Recordings of Gianna’s Family, Part Ten – Nancy (Final)

cancer stories

Short Story

November 8th, 2015. The Sorrentino’s Apartment.

[long pause]

Alright. I guess we’re doing this.

Why not? It’s been long enough.

[pause]

Kind of.

[pause]

I don’t know, there’s really not much to say. Ari’s been complaining a lot because she has to share a room with me. She already complains a decent amount, but it’s like, if you died and went to hell, your punishment would be rooming with me. This is because I go to bed at normal hours and don’t want her on her laptop keeping me up. Woe is Ari, she of the sunny disposition. That was a joke. She still looks angry all the time. She swears she’s not, though. I’ll take her word for it.

Whatever. It’s not that big of a deal. She has some friends over sometimes. It’s weird using the term “friends”, plural, but, there you go. Good for her. High school isn’t going too bad to her. I had no friends until sophomore year, so she’s doing better than me.

You know, I know eight years ago is a long time, but it feels like… sixteen, or twenty, or something. I’m 23, and I’ve already settled into a routine. Projects in the morning, work at night, manage the two stooges in the afternoon. I feel kinda old. Not, like, senior-citizen old, but you know, uh… forty-something. Forty-something old is about right, I guess.

[door opens]

“This is the place. The casa. Hey.”

Hey… hey, Darcy.

“Hi, Nancy.”

“What are you doing?”

Talking to the computer again. Figured why not.

“Oh. Nice. Don’t worry, we just needed to pick up my good shoes. There’s a bonfire tonight, so-“

“Which one’s your room?”

“That one.”

“Neato. I’m sneaking in.”

“Well you can’t sneak in if we can see you.”

“Whatevs.”

[quietly] You two…?

[quietly] “No, we’re friends.” [pause] “Nancy, I can be friends with an ex. It’s not rocket science.”

[door opens] “It looks the exact same as your old room.”

“It’s smaller. They share a room because I’m a boy and I’m icky.”

“Really?”

Yeah. Ari isn’t a fan.

“Not gonna lie, I had to share a room when I was her age. I feel her pain.”

“She doesn’t feel pain. She’s Ari.”

I’ll let her know you said that.

“Please do.”

[door opens]

“Bye, Nancy.”

See ya, Darcy. Have fun burning stuff.

“We’ll leave you leftover S’mores!”

[door closes]

[pause]

They didn’t scream at each other. That’s nice. And I get their leftover s’mores! Yay!

Anyway, where was I? Stupid teens. Um… right! Yeah. Like I said, work’s fine. I don’t love it, but I, uh… I enjoy it. I can see myself doing it for now, at least. Save up for a couple of years. Pursue a degree that’s not art so I can get a job that supports my art. It’s weird, 11 months ago I would have considered that a nightmare. Now it’s ideal. I got a beeswax sculpture I’m working on… I really like it. This guy doing a show really likes it. Someone does, that’s all that matters.

I actually had the day off, and visited Kelly and all them… they did not change. At all. It was kind of depressing. I know my mom died, and that has an affect on you, but like… you’re growing up. You spent a whole year outside of school just smoking weed and bitching about your life. I told them I’m assistant manager at the diner now, which means I have money and benefits and exposure to actual human life, and… you know, it was kind of like when Mom died. Everyone reacted to it like some big tragedy happened. And, you know, that’s ok with a death in the family. But… dude, I got a better job. Come on. Really? [sighs] I don’t know. People. Some people, really, not all people.

I haven’t even taken out Mom’s old computer since she passed. I don’t even know why. I just talked to Aunt Stacy a lot more. I think we’re BF’s now. It’s weird. I’m kind of like her babysitter and her life pupil at the same time. Must be how Mom felt.

[pause]

She had this message for us on there. I didn’t show it to Ari or Vinny yet, it was pretty intense. Um… she basically felt that she came off as this drill-sergeant super-mom to us, and, um… she thought there was a side that we never saw of her. And… I guess we never saw it directly, but I think she forgot how much kids pick up on. Just, like, in the car while the parents are talking up front. Or Aunt Stacy. Sometimes you can hear her talking to dad through the wall. Catch her watching something stupid on television.

I don’t know about my brother or sister, but she was never this enigmatic superwoman to me. She was just my mom. Pretty simple.

[pause]

The only time I really stop thinking about her is when I’m home. It was like this with Dad. It’s like, I go to work, and I imagine me doing a bunch of things with them, or me talking to their ghosts or something like that, and they’re in my head while I’m taking complaints. But when I’m home, time to let the mind wander, I go straight to my problems. What are my siblings gonna do? What happens if I get in an accident? What do I even wanna do once I get to college? I’m not gonna answer those any time soon. I know that.

Still. I still think I’m gonna be alright. I don’t plan to have kids, but if I did, um… I’d have wanted them to meet their grandparents. That’s really it. That’s the one thing I’d really change. Everything else is stuff I can handle. Even if it sucks. Apparently we’re better than that. As of last night, that’s the last thing my mom ever said to me, so I’ll take her word for it.

End Recording.

previous chapter: Recordings of Gianna’s Family, Part Nine – Gianna

all chapters: Recordings of Gianna’s Family

more by CHRISTIAN DEANGELIS

photograph by Daria Nepriakhina

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Christian DeAngelis

Renegade extraordinaire. Only by nights, though. And only on Tuesdays.

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