Recordings of Gianna’s Family: Part Three – Nancy

short story about family problems

Short Story

February 2nd, 2015. Hospital bedroom.

[nothing]

I’m fucking tired of this.

Who goes through this? We’re like the fucking Kennedy’s of Essex County, we keep dying and it’s a side show f-

“Honey… Honey, what are you doing?”

I’m venting. Is that ok?

“Can you vent outside?”

Yeah. Sorry. Do you need me to get the nurse?

“No, hon. Just-“

End Recording.

February 2nd, 2015. Hallway.

So my mom’s in here with pneumonia. Her immune system is shot, apparently she could have died. I remember when I had pneumonia. I stay home and watched cartoons all day. This shouldn’t drag my mom, of all people, into the hospital.

Oh. And all these flowers? There were, like, one, two- six things of flowers sent to us. What do you do with flowers? They just sit in a vase and do nothing. It’s like… if you don’t have anything to actually give someone, you send flowers.

Well, some of them are kind of nice. I think- oh. Well, fuck that. These are from Mr. Creighton. He was at our New Year’s party and started literally critiquing the chemo process Mom was under. He’s an ass. Obviously. Whatever. My mom likes them. That counts for something.

I know the cancer’s receding, but I think she’s getting worse. I mean, Dad went into recession twice, so I’m not really celebrating. And, again, pneumonia, like… shouldn’t send you to the hospital.

[10 seconds of nothing]

I told her I loved Dad more. I- oh, jesus. I apologized, and that still just gets at me, like… every day right now. I just never got along with her, we always fought. And I missed dad, and mom was in chemo, and…

She always tries to have a pleasant conversation with me. We always end up fighting. Even when she gave me the puberty talk, it felt like a fight. [laughs] She was like, “Nancy, you’re gonna get body hair”, and I was like “Well good. I want body hair”. I don’t know why that’s funny, but like… it’s like something out of a shitty movie or something.

And, like, whenever Dad told me stuff, I felt better. Even when he caught me sneaking out and yelled at me, it felt like… “ok, I know what to do now. I’ll listen to him”. When Mom did it, she would say the same stuff, but she sounds stressed about everything. It was like she was bothering me to do my homework. It still feels like that, even with cancer.

At least Vinny has a job. Some comic store. I went in there and these two people were talking really loudly about why they didn’t like new X-Men movie. Obviously, I left as quickly as possible, but Vinny? Shit, he starts a whole discussion with them. I just wanted to pick him up and go, but they wouldn’t shut up about how much Cyclops sucks.

Oh, and he’s got a girlfriend, now? It’s really funny. Like… oh, my god. He’s seen so many movies about a nerd who likes some girl but she’s dating a jock who’s an asshole for no reason, and the nerd is friend-zoned, or whatever? So when one of my college-aged friends talks to her, he gets this look in his eye. He’s like a lost puppy. Probably shouldn’t watch too many shitty movies. Watch more Buffy. Works for me.

Doing better than my sister, at least. She- [sighs] my blood’s gonna boil as I’m saying this. Ok. She’s turning into an asshole. It worries me. A lot.

Like, Ari’s pretty much a queen bee in the making. She’s captain of the volleyball team, so… leadership mentality. You know. The volleyball team are the popular kids. I don’t get it. But hey, she was born in the early 2000’s. I wasn’t. Generational differences- the point is… I don’t like the word “cunt”. It’s offensive, and it’s rude, and- it’s just wrong. But my little sister- and I only use this word because we’re related- is a C. U. Niner. Tango. CUNT.

I am in the other room, paying our bills, and supporting this family emotionally since my mom has fucking pneumonia. I can hear what she and her friends are saying.

She goes off about making a twitter page for some girl. Red flags already. Then, Ari, my sister, suggests- oh, let’s make it about her sex life. Tweet a 14-year-old girl’s sex life. She deserves to be fucking slapped.

I had to remind her of that fucking love note I got… that was fucking fake and sent me into a depression for a month. I mean, I was over-dramatic in middle school, but I bet this girl is too, so- I fucking went off on them. I pulled Ari aside later and threatened to tell mom. She said she wasn’t going to do it, but I don’t believe her.

My mother doesn’t raise gossipy bitches. Makes sense she’s acting this way now.

But see, that’s the thing. Ari’s always been kind of mean, but she’s never this bad. I wanna tell myself that she wants attention. Get mom to stop focusing on the chemo and pay attention to her. Maybe that’s true, but… I don’t know. I just feel like this wouldn’t happen if mom wasn’t sick. And I can’t tell her what to do. Vinny’ll listen, he’s passive as fuck, but… I think I’m just realizing that, like… it’s just me now. Six months ago I was researching art schools, and now I’m stuck being the new Mom.

I just wish Dad was here. Just tell me I can do this. He doesn’t even have to be alive, just come back as a ghost or something. Tell me I can do this, then let me live my life. Be the Mom. Do something with all these flowers.

And I love everyone in my family equally. I’m not a sociopath.

End Recording.

next chapter: Recordings of Gianna’s Family: Part Four – Vinny

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

all chapters: Recordings of Gianna’s Family

more by CHRISTIAN DEANGELIS

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Christian DeAngelis

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

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