Dionté tapped his foot impatiently, arms folded. Darrell stood placidly next to him, his broad shoulders set back and chin striking up. Dionté noted how his brother’s budding muscles stretched his gray suit, distinguishing him as an upcoming man. Dionté, however, itched under his awkwardly fitted dress shirt and pants. His eyes darted around the cluttered room, anxiety itching at his chest. He swore to clean up again when they returned, even though his mom and aunt would wreck it in a day. Darrell followed his brother’s gaze, wrinkling his nose in mutual distaste of mess. Their mother hollered from the kitchen.
“You boys seen my keys?”
Dionté threw his arms in the air, sighing in exasperation. Darrell rotated his head towards his little brother, shaking his head and grinning, as though to say typical.
“Is it in your purse?” yelled Dionté.
Dionté swore he heard his mother curse. Darrell slid back his dress sleeve to peek at his watch.
“Momma! We gotta go!” he boomed.
“Damn it Darrell I’m hustlin’! If you in such a hurry help me look for my keys!”
Darrell rubbed his palm into his forehead, releasing a deep sigh. Dionté recognized his brother’s method of self-soothing. Patting his shoulder, Dionté winked.
“In your purse!”
“Dionté I’mma’ spank you for that!”
“Momma you can’t! 12 is too old for spankins’,” argued Darrell.
Dionté rolled his eyes and trotted into the kitchen, returning with the keys.
“Found ‘em for real!”
“You left ‘em in the damn fridge again.”
Their mother grumbled. It took another 20 minutes to get her and their aunt loaded into the car. Darrell attempted to clock practice drive time, but the boys were doomed to sit together in the back seat. Their mother and aunt giggled and gossiped in the front. Dionté made silent impressions, Darrell suppressing his laughs. Traffic thickened. Their mother cursed.
“If you knew where your things were we would be there by now,” said Dionté.
His mother reached around and swatted his knee while Darrell grit his teeth. Traffic shuddered again. The light changed to yellow. Again his mother cursed, her foot pressing on the gas. Dionté looked at Darrell with disgusted eyes, only metal and glass met his vision.