A day in the life...
The crowd gathers slowly over the morning. A large grassy area near a river bank where the church picnic is held every year. Blankets laid down, paper plates and bottles of drink and all those lovely Italian foods that have been such a big part of his short life.
The men start up a game of soccer after lunch, shirts are removed as the sun warms the day. The women sit around, they talk, drink coffee and pick at food while many of the children find their way to a small jetty. They take turns dive bombing from the end and then swim back to the bank where they emerge with muddied feet.
His brother is six, two years his junior. They stand near the edge and watch. He watches his younger sibling walk into the water and sees that he is staying in the shallows. He feels that he will be safe. The other boys are being quite raucous now, letting out large groans as they leap into the deeper water at the end of the pier. He walks around shyly, always shyly, and stands near them, feeling out of place but not feeling like there is any other place to go. And then he sees him struggling. He knows he is in trouble but through some strange kind of embarrassment, he remains frozen, unable to alert anyone to help. Five minutes pass but he does not remember them. His next recollection is of a circle of people gathered around someone, the women are wailing, some are crying and one man is bent over him trying to restore his life. He stands back in fear, knowing that he has done something very wrong and wonders why he was too frightened to make a fuss. It's not his fault he thinks. He does not know it at the time, but the distressed image of his brother's face will remain with him forever.
That night he sees his father crying, he wants to tell him that he was too scared to shout, that something in him clammed up. He thinks of how much more his father may have loved him if he had been that hero, and he still can't tell him what he saw; never has. His father stands in front of him and through the broken sobbing tells him how lucky the family was not to lose their youngest son.
Short story by Eli
Read 695 times
Written on 2009-02-17 at 19:22
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