We walk a lot, arm in arm. He had an accident. His mind was injured and now cars, buses, trains are tricky but outside is better anyway: fresh air and all that.
We look good. We’re well dressed, we have smart haircuts. My brother dressed us. The accident was only recent. He picked the nice threads he wears. He likes his fashion, pointed me in the right direction too. I make sure I get him to the barber. He’s really patient, Chad. I appreciate that. I just don’t think we should let everything go, y’know? I take him out walking whenever he needs it.
I’m getting used to the staring. It’s because I’m holding on to him and his head is stuck. It’s turned but it doesn’t look like he’s just turned to chat though. His head is rigid, jilted up and his eyes still work but he isn’t looking or taking anything in. He’s in his head somewhere, lost in a maze in his brain that I don’t know. Anyway he looks odd and people notice that. They notice that I holding him: holding him up and holding him together.
It’s the women, the young women, the pretty ones that are the hardest. The kids can’t help it. I don’t give a shit about the disapproving old folks. Men turn away: know not to insult me with pity but women stare open eyed. They can’t hide their bleeding hearts. They can see I look after him and that he’s dressed well. It kills them. I’m like that guy holding the baby in the poster. All this emotion floods over them and they let themselves sink into it. They don’t care that its seeping out of them like pus out of a wound as they pass by.
I wish just one of them stop.
I play it over in my mind her stopping. She’d come closer so he can smell her perfume. The caring in her eyes, it wouldn’t turn to pity, it’d somehow reach him and lead him out of his puzzle. Maybe she’d lift her hand and lightly run her fingers down his face, each slight touch like a delicious sting. Maybe she’d even close her eyes, press her soft lips onto his, hold them there long enough for his blood to rush to meet hers.
If he could be joined to someone else just for a moment……
I play it over in my mind.
I like playing with new voices. Creating voices that are different to my own and exploring experiences and thoughts that are not mine. When I believe I’ve got a monologue right, it feels like the character is talking through me and even though they aren’t real, this feels like a privilege.