Brynn cringed at Amy’s voice. She knew she wouldn’t be happy. The contents of Carrie’s room was stacked haphazardly in the living room. Brynn knew that Carrie did it to piss off Amy and it was working. Carrie did nothing without malice of some sort. Brynn looked at Carrie who was acting as if she did not hear Amy and continued to unpack lunch.
“What…the…hell…is…this?” Amy asked again slowly, trying to control her anger. Brynn didn’t think it was working.
“Lunch” Carrie said innocently “I brought your favorite, Chinese!”
Amy signed “You know I can’t eat Chinese.”
Carrie looked at her with fake shock “Oh no! Since when?”
“It doesn’t matter. What happened with all your stuff?”
“It’s packed like you said.” Carrie began dishing out the food.
“Why don’t we sit down to lunch and we’ll fix the packing later?” Brynn asked, trying to defuse the time bomb that ticked loudly in their heads.
Amy continued without acknowledging Brynn’s question. “That is not packed. This is absolute mess, as usual. I knew better than to ask you to help. I tried to tell Mom that you wouldn’t help.”
“I am helping and now I’m hungry. Are you hungry? Brynn?” Carrie continued nonchalantly.
“Yes, I’m hungry. Amy?” She looked at Amy, hopeful and somewhat pleading her not to start the fight that Brynn knew was coming.
Amy sighed, turned and walked out of the room. Carrie smiled as if her evil plan worked. Brynn sat down and accepted the plate from Carrie.
“That was cruel, you know. She only wants to get the job done.”
“Cruel? She’s uptight and needs to have a little fun.” Carrie replied as she stuffed her face with chow mein.
Brynn shook her head and stared at her plate. She was always in the middle, the buffer between her sisters. Sometimes she sided with Carrie and sometimes with Amy. She hated the fact that Amy was the automatic “little helper” as Mom always called her. She didn’t like being called her little movie star either. It was a cute nickname but Brynn knew that her mom didn’t mean it. Amy was the apple of Dad’s eye and Carrie was the center of Mom’s world. That left Brynn, the typical middle child to find ways to get attention. That attention usually meant getting trouble at school and with friends. Brynn did it a little different. She became the fixer in the family. She helped Dad with repairs around the house. She learned how to sew in order to fix the clothes that became ripped and torn. She used tried to fix the rift between her sisters. Her “fixer” skills as she likes to call them is probably the reason why she is a great contract negotiator. She can help both sides feel like they were the ones that came out on top.
“Hello! Anyone home?” Carrie waved her hand in front of Brynn’s face. She shook back to reality. “Where were you?” Carrie said jokingly.
“Just thinking” Brynn replied. She got up from the table and walked to the closed door of Amy’s room. She knocked softly. “Amy?”
“Come in” came the muffled reply.
Brynn opened the door to find Amy faced down on the mattress. “Are you ok?”
“I just want to get this over with.”
“I know. I…” Brynn didn’t get to finish as she felt Carrie behind her.
“What’s this? Are we being a lazy bones?” Carrie joked.
Amy shot out of bed like someone poured ice water on her. She was immediately in Carrie’s face. “Lazy bones?!?! I’m been working my butt off trying to get this house in order so we can sell it and you have been nothing but a pain in the ass.”
Amy pushed Carrie out of the way so that she could leave the room. Carrie was quick on her heels. Brynn took a deep breath. Here we go again, she thought as she followed the storm into the living room.
“What are you doing?!?” screamed Carrie as Brynn entered the living to see Amy begin tossing items in various piles.
“I’m doing what YOU should have been doing hours ago. Obviously, this stuff means nothing to you, so what do you care what I do with it.”
“Get your hands off my stuff. I will take care of it, you control freak!” Carrie ordered.
Amy spun around to look at Carrie. “Oh, you’ll take care of it. Just like you take care of your children. And where are they today? Oh, that’s right, their fathers have them. You were too unfit.”
Both Brynn and Carrie gasped. Amy stared at Carrie, daring her to continue. Brynn stepped in. “Amy that was a little uncalled for.”
“No, Brynn, it was called for. She’s so judgmental and critical. She cares for no one but herself. I never understood how Mom thought you were the moon and stars. Her Care Bear, yuck! You never could do anyway wrong in her eyes. Even after you got caught in high school drinking in the principal’s office. At least, I now know where she got it.”
“What do you mean?” Brynn asked slowly as she was afraid of the answer.
“Mom. Hello! She was such a snob.”
“No, she wasn’t” echoed Brynn and Carrie together.
“Yes, she was. She would be nice and friendly to people’s faces but the minute their back was turned, she would criticize everything from their choice in clothing to their career. The sky was the limit to her judgment. Dad kept his distance. She didn’t care when I was having problems getting pregnant. She didn’t care when Brynn lost her job and had to struggle to find a place to live. She only reluctantly let you move back home after Dad pleaded with her. Oh, Brynn, don’t look at me like that. You know it’s true. Aaron always said there was something fake about Mom.” Amy choked on the tears that began to pool.
“Well, you want to know something. Mom didn’t like that you married Aaron. She thought that you married down when you picked him” Carrie spat down with a look of satisfaction, thinking she just delivered a blow. Brynn was shocked at Amy’s whispered reply.