Garden Party

My eighteenth birthday party was awesome. The guys came over and we played football in the park, until Dad called us in for the BBQ. To make it even better, Dad marinated the burgers in beer, and then let us drink. Who cares if you’re a minor, Dad said, you are a man in my books.

The girls from class dropped by right before cake. They brought me a little present, something to let them know they appreciated me as the star quarter back of the high school team.

The night was perfect. Not much more that I could have asked for. Good friends, good food, good beer. A good night for sure. Then my parents called me into the living room.

I was sure I was going to be getting a car. That’s what my elder brother got for his 18th birthday. It wasn’t a great car, but it was still a car. I grabbed by seat across from the two of them on the couch. Dad asked if I had a good day, to which I responded I had.

“Good,” he replied, with a frog in his throat. Something was wrong. “Alex,” he said,”I think it’s time we talked about your scar. The scar you have on your left side.”

My hand automatically moved to my chest. What were they taking about?

“I got cut on a window when Charles and I were climbing into the old Baxter house.”

Dad let out a sigh. Mom’s head was still hanging low. She hadn’t looked at me since I sat down.

“No, you didn’t Alex. You never went to the Baxter house. That’s what we told you when you were little because we didn’t want you to know what really happened.”

I leaned back. I had been told that story since I was 5. Had my parents actually lied to me?

“No, I remember going there with Charles. We climbed in and then”

Mom interrupted with tears, “No. that’s not what happened.”

I was taken aback, as was Dad. Mom was emotional, but she never burst out in tears like this. And with such volume. She would cry in a chick flick, but I had never seen her react like this.

“You never went to that old building. You got your scar from somewhere else.”

“Where Mom?”

There was more uncontrolled tears. Dad put his arm around her, but looked up at me. There was so much pain in his face. What had happened to me?

“Where Mom, where did I get this scar?”

I pulled up my shirt so that they could both see it. I wasn’t sure why I did. They didn’t need to see it to know it was there. My parents were there for every major event in my life. They knew where it was. But what could have happened that I didn’t remember but caused them so much hurt?

Mom kept crying, but Dad answered, “From your brother. You had a twin brother, Alex.”

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