Late Night Excursions
A car door slammed and my eyes flew open. I glanced at the clock. Two-thirty in the morning.
Grabbing my crutches, I swung into the hall as quietly as I could.
Gravel crunched under car tires on the driveway, and the back door opened and closed.
I positioned myself in the hall so that no one could get past me. Or rather, no one could get past my crutches. I leaned against the wall, and held my crutches out. Bracing them between the bars on the railing at the top of the stairs, I waited.
Footsteps ascended the stairs. The hall was dark, but I was ready. Three nights in a row I had seen Brent sneak out and go for a drive in a strange car. Each time they had been gone for at least two hours.
I had told Dad and Mom, but they either didn’t believe me, or didn’t think it was a big deal, or maybe they just didn’t want to act worried. Whatever it was, they hadn’t said a word to me about it since I had told them. It was just too much. I was going to do something about it.
He wouldn’t get away with it for long. I was going to find out where he was going.
There was a grunt as he bumped into my crutch, and a fumbling in the dark.
I opened my mouth to speak when his flashlight clicked on and nearly blinded me.
“Put that down!” I groaned. “You’re blinding me.”
“What are you doing out here?” he asked, lowering the flashlight beam.
I leaned forward. “The better question is what are you doing out here?” I asked.
Brent shrugged. “Nothing much.”
“Nothing much?” I asked. “I wonder what Mom and Dad would say if they knew you were sneaking out in the middle of the night to go for drives with strangers.”
I was hoping to scare Brent into telling me the truth, but he didn’t seem to mind if I told Mom and Dad. He simply shrugged again.
“Don’t you get it?” I asked. “You’re going to be in trouble for sneaking out like this.”
Brent shook his head. “Mom and Dad know about it.”
I inhaled sharply. “They know you’re sneaking out in the middle of the night and they don’t care?”
Brent frowned. “They care. More than you know.”
“Who was driving that car, and where did they take you?” I asked.
It had been a year since Brent had become my brother. One long and glorious year. I didn’t think he knew anyone in the area well enough to sneak out at night with them. I knew he didn’t have any close friends outside of the family.
Brent reached out and un-propped my crutch. “Go to bed,” he whispered, and he headed down the hall. Pausing in front of the boys’ room he looked back at me. “Good-night, Amy. Don’t worry about it.”
I stood there like a stone pillar. Don’t worry about it? I thought. I most certainly will worry about it.
With nothing better to do I went back to bed, but couldn’t sleep.
Why had Brent been sneaking out at night? I knew he liked being a part of our family. I liked having him a part of my family, but I worried about him. Oh, he was healthier than he had ever been. His face wasn’t sickly, greyish-white any more. Instead, he was well tanned and healthy. His black hair was so thick you would never have guessed that only a year before he had been bald from chemo treatments. Yes, he was healthy and happy, but lately, he had seemed slightly distant.
It was strange. The last week, he had spent a lot of time by himself and he hadn’t been his normal self, yet he seemed happy. I slowly drifted off to sleep. We would sort this out in the morning...