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Copyright © 2015 Neurotica Books LLC., CJ Roberts. All rights reserved.
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This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, organizations, or persons living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
TRAILER PARK EDEN by CJ Roberts
Seventeen-year-old disabled twins, Parker and Kylee James, barely surviving with their abusive father and unstable existence in Century, Florida, know they can only rely on each other. But as choices are made, and consequences manifest, their reliance on each other only becomes more complicated. Stronger. Dangerous.
Kylee and me have always shared the same space. We shared the most intimate space there is, a womb. Like any two beings cohabitating in a cramped area, we evolved to make compromises for one another. We shifted together and accepted one another’s increasing encroachment. Taking things further, fate had decided that she should be born blind and that I lose my hearing by age three. I cannot remember a time when I could hear. We share more than just space. We share every aspect of our lives. I am Kylee’s eyes. She is my ears. We are rarely apart if we can help it.
Our mother was young when she had us. The burden of raising two children with our father, who is also disabled, was too much for her and she left. It’s just us and our dad in our restrictive trailer. Everybody calls him ‘Defbobby’, like it’s one word. I don’t know what it sounds like when they say it, in what Kylee calls a ‘kitschy Florida drawl’; but, the way she signs it is funny. My sister describes things to me in a bursting flurry of fingers, facial expressions, and exaggerated enunciation. Being blind, my sister makes up a lot of her own Sign, but it doesn’t matter. I’ve been reading the shape of Kylee’s lips as far back as I can remember.
“Why are you so quiet?” Kylee taps out across my back. The feel of her hands and the way she moves her fingers across my body have evolved into a language only she and I can speak. More often than not, I can intuit what she wants to say. She pours out a trickle of warm water over my skin before picking up the washcloth again. Our father likes to conveniently forget to pay the utilities and after a long day of cleaning gutters and mowing lawns, I needed a shower. At times like this, Mr. Greene lets us borrow his hose so we can heat some water on our barbeque grill and shower in the dark. He’s a nice old man as long as you don’t ask too much of him. He ignores my bloody lip; my blue and purple skin. He does mention I’m a ‘good boy’ for looking after my sister who ‘gets purtier every time he sees her’. Kylee preens whenever someone compliments her sincerely and without perversion, a distinction she claims she can make without error due to her superior ears. “Parker?” Kylee’s touch is inquisitive, a firm yet delicate press of her palm on my shoulder.
“Sorry. I was thinking about what he’s going to say when he comes home.” Kylee has always insisted I speak aloud despite my reluctance to do so in front of others. She cannot see me, she says, and to deny her my voice is too much for her to bear. She says I speak very well but I can see in the eyes of those around us that my sister spares my feelings. She needn’t bother. Hers is the only opinion which has ever mattered to me. I don’t tell her how they look at us: the deaf boy and his blind twin sister.
Kylee’s lips press gently against my damp skin. She’s warm comfort at my back. I lean against her flesh, as familiar as my own. I crane my neck against her soothing kisses. I’m weary. Defbobby has steadily been getting worse. I remember when we were very young and our father having a job at the post office, sorting mail. We lived in a small HUD housing development and though our father drank, he’d at least waited until after dinner. But then he lost his job and couldn’t find another, or maybe he just took the excuse and drank himself into the bottle. Either way, me and Kylee were long ago deprived of anyone who passes for a parent. These days Defbobby wakes up drunk and does everything he can to keep the buzz going. This used to include holding down the occasional job to supplement our Disability benefits; but lately, he’s been drinking our ‘benefits’. “Let’s go to bed early.” Her fingers lull me. “We’ll be okay.”
“I’m not afraid of him,” I tell her, quietly.
She turns her head slightly so that I can feel her stare even though she can’t see me. Her response is a brush of her fingertips over my bruises.
I was plenty sore from the beating I took the day before when, in a fit of rage over the lack of food in the house, we made the mistake of pouring out Defbobby’s whiskey. Per our agreement, Kylee stayed in our bedroom with the door locked and didn’t open it for anyone but me. I can’t protect myself if she’s in harm's way. After our dad left in what Kylee described as a ‘thundering clatter of barking curses, slamming doors, and squealing tires’, she hefted my body across her lap and asked me to tell her a story while she stroked my hair and surreptitiously felt me over for injuries.
“Just a few more months, Rye,” I add. “Then we can leave him.” Kylee and I graduate high school in July and we can finally apply to be emancipated. We’ve been reading up on it for months and preparing. It’s given us a purpose, something to look forward to. Although the option of simply running away has always been there, sticking it out in the hopes of attaining a better future through education is more viable.
Kylee nudges my shoulder with her nose. “Want me to do the front?” She’s kidding and I laugh because it’s exactly the kind of thing people at school, everywhere really, think we do. Kylee places the washcloth into my hand. I rub it over my genitals while she pours out a little more water from the pitcher we heated. We don’t usually shower together. Dad put a stop to it once Kylee started growing breasts. He said she couldn’t see how beautiful she is, but we could. We fought it at first. I didn’t like the ‘silence’ in the shower. I felt ill at ease without her there to tell me if the fire alarm was going off, or if she needed me. But as our bodies entered deeper into puberty, time alone became a necessary thing. Being blind, Kylee cares very little about modesty. I, not being blind, cannot help but be curious from time to time. Still, the power is out, and I do not care to be deaf and blind on a slippery surface, not when Kylee navigates the dark with ears as good as any sonar and having her near is similar to gaining a superpower.
I sometimes feel she is at an advantage being blind. That is, until she reminds me she must rely upon me to describe the shade of our gray-green eyes, her red and my black hair. How different I look from her and inversely, how many features we share. Explaining color to a blind girl, or trying to describe what the world sounds like to a deaf boy, is a lesson in irony and none more so than all of it coming from me. I’ve never cared about what it’s like to ‘hear’ but I still remember six-year-old Kylee being despondent over my lack of ability to properly describe color. It’s her reliance upon me, her thirst for knowledge, which spurs me to learn and read whenever I have the time.
Despite what many perceive as a weakness—we don’t feel disadvantaged and we reject any society that sees us as inherently inferior. Kylee has never been able to see; I can’t remember being able to hear. We don’t miss it because it wasn’t something we lost; our adaptation is simply different. However, I do feel that Kylee and I, being closer than most, never fit into either group. I have never lacked for my deafness—not with Kylee at my side and I have always been her eyes. Together, we can see and hear the world of which we are a part of and apart from, but also the opportunities waiting to be exploited on our terms. That’s why we decided early on that we would attend regular school and our special studies once a week.
“I’m finished,” I say. The bathroom in our trailer is too small for two people. It consists of a toilet, corner sink, and stall shower. The only way to not soak the entire room is to step into the stall and close the shower curtain as snug as possible. It takes a bit of navigating to keep my genitals away from her as I step out of the shower. Kylee thinks my ‘accidental boners’ are hilarious. She has nicknamed my penis, Capt. Underoo, because it is almost always at attention. A fact I find less than amusing. Sometimes I’m an ass and tell her I’ve dressed her in mismatched clothes. I think it’s hilarious the way she blushes.
The bathroom is pitch dark. I can’t see a damn thing as I wrap myself in my towel and head toward our room. The sun has set, but there’s just enough light to be able to get dressed without trouble, thanks to the outdoor lights.
By the time Kylee is out of the bathroom, her long hair damp and short pajamas clinging, I’m already under the sheets. “Couldn’t you at least dry off better,” I gripe. “You’re going to get the bed all wet.” She grins slyly as she slides in next to me. She reaches for my hand and places my fingers against her lips so I can feel her words in the dark: “Whatever, Old Faithful.” I laugh and she laughs just as hard against my fingers. She always says I sound like ‘a barking seal with the hiccups’. I have no idea what that actually sounds like but she finds it funny, so I do too. The reference to Old Faithful comes from a very humiliating time when I had a tendency to wake up soiled every morning. Worse, Kylee took sick pleasure in recounting what I sounded like just before I erupted like the famous geyser.
“Whatever, Bloody Mary.” I’ve been around for all of my sister’s embarrassing puberty moments as well. So far. I sometimes fear she will want what everyone else seems to want, the kind of attention I can’t give her. There are times when she seems completely aware of herself. I don’t always understand and it’s unnerving and sends an odd, not uninterested, quiver through me. Our connection is such that I see her as a part of myself and yet…there are things about her that remain a mystery.
While I mused, our laughter died. “Are you still thinking about Defbobby? You’re quiet.” No. I had been staring at her in the dim light. I had been thinking about the warmth of her breath against my fingertips and the plump texture of her lips. Did she really not know? Or did she see more than she let on?
“No,” I replied, distracted. I’ve got enough cash in my pocket from odd jobs to get us some groceries for a week if we stick to soup and sandwiches. If I turn a few tricks, I can probably get the water turned on; it’ll be cold, but it’s better than using a pitcher. I’ll buy candles for the evenings. The problem will be convincing Kylee to let me do what I must do, so we can survive. It’s not like I enjoy it. People my age get paid shit and I’ve got grown up problems. Tomorrow is going to be a long day. I feel her body shift against mine, with impatience at my incomplete answer. “I was…I have some stuff I have to do tomorrow, groceries, shit like that. Do you think you can use Seemore tomorrow?” Kylee is fully capable of getting along with her walking stick, the same as I can read lips and communicate when necessary. We’re not helpless apart, just better together.
She nips me with her teeth and I suck in a breath. “Liar!” I know she’s yelling from the twist of her face and the forceful vibration of her mouth. “I know what you’re going to do.” She swats my hand away from her face and turns away. The angry line of her back smacks of judgment. How nice of her to have the luxury when all I’ve ever done is for her. Always for us. My eyes sting and my nose tickles. But then Kylee reaches back for my hand and wraps my arm around her.
We don’t often bother with phrases like, ‘I love you.’ Instead, my sister pulls me close, even when she’s furious with me, because she knows I’m vulnerable in my sleep. I forgive her instantly. I can never allow myself to forget that all her anger and worry is for us.
Settling in behind her with our pillow lodged in between us, I wait patiently for Kylee’s body to go soft in my embrace. It isn’t long before we’re asleep.
B&N (coming soon)