Friday, January 25, 2008


It took time but I kept my promise. Now I can visit him, I ignore the nurse’s concern for his independence. His eyes are inverted; still that little boy waving from the back of the car. I know he’s not lost; just elongated and worn - like laces dragged too many times through muddy gutters. I used to crouch right down and tighten his shoes whenever his boisterousness had loosened them, or whenever he tapped my arm and pointed. The weather didn’t matter one bit. The straps always resounded best when saturated from the rain.


The sound of Velcro still shifts me to those times; a flare of noise that delivers me back to his innocently smiling face. He didn’t find the straps impossible; we just enjoyed the closeness. She couldn’t give it to us; we were the only family we had. She’d only ever learned how to love bottles filled with whisky or gin – they used to say that was what was wrong with him. Something to do with during pregnancy…But I knew he wasn’t wrong at all. When they separated us; that’s when the lint set in…


My brother remains static as I enter. I touch his forehead to mine, but only I see my face glued to his pupils. I fetch his trainers, the colour of oil spills in rain soaked roads. They match his distant eyes. He lets me kneel, and I hold his foot tight. I carefully wedge his toes into the shoes, like I always did. This time he does not smile. As I move away, he taps my arm as lightly as mist and gasps. I gently undo the hooks again, pull and tighten. The Velcro still sounds best when soaked.


Elizabeth Rose Murray

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