We walk a lot. Arm in arm. He had an accident. A brain injury. Now cars, buses, trains are tricky but outside is better anyway. Fresh air and all that.
We look good. Well dressed, 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. 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, I don’t know. Anyway he looks odd, not right and people are going to notice that aren’t they? And I’m holding him. Holding him up. 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, they let themselves sink into it and they don’t care that its seeping out of them like pus out of a wound. But then 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. And the caring in her eyes, it wouldn’t turn to pity. It’d somehow reach him, 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. For him to 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.