“Come on! The photographer’s going to be here any minute and you’re still not dressed!”

Mother can be a pain sometimes. She really needs to calm down. I used to slip Rescue Drops into the cups of tea I made her to get her to chill the fuck out, but she realized what I was doing and now she won’t touch anything I make.

Family photo day is one of the many days a year when the thoughts of just packing a bag and leaving pops into my head. We all have to dress up in these matching outfits and pose, smiling as though our world isn’t falling apart. This year’s theme was ‘The Rainbow’.

There’s seven of us in the photo this year. I suggested the seven deadly sins when she asked for my opinion. It didn’t work. That idea was shot down. All I got was a plate thrown at my head because I said that Lust had already left so we couldn’t really do it anyway.

Oh yeah, father cheated on mother with some slut from down the road.

Slut was already married. The man of slut is a bit of manslut himself and also liked the look of father, so now he’s is living with them. At least he gets to ride the tricycle as often as he likes.

Mother, the Matriarch

Mother is dressed in red, which matches her eyes. She’s been crying every night, even though she tries to seem composed during the day. You’ll hear the clink of wine bottles every now and then from her handbag as she tries to hide them on the way out so that she can throw them in the bin.

Jake, the Rugby Jock

Jake is dressed in orange, which matches the ginger hair of his down-low boyfriend that his girlfriend knows nothing about. He’s pretty good-looking, which might be little weird to say because he IS my brother, but it’s just an observation, not an opinion. He’s just a little too into himself, always trying to make himself look better in his eyes. He’s got more product than me, Claire, Barbara and mother combined.

Claire, the Saint

Claire is dressed in yellow, matching her pallid face. Guess that’s what happens when you have morning sickness. Yes, my slightly older sister is pregnant and even though she says her Catholic boyfriend is the father, I’ve often seen her sneak up some dark chocolate to her room to eat out at her pleasure. Everyone pretends not to hear her headboard banging late at night.

Adam, the Academic 

Adam is dressed is green, matching the weed plants he grows in the basement. Yes, my younger brother is a druggie, but his shit is the good stuff. He peddles it on the corners far from our area so that he isn’t recognized. Weed is the least of his stash. The rest of them just think he’s an avid botanist, he does have high academic scores after all, but they can’t be as high as he is right now. He stares off into the distance as Mother bustles around jostling outfits around to neaten them up.

Barbara, the Busty

Barbara is dressed in blue, the only one in long sleeves. She doesn’t match her veins anymore, since they were cut open a few days ago and are now bandaged to keep them closed and healing. Barbara has an incredible set of tits, so incredible that her boyfriend took a video of himself fucking them and posted it online. She couldn’t deal with the backlash and neither could he mentality. I was the one who found her. Mother thinks that it happened because dad left.

Fetch, the Dog

Fetch is a literal dog. He is wearing an indigo sweater mother found somewhere. It matches nothing about him. It actually clashes horribly with his fur. I can see Jake and his sense of style being offended just by being in Fetch’s presence. Fetch doesn’t care, he just lays there and licks himself.

Me, the Loner

I’m dressed in a garish shade of violet. Its terrible. I should be multicolored, since I’ve inherited the best qualities of my family.

From Red, I get my binge drinking.

From Orange, I get my bisexuality.

From Yellow, I get my weird taste in sexual partners.

From Green, I get my habit of getting high when shit hits the fan.

From Blue, I get the cuts on my thighs that my tights hide from the world. I wanted her tits though.

From Indigo, I get the “I don’t give a fuck what you think of me” attitude.

From Violet, well… I suppose I get violent a lot which kinda fits.

Rainbows are lies. They’re not some mystical bullshit with pots of gold and little Irish Men waiting for you at the ends. They’re not a promise that things get better. They cover-up the fact that bad shit happened and instead of focusing on that, you’re all just like “OH MY GOD ITS A FUCKING RAINBOW QUICK INSTAGRAM THAT SHIT PUT IT ON SNAPCHAT OMG SELFIE SELFIE SELFIE!”

When people see a rainbow, they don’t see the damage the storm has done. Which is why this theme fits perfectly for our photo this year.

They don’t see the alcoholic mother trying to keep her family together, they see the grinning matriarch.

They don’t see a person struggling with his sexuality, they see the flexing jock.

They don’t see the telltale pregnancy bulge of a slut, they see a pose of a sister hugging her brother.

They don’t see the druggie trying to escape his problems, they see the nerd smiling, being hugged by his loving sister.

They don’t see the scars that crisscross the arms and mind, they see a shy girl looking away from the camera.

They see a dog who has just finished licking himself.

They don’t see a girl trying to hold all her shit inside so that she doesn’t have to break the faces of the people around her if she had to let it out.

Why is my family so desperate to cover things up? Why is their no open discussion of feelings, thoughts and emotions? Why do we insist on putting on a face when our world is going to shit.

I want to tell them that it’s okay. That they can talk. That they have support. That we’ll always look out for each other.

Instead, I smile a smile which doesn’t reach my eyes.

We see a flash, and it’s over.

We turn to face each other. It feels like something is about to be said. We look at each other, but not in the eyes. I feel it in the air. Maybe we’re finally done looking at the rainbow ignoring the rain that washed everything away. Maybe we can start to pick-up the pieces of our lives.

Mother opens her mouth, finally.

“Order pizza for supper. Money’s in the draw in the kitchen.”

I don’t know what I expected. It’s easier to ignore than acknowledge.

Rainbows and photos. They cover-up the before and after, allowing you to live in the moment when everything seemed like bliss. When you look at photos you don’t know what happened before or after. All you know is that those people sure looked happy. They must be a wonderful family.

We aren’t.

We all walk to our own private sanctums and the echo of doors closing is all we hear for while.

Well, that and the thudding of a headboard from down the hall.  Guess Claire is busy painting the town red.

It’s time for me to paint it Blue.