Losing Control Isn't Always Fun 1

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My alarm buzzed in my ears. I threw my arm out, turning it off. At four o'clock, it was way too early. As always, I gave myself the 'Fifteen Seconds of Acceptable Complaining'. It was the only time during the day that I allowed myself to complain.

It was way too early. I worked too hard. I had too much to do. I could never be a real teenager. I only had fifteen seconds to complain. My mom was never there, but when she was it was even worse.

When my fifteen seconds were up, I stood up and went to my little brother's room. His name was Max, and he was a five year old.

Every morning, when I got up to take care of him, there was only one thing on my mind.

At the time I was twelve, my alcohic mother was pregnant with Max. I had walked into the kitchen after school to see her raising a bottle of Vodka to her lips. I ran across the room, trying to throw the bottle from her hands.

But it was too late. My unborn baby brother was already doomed to a life of ADHD.

My father quit on my mom and I when I was just two. Now, my mom was almost never home, but instead out getting drunk and hooking up with twenty year old guys.

We lived in a run down apartment where nothing worked. I worked two jobs to keep us in the apartment, not to mention the other essential needs like food and clothes. I was almost considering getting a third job. My mom didn't help with anything.

I picked up Max from his bed and carried him into the kitchen, grabbing a bowl and some cereal for him. I chewed on a most likely expired granola bar.

I stayed with Max, making sure that he ate his breakfast.

"Its your birthay, Riannan," he said, his eyes like moonlight that mirrored the color of mine peering up at me.

"That's right, Maxy," I said, my voice filled with the sleep deprivation that had ruled my life for the past five years.

"How old are you Ree?" he asked.

"I'm seventeen," I said.

I had so much to worry about at my age.

What was even worse was that Max was allergic to just about everything.

When he was finished, I did the routinely ritual of struggling to get Max into his clothes and to get ready myself. I didn't even consider makeup at the house. I didn't have enough time, so I left all of it in my 1987 pickup truck to put it on on my way during red lights to my first job. Starbucks.

I picked up Max and his superman backpack when I finished dressing, and body slammed into the door twice to open it. I had to try three times to put the key in the lock and twist.

I headed down to my black truck. My best friend, Kyle, had fixed up my car the previous week for my birthday present. He had fixed up the engine and gave it a paint job. Quite honestly, I could have never let go of Kyle. Life was just that much easier without having to worry about a car.

I dropped off Max at his all day special school. Thankfully, it didn't cost a penny out of my pocket for him to go to that school, but that didn't stop me from worrying about him. Even though it was their job to take care of kids like Max, I always think that maybe they don't pay enough attention to him, or maybe they don't focus on his allergies enough. Its stressful.

I put on my brown eyeliner and black mascara on during the long lights, before arriving at Starbucks.

I went into the back and put on a black shirt and the green apron.

"How you doin' girl?" Rusty asked. He was a thirty seven year old who was the manager. I loved Rusty. He was the greatest man that I had known, and I knew that he always had my back. "Happy birthday."

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