Thursday, June 28, 2007
New Beginning 304
He’s forgotten now, or maybe he never remembered about that afternoon, about the screaming.
It happened, Charlie.
You were always the strong one, he says to me. He sits in his dark red leather chair in his dark-walled family room and talks to me late at night, when everyone else is asleep and we’re alone, after I’ve driven down to the beach house for the weekend to visit him. He looks at me when he’s been drinking and looks away when we talk about it and I think it’s because it makes him feel again like he’s not a strong one and no one wants to think about that, do they. That they’re not a strong one.
But he wants to talk about it. You’ve got my back, you’ve always got my back, he says. Yes I do, Charlie. I have it.
He tells me how much he always cared about me, growing up, picking out Christmas trees and trying not to find one that was frosted because it wasn't in the spirit of the season. He tells me how much it meant that I stuck around during my brother's battle with cancer, and how much my brother meant to him as a friend. I thank him.
He leans forward; his scalp, nearly bald from alopecia since his youth, shines in the firelight. "But," he says, "about all of those footballs, Lucy . . . "
Lightning flashes, illuminating the kite-eating tree outside the window, and I realize in one horrible instant what he's really brought me here for.
Opening: Robin Sinnott.....Continuation: Rei