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Friday, September 10, 2004

theme2 My Brother

Big blue eyes and white blond hair… His skin stayed the perfect translucent color of a baby’s until he was nearly five years old. My mother tells me that when she went to the hospital to have him, I stood in the doorway behind them and informed her they needn’t come home without a brother. She was mildly alarmed at this, as 19 years ago, the sonograms were not really clear enough to distinguish sex. Lucky for all involved, he was indeed a boy. I remember when he was four, and he scratched his cornea. He had to wear this horrid flesh-colored eye patch taped to his head. I was on a hunt for purple tootsie pops. They were his favorite, and I gave him every single one. I think mom was worried I’d managed to rot his teeth out by the time they got the patch off him.
He was loud, and so angry, so very angry. He had this way of tilting his head down and glaring at you from under perfect white eyebrows. The startling deep blue of his eyes did not hinder him from pouring such a murderous rage through them that you were sure he was trying to figure out how to kill you with one look. Mom called him Hell Spawn, or Damian, with greatest affection. Paradoxically, he would hug you so tight sometimes that I was sure he would break my ribs; exclaiming that he loved you the whole time. He was fierce in his emotion, no matter what it was.
He is still that way, but mostly grown now. Grown up and away. He got older, got his own friends, started to lie to everyone about everything… even me. He is still full of anger. Though I hope that somewhere in there is the boy I remember. Almost every time I see him, he tries to break my heart in two, never suspecting. My parents finally threw him out of the house a couple weeks ago. I didn’t sleep for a week. He wasn’t home for his birthday… there was no ice cream cake or family pictures. My husband doesn’t understand it, why I torture myself over him. How can I explain? His siblings are all at least eight years his junior. He never experienced what it was like to grow up as two halves of a whole. My mother always used to tell us, face all serious and stern, all you have is each other. When your father and I are gone, there will always be the two of you. I am waiting, I am hoping. Someday he will return to me, the boy I grew up with. My brother.

3 Comments:

Blogger johngoldfine said...

Okay, here's a piece of writing I have to tread carefully with. I have suggestions, I have ideas, I have opinions, and I know you think you're paying me to deliver them and that you want to hear anything on the order of 'constructive criticism.' But I don't want to just tromple on it with a scattershot approach to 'improving' your writing (do you see all my sneer quotes?) What do you think of it, what would you like it to do, how far short is it, if at all? Is there something in it you can't quite put your finger on, either good or bad? I'm saying: ask me questions if you want to play with it. I'll answer whatever I can.

September 11, 2004 at 7:41 PM  
Blogger Erika Lynne said...

This is of course, a subject near and dear to me, and therefore generally smeared with emotion that makes the writing difficult. Erin had seemingly spent his life fighting off the... anger (or downright evil) that lives in him. I wonder if you have any suggestions on how to tighten up the contrast part? Devil and angel rolled into one. The whole thing rambles rather a lot now that I'm reading it a few days later. Maybe I should ask what parts do you think are the best canidates for a little editing, then dump the rest and try again? (It doesn't bother me to dump nearly everything but a couple sentences, I have to do it all the time.)

September 13, 2004 at 8:15 PM  
Blogger johngoldfine said...

I'm a tinkerer myself, not a dumper, but that's a matter of individual taste.

If you want to sharpen the contrast, I'd return to the eyes: you almost turn them into a metaphor running through the whole piece. They are big and blue, one was almost lost, he has a way of looking at you with rage--but then in the last graf the eyes are lost.

Another possibility: you have three main characters here: you, brother, mother. We need you to be the person whose emotions are being operated on; but we need you for only that in terms of the graf, nothing else. That might lead to some changes.

September 16, 2004 at 6:01 AM  

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