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It still hurts. All of it. The entire past few days. I grab the bottle of . . . what the hell am I even drinking? I read the label. Tequila. I grab the bottle of tequila and slide to the floor because I’m starting to feel dizzy. I grab my pen and notebook and open to the first blank page I can find. I squeeze my eyes shut until my vision feels sturdier. I feel wobbly. My hand feels wobbly when I start writing.

Dear inhabitants of Dollar Voss. Every last one of you. Except Moby. He’s the only one I like and still have respect for at this point.

I have so much anger building inside of me, and it has nothing to do with me. It’s anger at almost every single person in this house. Anger due to all the secrets you’ve been keeping from each other, from the outside world. I refuse to hold on to any of it for one more second. Every day, there are more and more secrets and I’m tired of looking like the bad guy. You all hate me. You all think every argument in this house is my fault. You all wonder why I’m so damn BRASH all the time. IT’S BECAUSE OF ALL OF YOU!

Where do I even begin?

How about I begin with the oldest secret? Did you think I would forget, Utah? Did you think, because I was only twelve, that I wouldn’t remember the night you forced me to kiss you?

It’s hard to forget something like that, Utah. If you knew how much I worshipped you as my big brother, you would understand why it’s so hard to forget when you did what you did.

“It’s not a big deal, Merit.”

That’s what you said to me when I shoved you away. You tried to make it seem like I was overreacting to what had just happened. One minute I was in my brother’s room watching a movie, the next minute my brother was trying to kiss me.

I ran out of your room that night and never looked back. Not once. I’ve never been to your bedroom since then. I’ve never allowed myself to be alone with you since then. And it’s like you don’t even care. You never even apologized. Do you even feel guilty?

Is that why you find it so difficult to look me in the eye? Because the few times you do look at me, you look at me with contempt and disgust. The same way I look at you.

All of you think I’m rude to Utah. You’re all telling me, “Calm down, Merit.” Think about how you would feel if your family tried to force you to be nice to the brother who stole your first kiss from you.

You disgust me, Utah. You disgust me and I’ll never forget and I’ll never forgive you.

But at least you have Honor. She worships you because she didn’t endure the side of you I endured. She thinks you’re sweet and innocent and the best thing to ever happen to her. She looks at me the same way you do, but only because she can’t understand how I can treat you so terribly when you do nothing to deserve it.

I know you probably find all of this hard to believe, Dad. Yes, I’m speaking to you now, Barnaby Voss. I’ve said all I need to say to Utah.

You’ve set the perfect example for us on how to treat each other, haven’t you? You created this beautiful family, but as soon as your wife became ill and couldn’t satisfy your needs anymore, you slept with her nurse. You couldn’t even be discreet about it. Couldn’t you have slept with her and then pretended it never happened once Mom got better? No. You had to take it a step further on the selfish scale and screw Victoria without a condom. Now we’re stuck with a woman who hates us. A woman who hates our mother.

I wonder how Victoria would react if she knew you were still sleeping with Mom?

Yeah, that sentence probably shocked ALL of you.

Sorry, Victoria, but it’s true. I saw it with my own two eyes. At least we have an explanation now for why our mother still dresses up every day. She lives in your basement, hoping her ex-husband will sneak down and pay her a visit, so she keeps her makeup pretty and her hair perfect and her legs nice and smooth.

Your husband is probably why our mother still lives here in the basement. He’s doing so much damage to her mentally that she’s under his complete control. He gets you in the bedroom and my mother in the basement. And you’re both Victoria, so he doesn’t even have to worry about screaming out the wrong name! He’s living every man’s fantasy. He doesn’t even have to worry about the two of you overlapping because he’s got my mother so doped on medication, she’s too scared to even leave the basement.

And don’t think you’re getting off easy, Mother, simply because I feel sorry for you. I liked you more before I knew you were still sleeping with Dad. At least then I could excuse why you’re still here, living in a dungeon, wasting away your life. I thought it was because of your social phobia, but now I know it’s because you’re playing some kind of sick game, trying to win Dad back. Well guess what, Mom? He’s not taking you back! Why would he? You open your legs to him any time he wants it.

You’re probably more pathetic than he is. At least he’s raising his children. At least he’s working to put food on the table and a roof over our heads. He’s damn shitty at the whole father thing, but he’s a much better parent than you’ve ever been to us. So yeah, consider this my goodbye. I won’t be visiting you in the basement anymore. If you care about any of us, you’ll suck it up, get a job, move out, and get a life!

Who else?

Oh! Let’s not forget the newest addition to Dollar Voss. Luck Finney! He seems great, doesn’t he? Shows up this week, makes up with his sister and then almost fucks his step-niece.

Granted, it was my idea to lose my virginity to him. Not like it would have made a difference to him since he’s had sex over three hundred times! But now that I know he’s making his way through ALL the Voss siblings, I feel even cheaper than I felt after what I’m sure would have been the worst sexual experience in history . . . had he been able to go through with it.

Maybe he couldn’t finish with me because he prefers dick. Utah’s dick, at least.

Oh! Did no one know Utah was gay? Not that I have anything against anyone being gay. Love is love, right? But I just didn’t know that about Utah. But yes, Utah is gay and he’s sleeping with Luck. I know because I walked in on them. I can’t get the image of them out of my head no matter how hard I try. It’s embedded there, just like the image of Sagan when he called me an asshole.

He was right, though. I am an asshole. What kind of person betrays their own twin sister in the worst possible way? Of course, the fact that I pretended to be Honor so I could kiss Sagan wasn’t really a betrayal, considering Honor and Sagan aren’t even a thing. But how was I supposed to know that? Honor doesn’t tell me anything! A sister should know who her own twin sister is dating! But I still somehow get stuck with everyone’s secrets, and then you all beg me to keep them from everyone else!

Kind of like the one I’m keeping for Honor right now. She’s off with some guy tonight, probably naked with him on his death bed.

Can we please address this?

Can we please discuss how disturbing it is that Honor is obsessed with the terminally ill?

Why is this okay?

Why have you not put her in therapy, Dad?

WHO IN THEIR RIGHT MIND SEEKS OUT LOVE FROM PEOPLE WHO ARE DYING?

Honor, from one sister to another, please get help. You need it. Desperately.

Who am I forgetting? Moby? I won’t even go there. Just someone please save this kid from this family before it’s too late.

Sagan, I really don’t have anything negative to say about you. You’re quite possibly the only sane one living in this house. I guess in a way that’s your flaw. You actually have the option to leave, yet for some reason, you stay with the most screwed-up family in Texas. Your family must really suck. Is that why you’ve never met your own sibling? Because you were smart enough to get as far away as you could?

Well, that was fun. I think I feel better now that all your secrets are no longer my responsibility. In the future, keep your shit to yourself because I don’t care.

I’ll say it again in case none of you are getting it.

I.

Don’t.

Care.

Sincerely,

Merit

I slap the pen to the page.

That felt good. Too good. I feel like a weight has been lifted and it’s now evenly disbursed among every person in this family. Or at least it will be once I make copies for everyone.

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