The girl stood at the entrance to the kitchen, propped up against the wall, as she watched them drink.
They turned to absolute children when they drank which particularly irritated her because as irresponsible and selfish they were, they still had the authority to send her to her room; she was only twelve after all. She didn't really mind being sent to her room, the isolated view there was preferable to watching her bipolar mother and alcoholic stepfather drink themselves into an obnoxious stupor. More often than not, she sent herself to her room.
"Oh, Sirina," her mother said, finally noticing her youngest daughter leaning up against the wall. "Come sit down, and do NOT stand against the wall again, it messes up the paint job." Her mother was oblivious to Sirina's contemptuous look.
"Sirina! Sit!" her stepfather gleefully cheered as he took another swig of red wine.
The girl had no other choice but to oblige.
As she sat, her parents continued on with their conversation, which mostly consisted of her mother's husband making sexual innuendos that he thought Sirina didn't understand. But she got every last word. (She was in middle school, after all. What did they expect?)
It disgusted Sirina to imagine her mother and stepfather's sex life, he was in his 60s! Exactly 20 years older than her mother. However, it wasn't hard not to, imagine that is, between his sexual overtones and the hour+ long sex talks her mother would have with her. (These weren't educational sex talks. Sirina's mother never had an educational sex talk with her, every talk graphically revolved around her own sex life.)
Anyway, as Sirina watched the so-called adults around her crack open another bottle of red wine, she tried to figure out which one of them was worse.
* * *
Sirina's stepfather often drove intoxicated. It scared the living daylights out of Sirina, even as a little kid (I should say, especially, as a little kid.) Her fondest memories of him involved him driving her and her mother home after drinking at least seven glasses of some green-colored drink, Sirina wasn't exactly sure of what but he would always ask for refills. So, he'd be driving, late at night, laughing and swerving the car and speaking drowsily as Sirina sat in the back seat, desperately clutching the seatbelt and window, hoping to feel some kind of substantial terrain. Usually, she'd be praying to God to PLEASE let her survive this car trip and let her stand on solid ground again. Tears would silently drip down her face as felt the sudden jerks and jolts of the car, begging for God to let her live.
Sirina remembered one time when she was little, well littler, maybe six or seven. She was in the kitchen, trying to scrounge up some food. Usually she just ate cereal or lemons (she was going through this phase where she was obsessed with eating lemons) while her mother and stepfather would be in their room, doing whatever they DO in their room. Well, as she was riffling through the pantry, her very much wasted stepfather came up behind her, wobbling like a zombie. An alcohol-crazed zombie, that is.
"Can you make me a Kid Cuisine?" Sirina asked innocently, noticing his presence. She wasn't allowed to use the microwave.
"Sure!" he exclaimed in a mumbled, slurred kind of way.
This was the first time Sirina had been around anyone drunk in person before, so she was pretty oblivious to his condition. Sirina went and handed him the Kid Cuisine from the freezer. She watched him stumble over to the microwave and stuff the pre-packed food into it, not even bothering to remove the plastic wrap. Without turning the microwave on, he turned and grabbed Sirina's ankles and picked her up, turning her upside down. Then, he started swinging her little body back and forth, making a pendulum out of the child.
The little girl, surprised by the random man-handling, asked to be put down but her stepfather was having too much fun. He continued swinging her around the kitchen wildly, coming dangerously close to smashing her head into the granite countertop, not that he noticed anyway. The girl just dizzily tried to keep her shirt from rising above her head. After about fifteen minutes of being hung upside down the man must've really had to pee. He set Sirina at the counter, handed her the still-frozen Kid Cuisine and a fork and teetered to the bathroom down the hall as Sirina tried to get her head to stop spinning.
Sirina sat there, tears forming at the corner of her eyes. The little girl was so confused, why was someone she usually considered consistent and in control being taken over by some unknown powerful force? And what could BE so powerful to make someone so incoherent with the microwave? It was like there was this stranger roaming around her house, swinging her by her ankles and peeing in her toilets. She was scared.
She picked up the fork after a while and picked up a piece of ice-encrusted macaroni and brought it to her mouth, immediately she gagged. This made her start crying even harder, this force, whatever it WAS, made full-grown adults even more incompetent than her. That thought was frightening.
From the bathroom, Sirina heard a flush and her stepfather retreat back to his and his wife's shared bedroom. After a few more moments of poking at her freezing macaroni, Sirini decided to investigate the bathroom.
Upon inspection, she found droplets of neon-yellow piss scattered across the toilet seat and floor. Disgusted, the little girl did the only reasonable thing she could think of- cleaning it up. Sirina wiped her eyes as she mopped up this old stranger's pee. She felt so alone.
When Sirina completed her task, she walked back to the kitchen, opened the silverware drawer (leaving the lonely, slowly-defrosting Kid Cuisine sitting on the counter) and pulled out the biggest knife she could find. With it, Sirina quietly hurried back to her room.
After locking all of the doors, placing the knife underneath her pillow and climbing into bed, Sirina let herself cry until sleep overtook her.
After that night, Sirina never touched a Kid Cuisine again.
* * *
Her mother was a pretentious drinker. Sirina couldn't count the times she's walked into her mother's room only to find her sprawled out on her king-sized bed with her glass of red wine, laughing haughtily to 'Frasier' or some other sitcom she found "witty" or "clever."
Other times, Sirina would walk out onto the patio to her mother, legs crossed in a lounge chair, with her ever-present glass of red wine. She'd always be chatting to someone, anyone, on her phone about some horribly inane, insignificant thing. Usually it was about how much she enjoyed her house on the golf course or her hot tub jacuzzi.
Now, Sirina's mother wasn't harmless; her pretentiousness was only the tip of the iceberg. In fact, Sirina's mother was very dangerous.
On one just grand Sunday night, her mother burst into Sirina's room at around midnight for one of her special mother-daughter moments:
"Your ROOM! Do you have ANY respect for me? Why are you so disrespectful!?" the mother shrieked, referring to the dirty clothes and paper thrown around her twelve-year-old daughter's bedroom floor.
"Mom, I'm sorry. It's ok. I'm really tired, it's late. I'll clean up tomorrow, promise."
"No, you WON'T. Get out of bed NOW!"
"It's late. I have school tomorrow." Sirina yawned.
Sirina's mother just shot her daughter a look of absolute fury. Her lips were pressed tightly together, practically disappearing. Her dark brown eyes were cold and dark that shone with fierceness. This was a look that terrified Sirina, and probably any living being, so she quickly got out of bed.
"Get on the floor and pick up every piece of paper." Her mother hissed.
Sirina got on her hands and knees and quickly began gathering up all the scrap paper from the floor and dumping them into the wastebasket. Her mother stood behind her, watching every single move Sirina made while her mother berated her about what a disrespectful child she was. After a half hour of this chore, her mother suddenly had a surge of uncontrollable hostility shoot through her body.
"You are a good-for-nothing little shit!" Sirina's mother screamed as the bottom of her palm struck the back of Sirina's head.
"Ow! That really hurt!" Sirina started to cry, more from her mother's words than the actual hit.
"Little shit," her mother hissed as she struck Sirina's head again. Sirina just kept picking up the paper, even though it was hard to see through the tears blurring up her vision.
After another thirty minutes of this special mother-to-daughter bonding moment, Sirina's mother eventually got bored and returned to her room, which was full of her red wine and Frasier.
* * *
"Sirina!" her mother's voice brought her back from her memories. "Smile! What's wrong with you? You're always so moody when you get back from your father's," her eyes narrowed at the mention of her worst enemy - Sirina's dad.
"Smiiiiile!" Sirina's drunken stepfather echoed, joyfully.
"I'm fine, you guys!" Sirina laughed as she made a huge, carefree grin spread across her face and the adults poured themselves another glass of wine.