“Three of Us” Chapter One

My name’s Chrissy Cyren.

Cyren. You know, like “hi”, except with a K sound at the beginning and “wren”, like the bird.  Yeah, I know. Weird last name. But it works for me. Nice ring to it, I think. Most people can say it…most people.

Anyways, I camp out with my friends Alex and Zach. I’d say we’re a pretty good trio. I wouldn’t say I live with them, even though that’s really what I do. But here in kiddom, since we like to make things sound really cool and somewhat lame, I’d say we just hang out…all the time. Literally. 12-year-olds living the dream. We’re all orphans—even Alex.

Poor girl. Really. I mean, she’s never actually gotten over it. She’s one of those timid types that, at times, likes to get all mushy and cheesy and weird. She calls it “expressing herself”. I just call it a cheesy movie coming from her mouth.

It’s not that I completely hate it. I’ve gotten used to it. Alex is a cool girl, actually. We’ve been best friends since birth. And, come to think of it, we’ve never been totally the same. I guess that’s what keeps us together. She has short brown hair, and I have long blonde hair. She has blue eyes and I have green. She loves poetry and reading and I, well, don’t. She seems to have behavior standards…and Zach and I don’t really know what that means. She’s the mother-ish person out of the three of us. What can I say? She knows how to have fun, and how to kill joy. But, that’s who she is. One time she even told me it was time for bed. What the heck?

But she’s like that ‘cause her mother was like that. And her grandmother was like that. Alex was an only child. Maybe that’s why she’s not like other…kids. Anyway, I remember when she lived with her grandmother. Her mother had died in childbirth, and her dad left long before that. We don’t really know what happened to him. During lunch at school, Alex would describe living with her grandmother. Apparently it was a nightmare, (or, so I think as she tells it to me. She thought it was normal). Her grandmother was one of those demanding women that always asks for someone to wash their hair, since they’re too “weak” to squeeze shampoo out of the bottle. And her dentures would always sit on Alex’s nightstand because they shared a room together. Come on. Opening your eyes and seeing these fake teeth in a cup? Not creepy at all. Plus, every time Alex’s alarm would go off she’d instantly sit up and yell “EDDY GET THE GUN! EDDY GET THE GUN!”

“Eddy” was her hubby. She’d go blaming Alex for leaving the door unlocked during the night. (She seriously thought someone broke in the house. Every morning. And she seemed to repeatedly forget that she did it every day).

This was all what Alex told me. She tells it with a casual air, and I’m sitting there thinking I would go insane. Day after day with my screaming grandma on the other side of the room, I think I’d bust.

It doesn’t matter anymore, though. Her grandmother died when Alex turned 11 ½. Yes. Her half-birthday. (We kids find half-birthdays as important as real ones). Her grandmother had a concussion after curling her hair. Apparently a small cockroach had crawled inside the clamper thingy, and it crawled into her hair. Then later that night when guests were over, it decided to come out on her face. Enough said. Alex handled it really well, though. She didn’t hesitate to join me and Zach on our brilliant newly-acquired adventure. More on that later.

So we got out of that house lickety-split before the police showed up to take Alex…to wherever they were going to take her. Alex claims she didn’t have any close relatives to take her in. Maybe that’s why she let me and Zach convince her to come with us. You see, we were there that night her grandma died, since we were invited to the party. For safety reasons…we didn’t go to the funeral, since the police might conveniently show up behind us.

So that’s Alex in a nutshell.

Then there’s Zach. Good old Zach. I first met him at Jumpstreet—this indoor trampoline park that was by where we live. I had my seventh birthday party there. He was jumping and running all around to his heart’s content. I don’t really remember how we got to playing together. We just did. We became fast friends though. I was seven back then, and when I was seven, I found his gelled but spiky black hair extremely attractive. (Yes, I was convinced it was black. Now that I’m older, though, I think it’s just a really dark brown. He’s never told me.) And his dark eyes and silky smile really made my stomach turn. I must have gotten used to it though, ‘cause now he smiles at me like that when he’s teasing me, and it just annoys me.

Zach’s pretty reckless, I got to admit. He will risk anything—I repeat: anything—to have some sort of fun. Even if it’s just a prank on some random person he doesn’t know, he will not give up the chance. He and Alex are complete opposites. But they get along pretty well. At least they don’t kill or yell at each other. Zach annoys Alex to no end with his love for sneaking around and prank setting and video games and awful habits. But she handles it pretty well for a girl like her. Me? I love Zach. Not romantically. I just like him because he’s fun, and he lets me have fun with him. Alex comes along too, but she draws her limits.

I really don’t know much about his past. Orphan, yes. But how?—I’m not exactly sure. Zach has lived nearly all his life alone, so he says. According to him, he ditched his babysitter one day and took off on his own. But it’s hard for me to believe that he ran away before kindergarten—it just doesn’t seem possible. Alex thinks that he was abandoned at birth…but then, how could he take care of himself from birth? As for me…how should I know? Do I care that much? I mean, at least he’s here now. He keeps a lot of his past away from me and Alex, which is sad, since we all tell each other everything. It’ll always be a mystery. I keep telling Alex that we’ll never know. And she seems to subside to that.

I guess now you want to know about me. I’m parentless. And sibling-less, at least as far as I know. My mom was actually an alcoholic. I don’t like to talk about it. They arrested her and they say she killed herself while in a really bad hangover. Dillon, my little brother, was eight at the time. I was ten. Zach, whom I had known since my birthday party, heard about what happened and asked if Dillon and I wanted to go with him. You see, Zach doesn’t have any guardian or parent or anything. Homeless is a really bad way to put it, ‘cause that makes him sound like a jobless bum. No, he did what most kids pretty much worship—going wherever he wanted, when he wanted. So I accepted that offer, since I knew CPA would be after us in less than 24 hours. So I packed what I needed and left. Dillon followed us…but not for long. He got caught by the police. I don’t know where they took him. CPA? Orphanage? Foster care? Who knows?

Zach knew I wanted to go back for him, but he couldn’t let me. If we were caught than it’d be all over for both of us. So we didn’t. Today I think of it like this: Police are nice guys, and they aren’t going to punish Dillon for anything he did. If anything they’ll find a good home for him or else somewhere where he’s happy. I can’t afford to think otherwise; I can’t do anything about it.

Zach and I were joined by Alex a year and a half later. We were three. And no one knew about us. Going wherever and doing whatever…whenever we wanted.

Oh. I don’t think I mentioned where we live—sorry—“hang out”.

Sorry about that. Yeah we live in Wal-Mart.

~J.L. Cordova

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