Tonight the Streets Are Ours / Page 17

Page 17


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If you’re here, then congratulations! You’ve found my blog. Welcome! Stick around awhile.

I want to be a writer when I grow up. Actually, I want to be a writer right now, and also when I grow up. Today is my seventeenth birthday, so I have made a new year’s resolution. (Yeah, it’s not the new year for everybody, but it’s a new year for ME, so, good enough.) I’m going to post here every day, and that will be good writing practice, and also when it’s time for me to write my memoirs, I will already have these collected notes on my teen years. You’re welcome, Future Peter.

My dad says that I don’t want to pursue a career as a writer because writers are—what did he say? Something like “congenitally miserable alcoholics.” If he’s right, then I guess I’ll fit right in! Haha, kidding.

Also, my dad is a congenitally miserable alcoholic, too, and he doesn’t even produce any writing or whatever to show for it. You can be a congenitally miserable alcoholic even if all you do is manage hedge funds, apparently. Seems like a waste. If you’re going to have the tortured soul of an artist, then you might as well create some art while you’re at it.

Arden smiled a little at Peter’s description of his father. It was nice to know that her mother wasn’t the only screwed-up parent around. And now that she knew Peter was just a year older than she was, she felt even more intrigued by him and his miserable dad and the girl who broke his heart and the mysteriously disappeared brother.

She wanted to read whatever came next, but more than that, she wanted to know where Peter’s brother went. So she skipped forward a few months. At last she found an explanation, in a post dated just a couple weeks before Bianca and Peter’s breakup.

September 24

I know I haven’t written here for a while, and I’m sorry.

I’m sorry for a lot of things, in fact.

I don’t really know where to start. That’s the problem with updating a website every day: once you miss a week, you’ll be behind forever.

So, basically, my brother ran away. He’s been gone for a week now, and he’s left no trace. He’d only been at college for a month, and from all we heard from him, he seemed to be fitting in well, making friends, going to classes, learning stuff, I don’t know, whatever it is people do at college.

And then he took off.

None of his new college friends know where he went. None of his old high school friends have heard from him. The cops say they can’t be much help because he’s eighteen, he’s a legal adult, he can go where he wants. There’s no sign of him; it’s as if he never existed in the first place.

My dad is hiring a private investigator. He’s livid. He says, “I will spend every penny, if that’s what it takes to find that boy.” My mom keeps crying. It’s like they know it’s their fault. If they weren’t like this, maybe he wouldn’t have left.

Everyone’s asked me if he told me anything, if I have any ideas. Because we’re just a year apart, we’re supposed to be so close. We’re supposed to share things. From the time we were little kids, we shared toys, we shared clothes, we shared friends. But I’m as clueless as everyone else right now—how do you think that makes me feel?

I stayed home from school almost all last week. My parents stayed home from work. It’s as if he died. For all I know, maybe he is dead.

Can’t say that to my parents.

I remember when I was eight years old, when I finally really understood where babies come from—or at least, where my brother really came from. I asked him, “But what if Mommy and Daddy hadn’t adopted you? What if your birth parents had kept you? Or what if somebody else adopted you instead? What if Mommy and Daddy got the call about some other little boy two weeks before they got the call about you, and then by the time you were available, they weren’t looking for you anymore?”

“That was never going to happen,” he answered with the confidence of a nine-year-old who’s got it all figured out. “I always belonged to our family, even before Mom and Dad knew it, even before you were born. We didn’t have to come together exactly the way we did. But one way or another, it was going to happen.”

I always liked this explanation because it meant that if he and I ever lost each other along the way, we would always find each other again. That’s how it seemed to me, as a stupid little kid.

I don’t know what else to say. Why is it that I can find a million words to write about a party, and I can’t think of a single word to explain how I feel right now?

Arden turned away from the computer and hugged her quilt around herself, chilled to the bone. Because this, Peter’s story—this was why you needed to love people while you could, while they were right there in front of you. Because if you waited, it might be too late.


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