that his friends crushed on her (which sucked because were they friends with him because of him or to see her!), and seemed oblivious to anything that didn't affect her directly.
He'd always thought their dad loved her more. It wasn't until recently he realized that wasn't it. She needed protection where Lyle didn't. He'd always wondered why she was adopted and he wasn't. He'd seen on Oprah and other shows that parents had adopted because they couldn't have kids of their own. Then wham, all of the sudden they have their own. He'd always assumed that was what had happened with the Bennet's. Though he really didn't like to think about his parents trying to have any kids, even him. Because, well, they were his parents, and that was just creepy to think of.
He wondered why his dad had left their memories this time. He knew now it was his dad who was responsible for his lapses in memory. He was kind of glad that was all it was. He'd been scared there was something wrong with him. When his mom had to go the hospital, he'd thought that was how he'd end up, too. That had kept him up a night or two.
His eyes scanned the room, her room. Now that she was gone he realized how much she'd added to the house. Without her there wasn't the same kind of energy. And he was a major freak for thinking like that.
He lay on the bed, staring at the ceiling. He remembered coming here a night or two when he was little. He didn't want to bother his parents, didn't want them to know he'd gotten scared. She'd always taken him in, comforted him. She never said anything either. The next morning she acted as if it had never happened. And to Lyle that was the coolest thing ever. His mom would have overreacted.
Lying there, he wondered if he'd ever see her again. Or even just hear from her again. Somehow he doubted it. At least not for a while. If their dad sent her away like he did, there was something wrong. His dad could do anything as far as Lyle was concerned, so if this was out of his dad's league then it was bad news. The people who had come here today, they were looking for Claire. They must not have realized Lyle was here, because they didn't bother looking for him. Not that he knew anything to tell them anyway. He hadn't even gotten to say goodbye to Claire.
He wiped away a tear that had fallen when he heard the sound of wind chimes in the window. He turned to look at them, watching and listening as the wind used them to make music. She'd liked them. He wasn't sure why. They didn't seem like something she would like, but she'd bought them recently. He stood from the bed, wishing away the rest of the tears and walked to the window.
He removed the chimes from their spot at her window. He'd put them in his window. She wouldn't want them to sit in her room unused. And there was nothing else really in her room he'd want. It was all girl stuff. Carefully, he carried them out of her room, closing the door behind him with one last glance at her empty room. It seemed so strange, so unlived in, so un-Claire like.
"I'll take care of them for you," he whispered.
Story ©Susan Falk/APCKRFAN/PhantomRoses.com