Somewhere, a door opens.
Arthur Bernstein walked through the front door of his two story home, his book bag over one shoulder and his soccer cleats clutched in his free hand. Sighing deeply, Arthur set his footwear down by the door and locked it behind him, shutting out the hot April air from outside. The low hum of an air conditioner rumbled out from a window in the family living room, masking the digital noise of the television set until Arthur walked into the room. His father sat on their small brown couch, a bowl of grapes clutched in one hand and the remote control held in the other. He was dressed in business casual clothing, and judging from his appearance Arthur determined that his father had just arrived home from a long day at work. The lights in the room were off, sunlight instead illuminating the room through its few windows. On the TV, a news reporter rambled on about terrorist attacks in Kenya, a hostage situation at a public university. As Arthur walked into the room and set his backpack down on the ground next to the couch, his father turned and looked at him with his tired eyes, made dull by a cathode ray glow.
"How was school?" He asked, tired from his working hours. His short brown hair looked disheveled to Arthur, and his father's sunken posture on the couch made Arthur think that he had not had an easy time at his job today. His father's tie slung over the back of the TV set confirmed this suspicion.
"It was alright," Arthur replied awkwardly, "Just another day until graduation. You look like you've been through the ringer yourself, Dad."
Arthur's father sighed. "You know how Kindergartners can be," he started, "They can't get through their heads the difference between looking and touching." Arthur smiled and took a seat on the couch. The two sat in silence for a time, watching the news drift from story to story, sensation to sensation. Apart from the terrorist attack in Kenya, it had been a slow news day, slow enough for videos of a cat jumping through boxes on the internet to qualify as newsworthy. Minutes wasted away as the two stared into the TV set. They didn't have much to say to each other.
Finally, Arthur broke the silence. "Where's Marie?" He asked. He hadn't seen any trace of his younger sister since he had gotten home, which was unusual. Marie had no after school activities that Arthur knew of, and Arthur knew that if she was involved in anything after school he would know.
"She's at her friend Bella's house," Father replied, "They're studying." He switched the channel with a flick of his thumb to a baseball channel running advertisements for life insurance. Arthur nodded in response. He knew Bella from a math class the two both took. She was a sophomore, like Marie, but she had taken enough math outside of school to qualify for a Pre-Calc class. He respected that kind of drive, though he had trouble finding it in himself. Specks of dust floated in the sunbeams streaming in through the windows, disappearing as the sun was blocked by a cloud. "You really look after her, don't you?" His father asked, placing the bowl of grapes onto the coffee table in the middle of the room.
"I mean, I try my best," Arthur replied as he reached into his backpack for a book he had taken out of the library, "She's my little sis, y'know? I gotta make sure she turns out alright." As Arthur picked the book up out of his backpack, he looked over at his father, seeing that he was now lost in thought. From behind wire-frame glasses he stared at the ceiling, twiddling his thumbs in folded hands. "Dad?" Arthur asked, concerned. His father breathed out heavily, his hands trembling slightly. As his head began to shake side to side in disagreement with an unheard question, he stood up from the couch and looked around the room. "Dad, is everything okay?" Arthur asked again, growing more concerned.
"...what?" Arthur's father said, turning to face his son, "Yeah, yeah, everything's fine, Arthur. Just, just thinking."
"Are you..." Arthur said, "Are you thinking abou-"
"I need to go. To the store, to, um," His father stammered, looking more distraught by the minute, "We need more batteries, the remote is on the fritz again." Arthur knew this to be false - he had just witnessed his father changing the channel - but nodded silently.
"I'll go with you," Arthur said, standing up from the couch, "I have some stuff to buy too." In truth, he was only looking after his father, but he figured he could ask his father to buy some snacks for him while they were there. The Bernstein family was not made out of money, but they had enough extra cash to spend on little things every now and then.
"Yeah, sure," Arthur's father said, more hurried than before, as he walked to the door. "I'll start the car."
"Alright, I'll be out in a second," Arthur replied as his father opened the front door and stepped outside. Slowly, Arthur made his way over to the TV set, turning it off with a press of a button on the side of the screen. Then, silently, he picked up the picture frame sitting on top of the television.
His mother and his father held hands at the center of the photograph, smiling brightly at the camera. His brother Charlie stood to their father's side, hands folded in front of him. He wasn't smiling, but he wasn't exactly frowning either, a sort of half-expression that radiated neutrality. James, his other older brother, stood next to their mother along with Arthur, the both of them smiling at the camera. James' two fingers, curled like bunny ears, were raised behind Arthur's head, and Arthur could remember trying to do the same to his brother but being unable to reach. With Arthur's other hand, he held little Marie's tiny hand as she looked just above the camera at the photographer with a curious expression. She was two years old, but she still needed a pacifier to stay quiet when in public at that age. Arthur forgot the exact reason why. In the background, the wall of the museum Arthur's father worked at set the backdrop, making the whole scene far more formal than it really was. This was the last picture they ever took together as a family, the six of them all together. Arthur had just turned five years old.
Arthur stared at the photo for a long time. Then, he set the photo frame back onto the TV set, and headed out the door. He didn't need to be thinking of such things right now. He was only going to the store with his father, after all. Outside the house, he could hear the engine of the family minivan start, and he walked hastily over to the door.
He didn't want to keep his family waiting any longer.
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- Joined: June 28th, 2016, 7:37 pm
~~~~~ Creativity's Burning Pyre ~~~~~
- [+] Spoiler
- Violet Schmidt: "Well, sure, I guess I can try and help with that. Ever read Corpus Hermetica? It'll make understanding this easier." Memory-1, Facebook, Pregame-1, Pregame-2, Pregame-3
- Lucas Diaz: "I'd apologize, but I don't want to dig things up all over again, y'know?" Memory-1, Facebook, Pregame-1, Pregame-2
- Max Rudolph: "What the people need is a common banner under which to unite. It might not be what you want, but the fact of the matter is..." Facebook, Pregame-1, Pregame-2
- Liberty "Bert" Wren: "At eight? Let me see if that fits into my schedule. Been real busy lately." Facebook, Pregame-1
- [+] Spoiler
/ - G051: Lili Williams: "Stop..." Memory-1, Pregame-1, Island-1, Island-2, Island-3, Island-4, Island-5, Island-6, Island-7, Island-8, Island-9, Island-10, Island-11, Island-12, Island-13, Island-14, Island-15, Island-16, Island-17, Island-18, Island-19.
/ - B043: Arthur Bernstein: "I...I'll...I'll..." Memory-1, Meanwhile-2, Island-1, Island-2, Island-3, Island-4, Island-5, Island-6, Island-7, Meanwhile-1
- [+] Spoiler
- insert of lucky br8k!!!!!!!!
- insert of O.B. - white kid who is involved in politics and has divorced rich parents and issues with feeling emotions
- self-styled detective
- lou reed doing a gay voice
- insert of F.G.D. - black kid who wears a pizza hat and plays trumpet
- cute thing
- Darl from As I Lay Dying
- insert of A.B. my dorkass little brother who fancies himself a linguist and gets on my nerves
- good lives make bad stories
- insert of N.T. another floutist because I havent done one of those already
- someone who doesnt "have a good time making allies" as an advantage
- pine barrens monster from the family that has a ghost butler
- David Foster Wallace
- myself again
- insert of K.D. a pianist and if you thought bert was smol, hohohohoho
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