I’ve spent my night chilling out watching same-sex romance movies on Netflix.
There was no sleep for me. Graham had rolled onto his side and snored loudly. He breathes slowly and evenly and says, “Get the hell away from me, you meatsacks.”
“Graham? What meatsacks? Are they sacks of meat?”
Graham turns over and covers his face with a pillow.
He groans and take the pillow away. He yawns and rubs his eyes, blinking rapidly. “What exactly do you want, sparky?”
“Why did you ask the meatsacks to get away from you? What meatsacks?”
Graham grimaces and sits up, scratching his head. He yawns again and squints at me. He looks quite angry. “What the hell are you talking about?”
I replay his statement in his own voice. “What did you mean?”
He shakes his head and presses the pillow to his face, laughing softly. “Aaron, sometimes people talk in their sleep. It could possibly be what they’re dreaming about or just random shit. Do you get me?”
Through my confusion, I search the last phrase he uses. Slang for ‘do you understand what I said?’ I nod in response.
“May I go back to sleep now? I have a test tomorrow. Today. This morning. Just go away if you’re not gonna power down.”
I roam the house in the dark. Oliver snored. He’s bundled up in bed and sleeping peacefully, but he was snoring. Matthew and Annie were sleeping pressed together. Humans weren’t exactly nocturnal, but the adults did not go to their room for the night until 12:16, just after midnight. An hour later, there is nothing for me to do while the family slept. Nothing.
Photographs preserved memories and the Davis family are no strangers to this custom. Along the stairs hang major landmarks in their lives. Matthew and Annie’s wedding photo, Oliver as an infant. There’s a photo of the entire family standing in front of the house; it could have been the day they adopted Graham. I begin to wonder if I would be photographed and join those that were already hanging.
There was a pine tree in the living room. Traditions for Christmas and the month of December included baking, gift exchanges, holiday films, and decorating artificial or genuine pine trees, based solely on one’s preferences; the Davises had an artificial tree. They must have spent hours putting everything on it. I search for Christmas trees to compare, but every photo is different. I remember Leo teaching me about television. The Davises have a larger television than Leo’s, but I am drawn to the sofa. I sit through the programs and the advertisements.
“Why do you need this mop?” “You can get this for the low, low price of seventy-nine ninety-nine.” “Are you sure you didn’t have any drugs on you?”
Television before dawn is mindless and boring. I do not need a mop. I do not have seventy-nine ninety-nine to spend. I do not have any drugs on my person. After I skip through more channels, I am intrigued by a woman sitting at a desk in a school; she’s tapping a notebook with a pencil eraser.
I barely hear my name because I am tuned into the program I’m watching. The woman on the screen is joined by a man and they begin to get closer to each other.
“Aaron, come back upstairs.” Graham trudges down the steps and asks me what I’m watching.
“It’s a program about a woman in detention. Very fascinating. She’s waiting for her punishment.”
Graham glances at the television once the man and woman begin to disrobe. He takes the remote from me and presses buttons until he is back on the advertisement selling mops and then he turns the television off.
“I don’t understand why they were undressing. What is her punishment?”
Graham rubs his eyes in what seems to be disappointment. “Her punishment is the good stuff that they won’t show on TV. God, you would find porn.” He grabs my wrist and begins to drag me to the stairs.
“But what is the good stuff?”
With a change in tone, Graham says “the male reproductive organ.”
“Why wouldn’t they show it?”
“I dunno, Aaron. People who want to see it can find it on the internet. Can we stop talking about it?”
I follow Graham back to our room and sit down on my bed and I watch as he falls flat on his.
“I’m sorry I woke you, Graham.”
“Go to bed, Aaron. The longer I am awake, the more coffee I am going to want and the more that I’m going to want to reset you to factory settings. Now, please, shut up.”
Graham rolls over onto his side and tells me once more to stay quiet. I look over what had happened today before I shut down. Graham seemed apprehensive to me joining the Davis family, but I am not sure anymore.