Fifteen-year-old Travis burst into the kitchen holding his art work high in the air. “Mom! Out-standing!”
“Alright!” Sally gave him a high-five then patted him on the back side. Very nice work, Buddy.” She hung it on the refrigerator beside his twin brother’s A+ Geometry test.
Trenton stormed into the room. He bumped into Travis on his way to the fridge then stuck his head in deep and pulled out a soda.
Sally put her hand on his shoulder and he shook it off. “What’s up with you, Trent? Bad day at the office?”
Travis stood beside him and pointed. “See my out-standing paper, Brother?”
“I see it,” Trenton growled, “and don’t call me brother.”
Travis grabbed hold of himself and hummed.
“Trent didn’t mean it, did you Trent?” Sally gave him her most piercing glare.
“I have homework.” Travis started to walk away but in a sudden spark of compassion, turned and the twin-ness overwhelmed him. “Good job, Trav.”
Travis lunged at Trenton leaving a major drool trail in his wake and spilling soda on Trenton’s white tshirt.
“Uho, Trav, not such a happy face. Keep that mouth closed, remember?” Sally wiped off the drool.
“Trenton, go on upstairs and we’ll talk later. Be prepared.”
Travis poked Trenton in the arm and echoed his mom’s words, “Yeah, beeee prepared.”
Trenton put his head down and muttered as he walked away, “Shut up, Retard.”
“I heard that,” Sally called up after him.
“Heard dat,” the echo followed him up the stairs.
Sally prayerfully made her way up to Trent’s room. “Ear buds out, Son. What’s going on with you lately?” Sally moved away a pile of books and settled herself on his bed.
“It’s hard having Travis for a brother, you know?”
“You’ve been brothers your whole life. What’s different now?”
Trenton thought for a second. “I guess me. Mom, I failed a history test and I come home to see a page that Travis scribbled and there’s a big OUTSTANDING on it. Are you kidding me? I spent hours studying for that test and Trav kept bugging me. School’s getting harder and he’s in my way.”
“You know, it’s hard on him, too, being a twin brother to a genius.”
“Ha! I’m no genius.”
“You are to him. You’re the most important person in his world. It could have just as easily been you that had the defective gene.”
“I know. Maybe it shoulda been me. He’s a better person than I am, that’s for sure. He always forgives me when I’ve been a moron. He never yells. He blames himself when I get mad at him.”
Sally poked him. “He is pretty outstanding, huh?”
Trenton laughed, “Seems to be the word for the day.”
Sally curled up beside her son; she wrapped her arms around his waist; and she whispered in his ear. “I think you’re pretty outstanding, too.”
“You have to say that.”
Sally smiled, enjoying the sweetness of the moment.
“Mom, doesn’t it ever make you sad having to take care of Travis? You have to wipe away his drool and wipe his butt after he poops. You have to help him get dressed and wash his hair. What if something happens to you and Dad? What then?”
Tears pooled in Sally’s eyes. “Yeah, what then?”
Trenton burrowed in closer to her.
“Your dad and I talk about that all the time: the why’s, the what if’s, the what then’s. Maybe I’m in denial but I just want to focus on the outstanding’s right now, okay?”
“Sure, Mom, I get it.” The two sat quietly, snuggled in close until Trenton broke the silence. Mom?”
“I’m too old to snuggle like this. You know that, right?”
“I know but you’re letting me and I went with it.”
“Know what else, Mom?”
“I’m so tired. I don’t even have the energy to guess right now so why don’t you just tell me.”
“You’re pretty outstanding yourself.”
Sally sat up in bed and fixed her hair. “I am, aren’t I? It’s time for this outstanding Mom to go fix two outstanding boys and one outstanding Dad a super outstanding dinner. How’s that sound?”
“Well, I’d say outstanding, but that would sound super stupid. How about, good, cuz I’m starving!”
“Okay. You, do homework. Dinner at seven. And Trent, please be nice to your brother from now on.”
“You are too funny, Mom. Brothers are never nice but I’ll tone it down some. I promise.”
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