I remember the day I snapped. That was the day I broke down, the day I finally said what I had been holding in, the day the weight was taken off of my shoulders. It was also the day I ran away from my home and family.
Before I start, you should probably know a little about me. Hi, I’m Matthew Jones. I’m pretty quiet most of the time, so I don’t have any friends. And don’t tell anyone, but I still sleep with a stuffed bear at night, even though I’m about to start 9th grade. (He used to have a name, but I forgot it a long time ago. So he’s just Mr. Bear.) I do have an older brother, though. He’s my twin, actually. Alfred. He can be conceited sometimes, but he has his moments when he’s sincere. He does mean well. But, unfortunately, he’s pretty much the root of my problem.
Moving on. The day I snapped—also known as a Monday. The last Monday of the school year, actually.
The morning was fine—I ate breakfast, kissed my mom on the cheek, and went to the bus stop with Alfred. When we got there, he stood with his friends, which is what he usually did, so I was used to it. It wasn’t unusual for me to stand by myself.
Once the bus got there, I was tripped by a guy in the first row—again, it was routine. Alfred gave him his “don’t mess with my brother” glare, but it never mattered. It was just for show, really.
Then there was school. I don’t interact much in class, and the teachers rarely call on me. But I’m a fairly good student. I make decent enough grades. Alfred, though, makes 100s in all of his classes. Even algebra, and everyone knows that Mr. Edelstein never gives out A’s.
See, Alfred is in most of my classes. And while some people might like their sibling in their class, it isn’t all that much fun. Especially when people tend to mistake you for him. Some of these people have been in the same class as me and Alfred for nine years now, but if any of them know me at all, it’s as “Alfred’s brother.”
Now, normally my days go by without much incident. But today, for the first time ever, I got beaten up.
With the way Alfred is, he has a lot of admirers; but he also has a lot of enemies. Which I guess comes with the territory of being the most popular guy in the school. So I’ve been told.
Well, one of those enemies of Alfred is named Carlos. He’s this really big guy, whose parents are from Cuba. No one except his gang knows anything else about him. (Though there is a rumor that he’s been held back five times already.)
I was getting ready to walk into the lunchroom when he came up to me. “YO! Jones!” I had just started to open the door, and he slammed it shut, putting both hands on either side of me, pinning me. Not far behind him was his crew.
“You think you can just flirt with my girlfriend and get away with it, huh?” He was inches away from my face. Any normal person would be shaking in this situation—and I was no exception.
“I-I-I don’t k-know what you’re talking a-about,” I stammered. I was looking around for help, but there were no teachers around, and the students were simply looking on in amusement.
Carlos laughed, but not in a “oh that’s funny” kind of way. It was more like “Oh, did you really just say that? Now I’m going to kick your butt.”
“Yeah, sure you don’t,” he said. Then he gripped me by my hair and started dragging me towards the bathroom. “Well maybe I could think of something to help…jog your memory.”
Now, I can’t really remember what he did, but I do remember, right before I passed out, one of his friends saying, “Hey, dude, I think this was the wrong guy. His backpack says ‘Matthew’ on it.”
Carlos chuckled. “Oh yeah, Jones’s brother. Oh well.”
That was after third period. By the time I woke up, it was halfway into sixth. I caught a glace of myself in the mirror. I didn’t look so good.
I considered going into the lunchroom to grab something, since I never did eat lunch, but then decided against it. I was late enough as it was.
I had to run all the way across the school to my next class, which, let me tell you, is no small task. The school campus is huge—it also doubles as the high school—and I’m not very athletic. (Unlike Alfred.)
When I finally burst inside, I was sweaty, out of breath, and close to fainting. The class gasped (I’m guessing at how I looked), but the teacher didn’t comment on it.
“Matthew Jones,” the teacher said. “Care to explain why you’re so late? And why you’re so… disheveled?” I looked around, and made eye contact with Carlos. I had totally forgotten that he was in this period with me.
He simply smirked and raised one eyebrow. A challenge. Would I tell on him, or keep my mouth shut?
I looked back at the teacher. “No ma’am.” Out of the corner of my eye I saw Carlos and his friends fist bump.
“Well then I’m afraid I’ll have to write you up. Go take your seat.” The class snickered. I went to my desk, and let my head fall on it painfully.
When I saw Alfred that afternoon, while getting on the bus, he winced. “Dude, Mattie, what happened?”
“Carlos,” I said.
“Wow, what’d you do to make him so mad? Does it hurt?” Then he poked my check.
I yelled, jumping away from him. “Yes, it hurts! Jeez, Al! You can see the color of it, can’t you?”
“Yeah,” he said, nodding. “You look like crap.”
“Thanks,” I said sarcastically. But then he saw one of his friends, and sat with them.
And I was alone.
Thankfully, my mother seemed more concerned when I got home. “Matthew! What on Earth happened!?” She ran around the kitchen, getting an ice pack and cloth while I sat at the table.
“This guy Carlos at school beat me up. He thought I had been flirting with his girlfriend.” Then, I added with a mumble, “even though it was really Al.”
“Well, just keep this ice pack on it. It’ll numb the pain.” Then my dad walked in. Alfred looks just like him, while I look more like our mom; except for the eyes. We both got dad’s blue eyes, with crappy eyesight.
“What happened to you, son? Get beat up?” I nodded. “Good. It’s about time you toughened up a little.” Mom slapped his arm.
“George, don’t say that,” she whispered.
“Well it’s true! The boy’s been babied too much. Not like Alfred, though.” I rolled my eyes, and got up. I’d heard this speech before; the “Alfred is perfect in every way, shape, and form” speech. I didn’t need to hear it again.
They didn’t even notice me leave.
Dinner time came, and it once again centered around Alfred. Right now, he was in the middle of some story about his basketball victory in PE class.
“And then, with one second left, I made the winning basket! It was totally awesome. I was the hero of the game!” Dad clapped him on the back.
In case you haven’t figured it out by now, let me spell it out. For as long as I can remember, Alfred’s always been better than me. At everything. He always makes straight A’s, despite never studying (meanwhile, I’m up until eleven each night), he has no trouble making friends, and he can learn any sport in five minutes and be the best ever at it. He even walked and talked before me when we were babies!
We live in a small town, and there’s not a soul in this town that doesn’t know the name “Alfred Jones.”
Bottom line—Alfred is the superstar, and I’m just a nameless face on the sidelines.
And no one ever lets me forget that.
“That’s my son,” he said proudly while mom smiled.
“Good job, Alfred,” she said. “Matthew, aren’t you happy for your brother?”
I put on a fake smile. “Yeah, real proud.” I couldn’t help but let a bit of sarcasm slip in.
“Well, Mattie was there. He saw it, right? Or were you to busy looking at the cheerleaders,” Alfred teased.
“You didn’t even notice I was gone?” I asked incredulously.
“What?” Alfred’s head titled to the side, confused.
I stood up suddenly, knocking my chair back. I threw down my fork, which caused the mashed potatoes on my plate to splatter everywhere.
This is when it happened.
This is where I snapped.
“Matthew!” my mother cried out.
“You seriously didn’t even notice I wasn’t there!? I’M ON YOUR TEAM! I have been for the past three years!” I yelled. I kept tightening and loosening my hands at my sides, using all my willpower not to throttle him where he sat.
“Dude, chill out, it’s not that big of a deal,” he said.
“Not…that big…of a deal?” I could feel my eye twitch. I tried to keep my voice down, but it steadily increased in volume with every word. “Do you want to know where I was while you were being a “hero”? I was lying in the boys bathroom. UNCONCIOUS, because Carlos beat me up! And do you know why he beat me up? Hmm?”
I can only describe the look in his eyes with one word—scared. He should've been, too. I'd never raised my voice like this before. It gave me great satisfaction. Mom and Dad kept glancing between the two of us, looks of shock etched on their faces.
“Because you can’t keep it in your pants--,”
“Matthew Jones!” Mom gasped.
“ and were flirting with his girlfriend! Why, Al? WHY? You can have any girl at school, and you pick his girlfriend!?” I shook my head and laughed sarcastically. “Oh yeah, but here’s the funny part: he mistook ME for YOU! And so he dragged me into the boys’ bathroom and beat the crap out of me!”
At this point, Dad stood up. “I will NOT tolerate that kind of language in this house!”
But I ignored him. Now that I had started, I was letting out all of my anger for the past fourteen years. “All of my problems start with you, Alfred! No one knows my name because I constantly have to live in YOUR shadow! I don’t even see why everyone loves you so much! You’re nothing but a conceited, stupid, butthole that doesn’t even care enough about his own twin to go say something to the guy that beat him up!” I paused, taking a deep breath.
“Dude, are you, like, man PMSing, or something?” Alfred asked.
I’ve fantasized before about punching my brother. I’ve dreamed about how satisfying it would feel. Let’s face it, when you have someone as annoying as him for a sibling, you have to imagine it at some point. But when my fist actually connected with the side of his face, and when his glasses flew off to the side…well I never could’ve imagined that feeling of being on high.
My mother and father instantly jumped up to check on him, and I took that time to run to my room. (It was more of our room, since I shared it with Alfred, but I locked the door. Besides, if he was smart, he would stay in there.)
But this is Alfred we’re talking about. So of course he didn’t stay in there. He banged on the door not ten seconds later. “Matt! Let me in! It’s my room, too! MATTHEW!”
I ignored him. I was too busy taking all of his clothes out of his drawers and throwing them around the room. Childish, but I didn’t have the guts to actually break anything of his.
Four hours later, and I still hadn’t come out, despite the orders from my mom. Dad even threatened to break down the door, but Alfred quickly shut down that idea.
“You can’t do that! I have a limited edition poster on the door! I can’t replace it!”
“Come on, Mattie! Where am I supposed to sleep?” Alfred whined from the other side.
“Outside, for all I care!” I yelled back.
“You know, you’re being a real jerk! I can’t believe you’d over react like this!”
This was where I started packing. I didn’t even realize what I was doing at first—I was just doing, not really thinking. By the time I actually had all of my clothes into two suitcases—one of which was actually Alfred’s—I wasn’t even sure what to do.
All I knew was that I had to get out of there.
I was looking around the room when the idea hit me: run away. That would solve everything. If I could just get away from here—away from him—I would be happy. That’s what I told myself.
So I grabbed all of my saved up money, and all of Alfred’s. (He didn’t know that I knew where it was.) I made sure I had essential things— a jacket, deodorant, cell phone, Mr. Bear, and a couple of other small, sentimental things—and I climbed out the window.
That was my great escape. I just climbed out the window and started walking. I didn’t know where I was going, but I figured that it couldn’t be a whole lot worse than where I was leaving. In hindsight, that was pretty stupid.
So, this was my first attempt to write about Matthew. Normally I just stick to my US/UK fluff, but i figured it was time for me to try something different.
I'm not really confident about it, so constructive critisism is very welcome. I'm not sure yet if I want to continue it or not...
Also, because my bad words were making the Pokyvore-bot cry, I had to censor it. "Butt" and "crap" were the replacement words, just so you know.