He’s a funny one, my brother.
You’ve seen him around haven’t you? Tapered trousers, brown boots, beard to floor. Carries a spare jacket with him wherever he goes. Calls it his “disappearing jacket.”
What does that even mean?
And a sheaf of “very important papers”.
Once he left them in the hallway while he went to the loo… so I had a look. A bundle of yellowed creamy papers. All blank but for a magazine cutting about discount glasses.
Walks like a serious gnome. Eyes fixed on the distance. Heels make a line to the centre of the earth. He’s a busy man, my brother.
Not like me. I like to sit on the balcony, watching the clouds turn peachy gold and savour the sounds of the lungs of birds as they embroider the dawn.
My brother’s pockets are heavy with time and something else it would seem. Now, I remember sometimes he would clutch at his stomach and grimace silently as we all struggled to remember his name. It began with..? Was it very short? How many vowel sounds did it contain?
One evening last year, I was up later than usual, after entertaining some lively guests. I never knew a man could speak so quietly as he. My brother slipped into the study like a shadow on the moon. His words were gentle as the hair on my ears.
Outstretched, his grey hands held the tiny figures – tiny forms of him! But squirming, messy, alive with clamber out from the worn hands.
My brother’s children.