Half of the Picture

November 7, 2017
By NovellaIst BRONZE, Ithaca, New York
NovellaIst BRONZE, Ithaca, New York
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

I sit, my legs folded underneath me, wool socks warm and itchy in a confusing swirl of feeling. My body is held captive by the couch that my great aunt, Faith, bought years ago. I feel like I am being suffocated by love. In my cold hands I clutch a photograph. The frame is hard, the corners rough and perfect. The color is harsh, silver and painful. Inside the photo my sister sits, holding me with strong, protective limbs. I am no more than 6 months old, and her eyes are warm and seem to melt like molasses as they gaze upon me. Now I barely remember what it felt like to be hers, to be adored.

In front of me a piece of stale birthday cake sits, and I laugh, my burst of humor stale in my throat. I loved her, and now she's gone. I read the box the cake came in carefully, my eyes blurry with emotion. I stand up, the cold floor throbbing underneath me. Never mind, it doesn't matter. I grab the cake and run over to the silver trash can, where I dump it, pain streaming from my gray eyes. I kneel down, all the memories we shared like an angry demon in my head, trying to get out and using up all that my mind can accommodate. Then, out of the misery that has possessed me for 4 long years, I turn around. Freckles, a nose slightly too long for her face, and a smile more crooked than a branch all watch me. I sit down, my legs collapsing.

She walks over to me, her long legs flowing like water and gliding like a swan. She surrenders to gravity, and joins me on the concrete. She pulls me into an embrace, and for a miniature eternity we are like the two sides of a roof, together we can conquer all, apart we are nothing. A stream of words fall from her throat, and I listen, captivated by her power, her grace. We walk across the broken sidewalk, commenting every few minutes about the little things. The birds call brightly, and I smile. She grins, and together we fly across the earth. Eventually we find the place that has been ours, was ours, is no longer ours. An expanse of cruel asphalt stretches in all directions, and I frown, my face resorting to sadness. But my companion doesn't miss a beat, she pulls chairs, compressed by time and carelessness. An old sheet, a blanket stained by the blood of furniture, knickknacks that held great meaning all begin to come alive again under her careful hands. Then, with the poise of a princess and the power of an army she escorts me into the fort, and together we dine on all the delicacies of our childhood, finally two broken half hearts are together again.

The author's comments:

I have a cousin. Not traditionally unusual but rare, precious, unique in my family. On a visit (I rarely see her more than once a year) we both decided to do a free write. Her prompt for me was "From the perspective of a little brother." And I took it and ran.

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