Tuesday, March 13, 2012

An Origin Story

In the photograph, my brother and I are on the couch, we're kids, it's either his or my birthday, and presents surround us, colorful paper splayed open, boxes dug into, the looks on our faces saying Yes to each other and to the bounty, other siblings framed out of the photo, absent though certainly there, the sun leaning through the high living room window in the kind of anointment I'll only imagine, or pretend, later, but what's in the photo that lasts? Love between brothers, that other language, the awkwardness of being on display, and the end table, the wooden hinge of the 1970s plaid upholstered L-couch, pulled a foot or so away from the wall just to the edge of the blue shag carpet against the tantalizing edge of which our dog Molly could rest her paws, but no more, the end table is where I'd go, crawl to on those days when I was peevish, or felt gone though surrounded, and wanted to stare inside myself and try and make sense without the language to do much of anything but fail to name the urge, where I'd fold myself and fit into, my back against the side of the couch, utterly hidden from the family, thus the world, my mom a presence nearby in squeaky shoes, Molly a scent, if that, skittering by and away, brothers and friends as vanished as if they'd never existed, there under the end table, where I'd sit for hours, minutes in grown-up time, vowing I'd speak only when spoken to, dusky in the end table dusk, the melancholy whir of the washing machine and dryer beneath me muffled by the floor, that happy light that once blessed two boys now barely managing to squeeze in there under the end table where I'd go, from where I'd emerge, ready to join again that which I'd expelled, the quiet and solitude I'd gone and found my new scent, but fading, fated.

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