A House on the Strangely Named Street


Back in middle school, I used to walk home from school everyday, and everyday I would pass by this house on the corner at the end of a passing street. I was greeted by a grown man by the name of Zeus, and we gradually became familiar with one another as I’d pass by the house on each walk home. An artistic man, I’d often catch him singing in his garage and on occasion, was invited to join him. We played basketball once or twice together, and he even showed me his dog. A while after we’d met, I’d see him again, with blood and bruises on his face and a baseball bat.

He told me he was beaten outside of a store by police.

With his bat, he’d show me an artwork he created from blue spray paint on the sidewalk, explaining its significance. I never really did understand it though—it had to do with religious concepts I wasn’t knowledgable about. From time to time, he’d point the bat towards me to emphasize a point. It was a little frightening; he made it a point that he wasn’t trying to be. He never really did seem the same after that day.

Photo of Zeus’ old art, taken by me

His mother (I assume) told me that they had to attend a therapy session for Zeus shortly thereafter, so I saw them off in their car. After I was done with middle school, I stopped seeing him so often as high school was much farther from home than middle school, so I’d walk past the corner less often. 

It wasn’t until months later in which I would indirectly hear about Zeus from my sister, except I didn’t know it was him at the time.

Mom’s Cancer

I think it was around that time, elementary school. Yes, that’s right. Early in elementary school. Mom had been diagnosed with cancer. It shook the house and lopped off the roots, that cancer. I don’t remember so much since I was so little, but I remember some things. The hospital room, Mom’s chemotherapy, her absence.

The worst thing about it when I remember it, is that I didn’t understand at the time. For the most part, I carried on with my life like nothing was happening. I only slightly remember one of the hospital visits, but honestly, I just wanted to go home. Not because it was terribly sad to see my Mom in the hospital, but because I wanted to play games at home. Because there was nothing entertaining for me to do at the hospital.

Photo credit to Bret Kavanaugh on Unsplash

The weeks Mom was in the hospital, I’m sure Dad had to work harder. I’m sure it was difficult for my siblings, who had to focus on class whilst their mom was getting treatment. The gravity of the situation failed to reach my mind. It’s not like there was much I could’ve done as a child, but just knowing that I almost “didn’t care”, because I failed to realize my Mom was going through something rough makes me feel bad sometimes. It’s not like she ever truly escaped it either, the scars are still there, and she still takes medicine for it.

I was talking to my sister about it one day, asking her why she was always late to class in high school. 

“Yeah, no, having a zero period was not it. I could barely wake up on time, and that was around the time Mom had cancer too.”

It only hit me then, how much cancer affected the family. It wasn’t just my mom, though surely she had the brunt of it. It wasn’t just one person. It was everyone. Everyone except me.


I have always been the one to cause trouble to my family. 

My parents would tell me, “Your sisters were so easy to raise, but you’re so difficult.”

During elementary school, I would often get sent to the principal’s office for doing something stupid, saying something stupid, or because I wasn’t doing what I was supposed to do. In middle school, I was banned from my end-of-the-year field trip because I mistakenly involved myself with something my friend was doing. My parents would have to talk to the school later, just to get me out of trouble. 

During elementary school, I would often get sent to the principal’s office for doing something stupid, saying something stupid, or because I wasn’t doing what I was supposed to do. In middle school, I was banned from my end-of-the-year field trip because I mistakenly involved myself with something my friend was doing. My parents would have to talk to the school later, just to get me out of trouble. 

Photo by Artyom Kabajev on Unsplash

At home, I caused trouble, but in different ways. I was an extremely picky eater–I hated many vegetables and all seafood. Mom would have to cook separate meals for me just to get me to eat. When they weren’t having it, I’d have to sit at the dinner table and eat whatever the meal was, sitting there until I finished, which sometimes was hours. I often got into fights with my siblings and my parents, mostly my fault, but sometimes theirs as well. 

I’m not sure what happened, exactly, but the trouble stopped chasing me. Perhaps it was just maturity and growing up, but after the sixth grade, I stopped getting into trouble. I’d fight less with my parents and significantly less so with my siblings, I’d started to eat a larger variety of foods to put less of a burden on my parents, and I started pursuing success more. It’s strange. Nowadays, I can’t imagine breaking any rules.

A Room of My Own

Growing up, there were not enough rooms in my house for everyone to have their own. My parents doubled up, two of my sisters doubled up, and my eldest sister got her own room. The extra rooms downstairs were rented out for tenants, so the place I slept was the “living room” upstairs. It’s not actually a living room. It’s just the space that connects my eldest sister’s room and my other sisters’ rooms together to the stairs. In this room, I would sleep on a mattress pushed into a corner of the room. I didn’t like it. In fact, I hated it. There was no privacy, no space to call my own, and worst of all, my sisters would be up late doing work across the room with the lights on while I’m trying to sleep. 

After many years of this setup, my sisters pitched an idea. They offered to get me a room divider for my birthday (or was it Christmas?); I was ecstatic. Once the time came, we put it up, and it was amazing. It provided basically everything I wanted. Now and again, my sisters would peep through the curtain to talk to me or see what I was doing, which kind of defeats the purpose but it was alright. But more importantly, it felt like something was missing. About a year or two after, my eldest sister went to college, so I took over her room. There wasn’t much of a need for the curtain anymore, so away it went. I realized then what the feeling was—isolation. It was nice to have your own area, but I frequently had the divider closed or the door locked, separating my sisters from me. I enjoyed their company; I wanted the feeling of openness again. To this day, I keep my door wide open so that they can come talk to me whenever they would like to, and they do the same for me.

Photo by Jose Castillo on Unsplash


I once threw a pair of scissors at my sister’s face. I missed, and I was also too young to remember, but it happened. My sisters and I didn’t always get along, like dogs and cats really, but we got better at it as we got older. Even now, I’d say that we’re difficult with each other on occasion. Sometimes they’re not honest about how they feel. Sometimes I’m too honest with how I feel. Regardless, there is no one in the world who knows me better than my siblings. Like telepathy, communication is so clear and easy; nothing to hide, embellish, lie. 

I like to walk with my friends alot, whether it be at school, a park, or the neighborhood, but I don’t always have something to say. The walk is nice, I appreciate it. But, I can’t help but feel bad when there’s nothing to say–to see how others somehow always have more to say. It’s just not like that with family. It’s like we both know, if there’s nothing that needs to be said, then it’s fine. Silence with others it’s awkward, with my sisters it’s peace.

Photo by Juliane Liebermann on Unsplash

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