Bruno and I were put into human society until the age of thirteen, when our powers awakened. We went to human school and learned human things. We were just normal children at the time. Well, normal in the sense that we had no powers. However, my brain aged twice as fast as Bruno, so I was years ahead of my grade as far as learning goes. But I tried not to show it.
Bruno and I had to be kept in the same class because he would cry if we were separated. We were deemed twin brothers, and because of my nickname, our last name was "Glass." Dark Glass and Bruno Glass. I was called "Dark" by most people. However, Bruno never liked the connotation of the word "Dark" because it sounded like I was bad or something, so he preferred to call me "Glass." That was when he was in an okay mood, however. If he was depressed or upset, he would call me "Dark." He called me by my full name when he was scared or when he was trying to calm me down when I was angry. I don't think he even realized he did this. But by this way, I could tell how he was feeling.
We never fit in with the other kids at school. We were shy and kept to ourselves, especially Bruno. I was okay interacting with other kids, but Bruno was too shy, and always hid behind me. No one really picked on us either. We were just usually ignored, looked over. The other kids kind of sensed we were different and that we shouldn't be messed with.
Father put me on strong medication to keep my anger under control. However, there was no medicine to fix Bruno. School itself was medicine for him. He hardly cried at school, but he did often get depressed and silent. But needless to say, we both looked forward to school; our escape from home.
The first time we ever went to therapy was in first grade. It was because our teacher noticed that we never really interacted with others and just kept ourselves in our own little world. When the school therapist was explaining this to us, she said that this was normal for twins, but that we needed to learn how to make friends with others. It was my remark that got us in trouble.
"Why should we be friends with people who don't understand us?" I said smartly. The therapist gave me a strange look. "Understand you?" she asked. "We're not like them, or any of you," I said, "It's not just because we're twins." I said this mostly because in reality, we weren't twins. I was going to say more, but I felt a tug on my sleeve.
"Dark Glass…" Bruno whispered warningly. I became quiet. We were forbidden to talk about anything that happened at home, or about what we really were.
"Why do you call your brother by his full name?" the lady asked Bruno. Bruno was quiet, and I felt him hide behind me shyly. "Only sometimes…" he whispered. The lady frowned, and I could tell she thought we were strange. "I'll be right back," she said, and she disappeared into another room. I didn't realize it at the time, but what I said had caused us both to be put into actual therapy.
The lady came back and said, "Okay you two. There's someone else who would like to talk to you in the other room. Bruno, you're up first."
Bruno clung to my arm. "Uh uh," he said, shaking his head, "Not without Glass." "It's okay," the lady said, "You're brother will be right here when you get back. "No!" Bruno yelled, and then he burst into tears. "Okay, okay, you two can go together," the lady said quickly, and Bruno stopped crying. "Yay!" he said, smiling, rubbing his face into my arm to dry it. I stroked his head. Bruno was so loyal to me, even if he did just get my arm all wet.
We entered another room and a man greeted us this time. "Please, sit down. I have something I want to show you." We sat down together and the man pulled out a book. I instantly knew what they were.
"This is a book of ink splatters," he explained to us, "I'm going to show you some, and then you'll tell me the very first thing that pops into your head when you see it, like what shape it makes." "W-What happens if we get it wrong?" Bruno asked, a little fearfully. "You can't get it wrong," I said to him before the therapist could answer, "It's like a game. Just tell him what you think it looks like. It's so he gets to know us better." "Oh, okay," Bruno said. The man gave me a soft smile, like he was amused. "Okay, let's start," he said, and he opened the book.
The first one looked like a flower to me, so that's what I said. "It's toast!" Bruno said to the therapist. He smiled and then said, "Interesting…" before turning the page. "A bow," Bruno told him. "A… submarine," I answered hesitantly. He turned the page. I was about to say it looked like a dinosaur when Bruno let out a shriek and burst into tears. The therapist looked startled, but I was used to Bruno's frequent and random breakdowns. I instinctively pulled him into a comforting hug. "It's okay," I said to him softly, "It's alright… It's okay…" "It's the monster!" Bruno whimpered through his tears. "Monster?" said the therapist. "Bruno, it's not the monster," I told him, but he just shook his head and cried harder. I knew what Bruno was referring to. There was this one machine that father would hook us up to that scared Bruno senseless. All the machine did was process our brain waves while we ran hooked up to it, but the way the machine looked frightened him, and he would freak out when father tried to hook him up. Bruno called it "the monster." He must have seen a resemblance in the ink blot. "He doesn't like the ink stain," I told the therapist, and he put the book away.
"It's gone now," I said to Bruno. He peeked up and looked around. He stopped crying and pulled away from me. The man didn't ask us anymore questions. Instead, he called father to pick us up from school. When he arrived, he had a private chat with the therapist, and then we followed him to his car.
We rode in silence. The silence only lasted a few minutes, however, because Bruno burst into tears again. "A-Are w-w-we in t-t-trouble?!" he wailed. "Trouble? No, you're not in trouble," father said. Bruno sniffed and calmed down. "The school just wants to send you to therapy, that's all." There was silence. "Glass, what's therapy?" Bruno asked me.
I knew full well what therapy was: It was when adults thought there was something wrong with you, so they made you talk to them about how you felt and stuff. But I knew if I said this to Bruno it would cause him to start crying again because he would think there was something wrong with him. And maybe there was, but I wasn't about to say that.
"It's when people are extra nice to you and let you do fun things because they like you better," I lied to him. Bruno's face lit up and a huge smile spread across it. "Really?! They really like us?!" I nodded. Father didn't say anything. He was probably glad that I had found a way to keep Bruno happy. However, that little white lie came back to bite me in the future…
Our first therapy session started with art therapy. We were given paper and crayons to draw with. The previous night, father had lectured us about how to behave, and that we needed to act like a normal first graders with a normal family. He mostly aimed this towards me, because he knew I had strange, dark thoughts and acted more like a teenager, while Bruno acted more like the first grader he was. So I tried my best to act normal. But when the therapist asked us to draw something, I had no idea what to draw.
I tried drawing a simple house, but hated it so I crumpled it up. I tried a tress, but was dissatisfied with that also and crumpled it up too. I went through several sheets of paper before I threw the crayons down in desperation and gave up. If I hadn't been on such strong anger medication, I would have flipped over the table and stomped on the crayons.
"What's wrong?" The therapist asked me. "I didn't like any of the pictures…" I murmured. "Oh. Well, would you like to do something else?" he suggested. I shook my head. "I'll just wait for Bruno," I said, and I scooted over to him. He hid paper from me. "Wait, you can't see it yet!" he said, pushing me back. "Why?" I asked, a little annoyed that he had pushed me. "You'll see." He smiled, and my annoyed feelings instantly vanished.
I waited patiently while Bruno finished his picture. Finally, he set down his crayons and announced, "Done!" He showed me the picture, and I could feel the therapist inspecting it behind me. I gasped a little. "It's… you and me…"I said, and Bruno beamed. "Yep! It's us, because we're family!" I smiled warmly. That Bruno... He knew just what to do to yank at my heartstrings.
"If it's a picture of your family, then why didn't you draw your dad?" the man over my shoulder asked. Bruno's smile vanished. I suddenly panicked in my head. I recalled father's lecture from yesterday. He told us to view him as a normal father figure, a dad who's always part of our lives. Bruno may not have understood the importance of this, but I did. I knew that if our "family" proved to be dysfunctional, we could be taken away by the government. Then who would take care of us? No one else could, because we weren't like them. We weren't human. No one else could possibly understand how we worked, no one but father. So we'd be in BIG trouble if we were taken away. Bruno probably had no idea that this could happen. He probably spaced out during father's lecture, like he usually did. But I had listened. I understood. I had to save us.
"Well…" Bruno said quietly, "he's not… really… our dad…" "Not 'really' your dad?" the therapist repeated questioningly. Bruno opened his mouth to respond, but I cut him off.
"Bruno, 'dad' is just another word for 'father.' It's the same person," I told him in a purposely annoyed tone. He closed his mouth and was silent. "Oh…" he finally said quietly. "Why don't you draw him too?" I suggested. I gripped his arm and rubbed it gently like I did every time I wanted him to do something that I would explain to him later. "Okay…" he said in a soft voice. He no longer seemed happy like he was before. He mindlessly drew in what was supposed to be father. "Good, good," the therapist said, patting Bruno on the head approvingly. Bruno just looked down in silence. "Alrighty boys, the session is over," the man informed us, "Please go wait in the lobby for your dad to pick you up. I'm sure he'll love to see that picture, Bruno." Bruno remained silent.
We each sat down in a chair in the lobby. I glanced at Bruno who was being unusually quiet. He kept staring at his drawing. Suddenly, he turned to me, and I saw something strange in his eyes.
"Dark…" he whispered to me, and I became alarmed at him using that name for me, "I don't think father and dad are the same thing…" "What do you mean?" I asked him, but he turned away and was silent. "Bruno…"
We said nothing when father picked us up. The car was silent. Usually Bruno happily chatted away to me, but today, he was silent, and almost fidgety. He held the picture in his hands and frowned down at it. I watched him discreetly. Finally, Bruno looked up and gazed at the driver's seat. "Father, I drew a picture today," Bruno said, holding it out.
That was what our father, our dad, said to him.
"A-Aren't you going to look at it?" Bruno squeaked, his eyes becoming glossy with tears.
So that was it. No, "I'll look at it later," or "I'm sure it's beautiful and I'll hang it on the fridge," or even, "thank you," like any other normal family.
Bruno sat back in his seat and turned to stare out the window. I watched him uneasily.
And then it hit me.
Bruno wanted to be accepted by father. He wanted our father to be family. He wanted his picture to be reality. But reality had just slapped him in the face. Seven years of age and he was already learning the harsh truth of the world. I already knew though, because I was years ahead of him mentally. I felt a pain rise up from my gut to my chest, beating hard.
"I liked your picture Bruno," I said to him, hoping to cheer him up. He ignored me, not even acknowledging that he had heard me. So I too became silent. I knew there was nothing I could say right now to make him feel better. He was just going to have to let time heal him.
When we arrived home, father told us to go get ready for dinner. The two of us retreated to our room. I watched Bruno. He was acting strange. He stood in the middle of the room and stared at his drawing.
"Bruno, did you want me to hang that up?" I asked hesitantly. I expected him to just shake his head and toss the paper aside, but instead, he began to rip it up.
"Bruno!" I exclaimed, "What are you doing?!" And for the first time that I could remember in my seven years of life, Bruno shouted at me in anger.
"It was supposed to be a picture of just me and you!" he yelled at me, angry tears now running down his face, "But you made me draw him in it! It was supposed to be our picture! But you made me ruin it, for him!" He stomped on the ripped up pieces of the picture. "I thought it was us against him! I thought we were loyal to each other! I thought we didn't need him! I… I thought I was special to you! But you couldn't bear to not have him in the picture with us! You think of us the same! And he thinks of us as nothing! You think of me as nothing!" He couldn't keep himself together anymore. He burst into hard sobs and fell to his knees.
I was so shocked that I could do nothing at that moment. Everything he had just said… was that really what he thought? Just from my simple act of asking him to draw father in his picture?! Where was he getting these crazy ideas from?! But now I understood something else; Bruno didn't want father to be family, he wanted me, and he wanted me all to himself. He was jealous that I might possibly want father to be family, and that spur of jealousy had caused him to act, to invite father to be "one of us," but when father had rejected it, Bruno had become angry that I could ever want someone who didn't even care about us. That was why he was upset. And he had paid attention to father's lecture last night. He was absolutely right: father was not the same as dad.
"Oh, Bruno! That's not it at all!" I flung myself around him, "I didn't know that's how you felt! Oh Bruno, I'm so sorry! I'm so, so sorry!" I hugged him tighter as he continued to cry. "I love you more than anyone and anything in the whole world!" I reassured him, "I'm so sorry… I didn't mean to ruin your picture- our picture… I just wanted the therapist to think we came from a normal family, so he would like us better! (There was no way I could explain to him the real reason, at least not at that moment…) Oh Bruno… please forgive me…!" There I was again, at Bruno's mercy, begging him to forgive me. But it was different this time. This time, he was mad, not just upset, with me. I was scared. I wasn't used to him behaving like this. Had my anger rubbed off on him? Would he suddenly scream and hit me? Would he begin to call me bad names? I waited anxiously, all the while reassuring him how much he meant to me, and begging him to believe me. He continued to cry in long wails, which made me relax because that was his normal upset crying. Suddenly, he pushed away from me. I felt hurt, but only for a split second, because by the look on his face, I knew he did it for a reason.
I dove for the trash can and practically threw it at Bruno, who immediately threw up into it. I got next to him and held back his hair as he continued to get sick. His body had gotten too stressed from his angry outburst and incessant crying, and it had decided to punish Bruno for his feelings.
That incident marked the start of Bruno's "crying sickness." Whenever he had a day of constant crying, he would end up spending most of it in the bathroom. There was nothing I could do to help him. He wouldn't eat, he wouldn't drink, and he wouldn't talk about it. All I could do was hold his hair out of his face as he threw up, and try to tell him everything would be alright.
We continued to go to therapy. Bruno was always happy and excited to go, thinking it was a huge privilege and honor. When Bruno was happy, he was "normal," and I did my best to be normal too, because when I was happy, I was only content. I rarely smiled, and the only times I ever did was because of Bruno. But I did my best to fake it at therapy. I had to keep us safe, after all.
One day, however, Bruno had a crying episode before we had to leave for therapy, and he wouldn't calm down. Father was freaking out. He knew he couldn't bring Bruno there like this, and he couldn't reschedule, because it would seem suspicious. So he tried helplessly to calm him down.
"Bruno!" he scolded him, "Stop crying! There is nothing to cry about!" Of course, this only made Bruno cry harder. Father rubbed his temples in frustration. "C'mon Bruno," he pleaded, "I'll buy you ice cream after therapy if you stop, any flavor and any toppings you want. How 'bout that?" Bruno ignored him, which was serious because Bruno usually could not resist a chance to have ice cream. But the promise hadn't even fazed him. Father was out of ideas. He didn't know how to handle it because usually I was the one who took care of Bruno when he was crying. So father left it to me. "Dark Glass, take care of Bruno! We're leaving in ten minutes, got it?!" He left the room in a huff.
I sighed. I felt extremely bad because I knew I was going to have to force Bruno to bottle up his emotions, and I had no idea what kind of future consequence would come out of it. I thought hard about what to do. I tried being gentle, something father never was. I hugged my crying artificial half-brother and comforted him.
"It's okay, Bruno, it's okay," I whispered to him, "You don't have to cry anymore. I'm here, and I won't let anything hurt you." He didn't let up, not even a bit. I sighed. There was only one other way to do this. I had to trick him. Oh Bruno, please forgive me for this… I thought bitterly.
"Bruno, if you show up to therapy like this, they won't ever want us to come back," I told him. "W-What…?!" he sniffed. "They don't like crying," I explained, "and they'll never want us back. They'll look for someone else, someone who doesn't deserve this as much as you. Don't you think you deserve this privilege? I think you do…" Oh Bruno... I'm so sorry for this…
"You… You think I deserve it?" he sniffled, and I saw him look up at me with a smile. "Of course you do!" I told him, my insides tearing themselves up. He sniffled and wiped his face. "O-Okay…" he said softly, and I sighed with relief. It had worked! But only because he trusted me without hesitation… he was so gullible… I hated myself for deceiving him. I got Bruno to stop crying… but… I had a badddddd feeling in my stomach…
Bruno acted normally at therapy. That was, however, until art therapy. I usually just drew shapes, so I was drawing green squares. Bruno, however, always drew something interesting and different. I watched him as he drew. He seemed… depressed. Not that that was a surprise. I just hoped the therapist didn't notice…
I had drawn three different pictures by the time Bruno finished. "Show us what you drew Bruno," the smiling man said. Bruno hesitated, then reluctantly held up his drawing. It was a rainbow with black drops raining down from it. There was a red sun drawn in the corner with harsh lines radiating from it.
"What's going on in this picture?" the therapist asked inquisitively. Bruno looked down. "The rainbow… is sad… because the sun came out… and now it will disappear…" he explained softly. I mentally facepalmed myself. That definitely made him sound depressed! Especially in the tone he had said it!
"Hm… I see…" the man said, "But you know, rainbows don't always go away when the sun comes out. In fact, the sun shining while it's raining is what usually causes rainbows." "Hmph… What would you know…?" Bruno said sourly, and he threw his picture behind him. I watched the therapist anxiously. But he didn't seem fazed by this action. "What about you, Dark?" he said, turning his attention to me and disregarding Bruno. I looked down at my own drawings. One was green squares, one was red circles, and the other was blue triangles.
"They're shapes in one color each," I said, "I like it simple." I said this almost every time. But it was safer this way. I wasn't going to risk our life by drawing what I really wanted, which no seven year old, or sane person in general would ever think of drawing. I had to act like the seven year old that I physically was.
"I see…" said the therapist, as he always did. I glanced at Bruno. His eyes were glossy, and he was biting his lower lip. I could tell he was desperately trying to fight back tears at this point. Oh man… we need to get out of here soon… Just hang in there a little longer, Bruno…! I thought desperately.
Therapy was soon over, and we were waiting in the lobby for father to pick us up. Bruno was dead silent, and I could tell he was ready to just explode into sobs. I wanted to hug him reassuringly, but I was too afraid my touch might set him off. Not here… I couldn't let that happen here. But even in the car, Bruno remained silent. It was really starting to worry me. However, as soon as we got home, he ran inside, burst through our bedroom door, and threw himself on his bed and let out a horrible, painful cry, and burst into loud, heavy sobs. Father took no notice, and went straight to the kitchen to order the chefs around and prepare dinner. I cautiously entered my shared room and spotted Bruno sprawled on his bed, clutching the quilt as though his life were in danger. He was jerking and rolling around feverishly, as though he were a dog with a bad itch that he just couldn't seem to scratch.
I rushed over to him and put my full weight on him, trying to get him to stop twitching so violently. I had never seen him act like this before! He was thrashing around making weird, choking noises. "Bruno, please calm down!" I begged him, lying right on top of him. After what seemed like an eternity, Bruno finally stopped thrashing and just laid there, taking deep, gasping breaths. I was scared out of my mind. Had Bruno finally lost it? Was he broken? Would he ever be 'normal' again? I hugged him tightly and rested my head on his back. I only dared to get off him when his breathing was back to normal. When I checked him, he was asleep, his face sticky with dried tears. I flipped him over and tucked him in. He moaned a little, but didn't wake up. I got a wet wash cloth and cleaned his face. Then I just laid down next to him and cuddled with him. I was too afraid to leave him even for a minute, though he would probably be fast asleep for the rest of the day. I knew I could never let Bruno bottle up his sorrow like that ever again. And there was no help for him. Father tried him on multiple anti-depressants, none of which worked, and the therapy wasn't making him better either. There was nothing we could do but deal with it, just as I had to deal with my anger.
We were hopeless.