Sunday, June 25, 2006

Chapter Eighteen

Chapter Eighteen

John sits in his arm chair, lost within the book in his lap. The door opens and he looks up, at first his face contorted into a look of minor annoyance – there is always something to disturb you. He recognises Paul and the look twists briefly into a beaming smile and then transforms into deep concern as he registers his brother’s battered face, “Christ man, what happened?”

“It’s a long story, you got some time?”

Concern becomes worry, he pulls up a chair for the fledgling with a broken wing, “Yeah, sure….” He offers Paul a joint, “You wanna smoke?”

There is a flicker of disgust, even repulsion, across Paul’s face, “You know I don’t…” The sentence hangs unfinished, the words locked in Paul’s mind by a sharp bitten tongue; and you wouldn’t either if it wasn’t for her!

“A beer then?”

Paul nods acceptance, his eyes track his brother as John vanishes into the kitchen.

Julie walks into the room, pushing shut the open door. “Don’t mind me, I’ve got to get ready to go out…” Paul detects the eagerness in her voice, as though the dislike is mutual – and that is just fine. She moves into the bedroom, as John returns with two ice cold beer cans in hand. He throws one gently to his brother and quickly pulls the ring on his own can.

They sit and talk. Two brothers held together by a common bond of love. Paul talks, weaving the tale of the recent events. John listens, understanding, believing – like he believed in the ghost. He listens with a weary sadness in his eyes that Paul cannot interpret, bearing the knowledge of Paul’s self-destructive, and na├»ve honesty.

© 1990 & 2006 Andrew M Boylan