Today isn’t the first time I’ve wished for a brother. An older brother, big and strong, to look after us. Instead, it’s just me and my little sister Minnie. Yeah, as in Mouse. Our mum has kind of a thing for Disney. It gets worse though. You wanna know my name? Wait for it. You’ll laugh. It’s ok, I’m used to it. It’s Bambi. Yeah, you heard right, Bambi. Who names a kid Bambi? My crazy mother, that’s who. I just tell people to call me B, and they figure it’s for Belinda. Suits me fine.
So anyway. I was wishing for a brother. In a Disney movie, I bet we’d really have one already, but he’s off saving princesses or something. He’ll be back to announce his marriage to, I dunno, Pocahontas or Ariel or someone, any day now. We’d have to teach Ariel to write, though. Having no voice wouldn’t have been a problem if she’d been able to write.
Minnie’s crying again. She does that a lot, even when nothing’s happened. I don’t think she remembers what it was like before dad died, but she’s not stupid. She knows our lives aren’t what you’d call ideal. I try to tell her, the original Bambi lost a parent tragically and still managed a happy ending. But she just says she’d rather be Jasmine, because she’s a princess right from the start. That’s Minnie’s favourite movie, although I think she closes her eyes whenever Jafar is on.
It sounds like mum’s woken up. She doesn’t know we can hear the squeaky cupboard door from our room, but it’s pretty loud. It’s the first place she goes when she gets out of bed, even though she tells us she never touches it until midday. She’s talking to someone, too, so I guess that means Mike or Brad or Dave or whoever it was stayed over last night. They always have names like that, but since none of them ever last, I don’t bother remembering. You might think that’s rude, but they don’t care. They never remember our names either, if they even knew them to start with.
Minnie’s listening to them too, I can tell, even though she’s still sniffling. She’s staring at the door, and I know she’s hoping the same thing as me: that it stays closed. I offer to read to her to distract her, but she shakes her head sullenly. I forgot about the last time one of mum’s boyfriends – or whatever they are – found us reading. He called us fancy-pants intellectuals, and said we thought we were better than him. And then he hit us. Mum just watched and didn’t do anything. So I don’t blame Minnie for refusing now.
Footsteps start coming towards us, slow and heavy. That’ll be Dave or whoever. Minnie’s face goes kind of pale, and I can feel myself tense up too. But they keep going, past our door, into the kitchen. The shuffling sound coming along after is mum in her slippers, but she goes right by us too. We relax a bit, and now Minnie wants to read.
A few pages into Alice in Wonderland, the front door slams shut, and we know Mike or whoever is gone, so it’s just mum to deal with for the rest of the day. Brad or whoever didn’t hit her or yell at her, and they even had coffee together, so she’ll be okay today. I guess we don’t need a brother today.