Narrative: The Last Jarrell Family Vacation-Sophie Rubenstein

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The Last Jarrell Family Vacation- Sophie Rubenstein

When my father told my brother and I that the family was going on a trip to France, my brother threw the water bottle he was holding into the ceiling fan. Water and plastic exploded everywhere. My dad screamed and my mom whimpered. I laughed.

Tommy won’t talk to me even though we are going to be on this plane for twelve hours. Mom and dad are in First Class. When Tommy complained about being stuck back in coach, dad said he and mom worked hard and that they deserved to be pampered. Last week, Tommy bought his first car. It’s a used 1998 Toyota Civic. Even though it is old and shitty, Tommy loves his car more than he loves dad or mom or me.

Mom took a photography class at the community college last year. After finishing her class, she insisted on taking all of our passport photos herself. Mom made Tommy wash a section of the living room wall. He washed a square about as tall and as wide as him. He used a magic eraser. With the eraser, he wrote “fuck you,” next to the square of white wall. Even though mom made Tommy wash the wall over and over, when the lights were all on,
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Tommy and I are playing Slap-Jack in the loft. Mom and Dad are arguing downstairs. Dad is mad that the apartment is so small. Dad is mad that the apartment is too expensive. Tommy yells down at Dad. He says, “You can have a bigger apartment or a cheaper apartment, but you can’t have both.” I yell down at Dad. I say, “Actually you can’t have either! Mom already paid for this place.” Tommy laughs. I laugh. Mom laughs. Dad tells us that we can all go to hell. He shuts off the lights. Even though it is only 8pm, Dad says he is going to bed. He says if we are loud there will be hell to pay. Mom sighs loudly. Nobody can sigh as loud as mom can. Tommy shrugs. I shrug. We play cards in the dark. High-stakes poker. It is high-stakes because if we make any noise Dad will come upstairs and kill Tommy and

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