A Walk into the Unknown

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Family is a complicated thing. It’s something everyone defines in their own way. For most people it’s fairly simple; a mom, a dad, and maybe some siblings. For others it can be that person who lives with you but has no relation. For me it’s both simple and complicated. I have my dad and my brother. I’m the youngest, having just turned nineteen two months ago. My mom left when I was very young. I don’t remember much about her, only this lasting image on the day she left. She was wearing a brown cardigan and had large dark sunglasses. I didn’t know it at the time but looking back I realize she was hiding a black eye. She had a single small suitcase and there was a brown Volvo waiting by the mailbox. My brother and I were standing outside on the dirt driveway as we said our goodbyes, our dad somewhere in the house getting drunk (or drunker). She says something to my older brother that I either didn’t hear or can’t remember. The image I have that will always stick with me is when she came to me. She leaned down, her face only a couple inches from mine, her eyes visible through the sunglasses. They looked sad, reluctant. She didn’t say goodbye or give me any words of wisdom. The last thing she said was short and simple.

“Good luck.”

And with that, she turned and walked down the dirt driveway to the awaiting car. No goodbye kiss on the forehead or anything like that. Rog was crying next to me, as was I. I believe he called something out to her but I can’t remember for sure. Either way, she didn’t look back. She got in the car and drove off, not once looking back at us one final time.

Good luck.

What a thing to say. Is that something a mother says as a goodbye to her daughter? If not, is she really a mother? Like I said, family is a complicated thing. Our dad is an alcoholic. It’s probably the reason why our mom left. How many people’s dads are alcoholics? He can’t even give me an interesting story to tell. Boo hoo, my dad’s an alcoholic. Get in line Rachel!

So here I am, Rachel Morgan, nineteen years old, high school drop out, living at home for probably the rest of my life. Relationships have never really worked for me. I’ve had my fair share over the years. I lost my virginity when I was fourteen to an “older boy”. He was seventeen. My friends all called me a slut because they were a bunch of prudes and hadn’t even kissed a boy yet. Most of the relationships I’ve been in peter out after a couple of weeks. All guys want is sex, we all know that. Rog tells me that’s not true, I just hang out with assholes. That might also be true, a little light in both. Between my failed relationships and my hatred for my dad, I think the only man in this world I care for at all is my brother. Without a mom and a dad who’s barely coherent, Rog and I have been each other’s rock. Thank God for him. The two of us make sure all the bills are paid and the house is taken care of. Our dad gets a check every month from the military for an injury he suffered in Vietnam. It’s our only source of income, so thank God for that as well.

Rog is two years older than me, twenty-one. He hates it because now he can legally buy alcohol and our dad sends him on runs to the liquor store regularly. We know we shouldn’t help his addiction but he actually is less violent when he’s drunk. Still violent, just less. We tried that a long time ago, making him go cold-turkey. One of the biggest mistakes of our lives. But because of our dad, Rog won’t touch alcohol. He says he’s never had a drink in his life, but I know that’s a lie. Our dad made him take a drink of beer here and there over the years. Rog never liked it, but he did take the sip as he was ordered to do.

I do most of the cooking and cleaning. Were you expecting anything different? I’m the only girl in the house and our dad is a belligerent patriarch. In fact, on the off change Rog does do the dishes, our dad will call him a sissy and a faggot, telling him he’s doing a girl’s job. I don’t blame Rog for not doing the dishes anymore. Who would? I’m happy to do them and it’s not like he sits around doing nothing. Our dad has always been tough on him though. He’s a big guy and has always been bigger than me. My five foot eight and one-hundred and twelve pounds makes me look tiny compared to him, even though he’s only six foot. The problem was he was never into sports and our dad hated that. He tried to push him into football but Rog never had any interest, another reason our dad called him a sissy. He’s only ever brought a girl home twice. I wondered once if maybe he was gay but he’s never said anything to me. We have the kind of relationship where he would tell me if he was. We share everything with each other, there’s no way he would keep that from me. Rog is a quiet guy anyway, so sometimes it’s hard to tell if he’s keeping something secret or if he just has nothing to say. I know what it really is though, and it’s the same reason I don’t want to bring anyone home. We’re ashamed of our dad and afraid he’ll get belligerent in front of Amsterdam Shemale people.

We both work at a gas station that’s a couple of miles from the house. He pumps the gas and I work in the convenience store. Good ‘ol New Jersey, where no one is allowed to pump their own gas! Funny thing is we don’t even have a car, we ride our bikes to work. There’s something about working at a gas station that makes you realize how much of a money pit cars are. Plus the last thing we’d want is our dad to get behind the wheel. Not having one eliminates that option. The owner of the gas station is an old army buddy of our dad’s. He knows the situation we’re in so he’s happy to give us the work. Being able to work with Rog is a blessing. He keeps me sane.

I dropped out of high school when I was sixteen, the moment I was allowed to do it. I was failing anyway on an account of always having to leave school to fetch my dad from wherever he stumbled off to. Rog tried to take care of it as much as he could but it’s harder to leave a job than it is to leave school. Eventually some of my teachers were getting worried about me leaving so much. They were starting to pry into our business, asking how things are at home. The last thing we needed was for child services to come and take me away. Rog had just turned eighteen, so he would’ve had to stay with our dad. He would’ve had to live alone with him. It was safer to just drop out. Probably not the best decision of my life in retrospect, but what decision is? Perfect decisions are for the privileged and the clinically insane; neither of which I am.

I wake up to the sounds of birds chirping outside my window and the faint hum of a lawn mower in the distance. We don’t necessarily live in the suburbs. We’re kind of in the middle of nowhere for Jersey standards, considering how densely populated the state is. You go five feet in one direction and you’re in a trailer park, you go five feet in the other and you’re in a neighborhood with homes that cost half a million dollars. We don’t live in either of those places. We’re in the middle, in the nether region. A random house on a street with no other houses.

Today is the one day of the week Rog and I have off; Sunday, the Lord’s day. We’re not religious mind you. In fact the two of us have a real hatred for religion. However, our boss is a very devout born again Christian and thus keeps the gas station closed on Sundays. “If God took a break from making the world, you can take a break from pumping gas,” he always says. I’m not complaining, in fact I’m grateful. Winston, our boss, is actually a really great guy. We owe him a lot. He gave us a job when we needed it most and he’s very understanding of our situation.

If life were fair, he would be our father.

But in case you were wondering, life isn’t, so here I am. I can smell coffee wafting through the house, so I roll out of bed and make my way down the hall while rubbing the sleep out of my eyes. In the kitchen I find my dad reading the newspaper, a cup of coffee in front of him.

Is it just coffee or something else? The question you always have to ask of alcoholics.

“Where’s Rog?” I ask him.

He doesn’t look up from the paper, instead giving me a grunt and a shrug.

I pour myself a cup and lean back on the counter, facing my dad. I’ve always had black coffee. Growing up in a household without a responsible adult means simple things like milk are rarely available. As a kid, whenever we did have some it was always expired. I learned to enjoy coffee without adding to it.

My dad looks up from his newspaper and gives me an up-down with his eyes.

“What have I told you about walking around the house half naked?” He grunts.

I look down at myself, not really aware of what I’m wearing. I have on a pair of white and pink panties, my legs bare, and a short spaghetti string top that doesn’t quite make it to my waist.

“It’s hot,” I say.

“Then why are you drinking warm coffee?”

I don’t answer him. What does it matter what I’m wearing?

“Might as well walk around naked,” he says with a shake of his head.

“You’d like that, wouldn’t you?”

He shakes his head again. “Watch your mouth or I will make you walk around naked. Then we’ll see how smart you are.”

I decide to let it go. No need to start a fight first thing in the morning.

“Any plans today?” I ask, half joking, knowing full well he doesn’t. He never does.

“There’s a race today,” he says without looking at me.

Great, Nascar! My dad’s obsessed with it. He’ll drink himself into oblivion all day watching those stupid machines make left turns. He tried to get Rog and me into it over the years but we’ve never had any interest. At least I know he’ll stay in the house all day, babysat by the TV.

I wonder what Rog is up to?

“Have fun,” I say as I start to leave.

I walk to the living room but don’t find him there. Our house isn’t that big, so there Rotterdam Shemale aren’t many places to hide. I look down the hall and see the bathroom door open and the light off, so he’s not in there. I go to the front door and look through the window; he’s not on the lawn. Stepping outside I’m greeted by the scent of pollen and humidity. A typical July morning in Jersey. Although it does seem peaceful out here. I’ve always liked not having neighbors. For one, there’s no one to stick their noses in our business, but secondly it also means you can find peace and quiet, when certain people allow for it.

I notice the garage door is open. Maybe Rog went somewhere? Can’t be though because his bike is still here. Even if he was going to take the bus, he’d still ride his bike to the stop. However, the attic door is open, the old wooden ladder leading up to the space above the house is down.

What’s he doing in the attic?

I stand at the foot of the ladder listening for any noises. No one’s been up there in a long time, or at least I don’t think anyone has. Grabbing the sides of the ladder, I start to climb slowly, trying to keep the wines and protests of the old wood to a minimum. I want to see what he’s doing before he notices me. When I get to the top, I peek my head just through the opening. There’s a skin-tone dressing mannequin in the corner. It’s just a torso and a round block for the head. It’s dressed in a loose fitting black floral dress with orange flower petals and a sunhat on the nub-like head. I never knew we had one of these things. The clothes look old, straight out of the eighties. Rog is sitting on the ground, leaning back against a stack of boxes. A couple of them seem to be open, or at least have been opened and closed again. Rog is lazily gazing at the mannequin.

“Rog?” I call out, my head still only just peeking through through the opening.

He jumps and is on his feet before I even finish calling his name.

“What?! Rachel?! What are you doing up here?”

“Looking for you,” I say as I make my way into the attic.

“I’m just…hanging out, you know.” He sounds nervous.

I walk up to the mannequin and run my fingers along the dress. The smell of must wafts off the soft material the more I disturb it.

“I didn’t know we had one of these things,” I say, indicating the mannequin.

“Yeah, neither did I. Found it in one of the boxes.”

“All dressed like this?”

He doesn’t respond, so I turn to look at him. He’s looking down at his shoes, shuffling them back and forth on the dusty wood floor.

“What is it?” I ask.

“It’s mom’s.”

It takes me a moment to register but then I look past him at the open boxes. The cardboard is faded from the years of neglect but a few of them have the look of disturbance, the packing tape opened and done again. I look back at him.

“Why is this out here?”

He shrugs. “I wanted to look at it?”

“Why?”

“Dad never threw any of her stuff out. He just boxed it up and put it up here,” he says, his nerves starting to calm. “I came up here one day out of curiosity, just to see what was up here. When I saw all these boxes, I knew who’s they were.”

He stops for a minute, looking back at the mannequin.

“I just wanted to see her again,” he says.

I go to stand next to him and look at the form in front of us. I have a vague memory of her wearing this dress at some point in my life, or maybe I’m just making it up. I was five when she left, so there’s no way I can remember specific clothes she wore, but I swear, looking at this mannequin I remember this dress. I can tell we’re both trying to hold on to the blurry and fading memory of our mother.

“How come you never told me you come up here?” I ask, my head still on his shoulder.

“I don’t know. I thought you might think it was weird or something.”

“It is weird. Doesn’t mean I don’t want to do it too.”

We’re probably the only two people in the world who think about the woman who used to wear this dress.

“You know,” I say as I huff a faint laugh. “The dress is my size. I’m mom’s size. Isn’t that weird?”

“Yeah.”

Silence hangs in the air for a moment. Finally Rog breaks it.

“Try it on.”

“Shut up,” I say.

“No really, try it on. Let’s see if it fits.”

“I’m not going to try on mom’s old clothes.”

“Why not? It’s not like she’s coming back for them.”

He has a point. I consider the dress. Rog walks behind one of the boxes and I can hear wheels start to scrape the rough floor. When he emerges from behind the cardboard column, he’s pushing a full length mirror.

“Here you go,” he says.

I look at myself in the mirror and then back at the dress. Oh what the hell!

“Okay,” I say.

He smiles at that and takes his place back at the boxes to see. That’s when I remember I only have my pjs on; just a pair of panties and a top with no bra.

“I’m Netherlands Shemale not wearing anything under this,” I say.

He shrugs. “So?”

I give him a look.

“Oh come on Rach,” he wines. “Just get changed. I’m your brother for God’s sake.”

We stare at each other for a moment as I consider. I don’t really know why I even brought it up. It’s not like we’ve seen each other naked before but it’s not like I’m getting naked in front of a stranger. It’s Rog.

I lift my shirt over my head and drop it on the floor next to me. The air on my exposed nipples feels good. I take a deep breath in and push my chest out. I then slide the white and pink panties down and flip it back with my foot. Now that I’m fully naked, I glance over at Rog. His eyes don’t meet mine as they’re fixated on my body. I should put the dress on quickly but I feel a surge of energy through my body as I feel his eyes on me. I can’t seem to move and I don’t know why. Without thinking, I open my hips to him so he can get a full view of his sister’s body. I’m not sure why this suddenly excites me and then it hits me. I haven’t been naked in front of a man for a long time. It feels nice to have someone look at me like this again, even if it is my brother. He finally looks up into my eyes and we stare at each other for a moment. It’s like we’re sharing a secret but I’m only pretending I know what it is.

I finally snap back to my senses and turn toward the mannequin. I toss the sun hat aside so I can lift the dress off. I lift it over my head and slide it down, the soft material feeling like a warm embrace around my body. It doesn’t fall very far past my hips. Most of my thigh is still exposed and the chest has an opening revealing the space between my breasts. I turn back to Rog and strike a pose.

“How do I look?” I ask.

His eyebrows are raised and he nods his head. “You look great. Have a look yourself,” he says as he gestures to the mirror with his hand.

I walk over and stand in front of it. I look beautiful in this! At first I thought this was just some hideous eighties dress but now I’m in love with it. I stick my chest out and lift my chin up, one leg bent at the knee. I’ve never felt so beautiful before.

Rog comes up behind me and puts his hands on my shoulders.

“You look beautiful,” he says.

“Thank you,” I say, almost a whisper.

He leans down and takes a deep breath in where my neck meets my shoulders. Feeling his nose and mouth on my skin sends a jolt through my body and I lean back into him.

He whispers in my ear, “You look just like her.”

I spin around and put my hands on his shoulders, his gliding down to my sides. He pulls me in tight and I can feel the warmth of his body on mine. We look into each other’s eyes. There’s a feeling here I’ve never known before. For the first time in my life I feel safe even though I never knew I felt unsafe before this. These eyes are the same ones I’ve looked into my entire life but for the first time they’re giving me a warm feeling all throughout my body. I can tell he’s feeling the same way. He looks like he’s fighting something and I don’t know which side will win. That’s when I feel something start to poke me. Rog is getting hard. I lean into it, wanting to feel it on my skin even though we’re separated by clothing. He takes a deep breath in and suddenly I’m broken from the trance.

Oh my God, what am I doing? This is wrong!

I break away from him and lift the dress over my head, the musty air hitting my naked skin once again. I quickly put my clothes back on.

“Well, it was nice to see mom’s old things again,” I say in haste, the panic apparent in my voice.

Rog’s head is down and his arms at his sides. “Yeah, it was.” He doesn’t do anything to hide his erection, his shorts tented and pointing directly at me.

“I’ll be downstairs,” I say.

“Yeah,” he says as I start to descend the ladder.

When I get to the bottom I quickly walk back into the house and past my dad sitting in the living room. I go to my bedroom and close the door, not paying attention to something he’s saying behind me. Once in my room, I collapse on my bed and put my hands on my face.

What just happened? What was that? Rog and I have never really touched before. We never wrestled around or anything like that. We’re not the hugging type nor do we kiss each other hello or goodbye. Feeling his embrace was something new. Maybe that’s all it was. I’m a person just like anyone else and it’s been a very long time since I’ve known a man’s touch. It was just my body reacting to being touched is all. It has nothing to do with Rog.

It doesn’t, right?

I mean, he’s my brother. That’s just weird.

My body is still buzzing from the experience. It’s like something is calling me from deep within. I don’t want to answer the call but I can’t help it. My hands go to the inside of my legs and I start to rub them hard. My hips thrust up in protest, wanting the attention my thighs are getting.

I can’t do this.

It’s not right but I can’t help it. My hands go to my pussy and I start to rub through my thin panties. I’m already wet, the material damp.

I can’t do this thinking of Rog.

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