Mom drinks too much and becomes incapable, and Daddy works late, so I am the one who checks homework, makes dinner, and puts everyone to bed after they brush their teeth. We all change into our pajamas, my two younger sisters and my six year old brother and I, and read bedtime stories before they go to bed and I can start my homework. My sisters are always grumpy about going to bed, but they do anyway because there is nothing else to do but listen to our alcoholic mother snore or wine about her overworking husband, she calls our father. Then I put my brother to bed last, because he takes the longest. He is a rather intelligent child, he once to me to write down my thoughts if I can't say them out loud. I asked him why he thinks that, since he only just learned to read and write, and he told me that no one ever really says what they want to say, you only know what they want to say because you can see it in their face, or you can read it when they write it down.
He claims that that's what Dr. Seuss did. He proposed that Dr. Seuss probably never said the words "green eggs and ham", but he wrote them down.
I don't often have alone time with him in a house of five people, so I cherish these intelligent quirks he comes up with when he is tired and I smile. I make sure he has enough water, kiss him good night, turn off the light and then, as I close the door so he cannot hear our parents' arguing that puts me to sleep, I hear a faint "Wait!" So I go back in.
"Is everything okay?""You...