Spencer, Brendon, Jon, and I sat in my car, arguing. Brendon and Spencer thought it would be a good idea to bring Kenzie to our band practice. I thought it was a bad idea, as she didn’t know us very well. I didn’t want to freak her out or anything. Jon (surprisingly) decided he was going to be Switzerland in this argument and stay out of it.
“Seriously Ry, I don’t understand—”
“Fuck!” We all turned to see Kenzie at her front door. She was searching through her bag. She threw it down angrily and climbed onto the railing of her porch.
“What is she doing?” I heard Spencer ask.
She grabbed onto the edge of her roof and jumped, pulling herself up.
“I’m not sure,” I said, while unbuckling myself. I got out of the car walked to the edge of her roof, the boys following me. “Kenzie, what are you doing?”
She looked down at the four of us. “My door was locked.”
“So you’re climbing on your roof?”
She giggled a little. “I keep my window unlocked.”
She walked to a window and tried to pull it up but it wouldn’t budge. She tried again, but still it wouldn’t move. She sat down, pulled out her phone, and put it to her ear. “Hi Danny, did you lock my window before you left…” She groaned. “You did? Great, well, I left my keys at home and now I’m locked out.”
I looked over at Brendon who was grinning. He leaned over to me and whispered, “Well it looks as if she’s locked out Ry. What do you propose we do?”
I rolled my eyes at him. “Fine, she’ll come with us.”
Kenzie slammed her phone shut. “Well thank you Danny,” she mumbled. She looked down and paled. “Uh, can someone help me get down? I’ve never had this problem before.”
I chuckled and walked forward. “Just jump; I’ll catch you.”
After thirty minutes of trying to coax her down, we finally succeeded. She walked to the porch and sat down on the front steps. We all stared at her.
“What? You guys can go you know, I’ll be fine waiting here alone.” She said.
I sat down next to her; she looked so vulnerable. She pulled her sketchbook out of her bag and began to draw. I looked at the boys standing around and sighed. “Kenzie, since you’re locked out do you want to come with us?”
She looked up from her drawing. “Come with you where?”
Spencer piped up. “Band practice. It’s in my basement.”
She looked around at the four of us before nodding her head. “So what kind of band are you guys?” She asked while walking to my car along with the rest of us.
“We just play covers right now,” Jon answered, “but we’re working on originals. Or I should say Ross over there is.”
We all got in the car and were soon on our way. We didn’t actually practice much once we got to Spencer’s. Mainly we talked to KEnzie and learned more about her. We learned that Danny is her older brother and that he doesn’t actually live at home anymore, but is helping out while her mother is in the hospital. She didn’t say much about him but I could tell she cared a lot. Her tone was so admiring when she spoke of Danny.
KEnzie didn’t talk too much about her parents. I can understand why she didn’t talk about her mother, but not her father. She didn’t sound like she resented him, nor did she talk badly about him, she just didn’t talk about him at all.
Before we knew it, it was time for us to leave. Spencer’s parents had strict time limits and they didn’t like us playing after 9. I drove Brendon and Jon home, taking Kenzie home last. When we go to her house, I could see a car in her driveway. All the lights were on and someone was looking out a window.
Kenzie sat in the passenger’s seat staring for a short while before she spoke up. “Ryan… where are you staying?”
“I mean since your dad is in the hospital and your mom left, it’s got to be hard to pay bills on your own.”
“Oh,” I said, and she was right. It was hard to do those things. For the first month I lived at my house, I tried to stay. I did what I needed to get by but it wasn’t enough. I had a job - ‘had’ being the main word there. I got fired. I didn’t even earn enough to pay any bills for the month. I figured I’d just live out of my car for a little while, getting money where I could but Brendon told his parents about my situation. They offered to help me pay my rent but I refused; I didn’t need to take their money like that. Then they offered to take me in. They had a spare bedroom that I could use and they liked me. “Brendon’s parents took me in.” I answered finally.
She nodded and was silent for a moment. “How do you deal with it?” She was so quiet I wasn’t sure if I’d even heard her or not. “I mean really, you’re so calm all the time, not insecure at all. I consider it a feat when I don’t break down crying. How do you do it?”
How did I do it? That was a good question. I wasn’t even sure myself. “I don’t know Kenzie. It’s hard to say. I’m not that strong of a person; not brave. Sometimes I think that maybe it’s just easier to deal with because I have such wonderful friends. Sometimes I think that I’m stronger than I am, and sometimes I just loathe my father so much that I don’t care.
This probably doesn’t help you at all.”
She laughed a little and shook her head. “It’s good to talk about it though. I never talk about it at home. My dad and I hardly talk anymore, he’s always in my mom’s hospital room and so is my brother. If I’m ever at home I’m always in my room. I never come downstairs.”
I nodded even though I didn’t know what that was like. I’d never been in that situation. I mean my father and I hardly talked but that was out of mutual dislike. I didn’t even count him as actual family. Brendon, Jon, and Spencer were the only family I needed. “I was never close with my father. He was terrible. After my mother left he started drinking heavily. It got to the point where I didn’t even remember how he was sober. He went to work but once he came home he went straight to the bottle. He neglected me most of my childhood and when I hit puberty he started to tell me that I was worthless, that I would never amount to anything. And I believed him.”
She looked at me, pity on her face. “I’m so sorry.”
I shook my head, I didn’t want her pity. I didn’t tell her to make her feel sorry, I told her because I trusted her. I wanted her to know why I hated my father. I didn’t tell her the whole story though. I left out the fact that he beat me. I left out the fact that I had to hide the bruises, mental and physical. She didn’t need to know that. “It’s fine, don’t be sorry.” I looked through the windshield and someone stared back at me, “I think your dad or someone is watching us.”
KEnzie looked up and smiled. “That’s Danny. I should probably go in...thank you Ryan.” She leaned over and hugged me before hopping out of the car. As she walked up her front steps she turned around and waved to me.
I waited until she was safely inside before backing out of the driveway. I pulled out my phone and quickly called Brendon. “Hey Bren, can you tell you parents I think I’m gonna go to the hospital real quick?”