My older brother has turned into a park bench.

Since we read Love’s Executioner I don’t feel so bad about this being pure fabrication, even for Non-Fiction! The idea came into my head when I was doing the research for objectification and writing selves and others, in the previous posts. Again, pretty rough, and I need to add an ending.

My older brother has turned into a park bench. I see him everyday because Mammy takes me. I forget what his face used to be like unless I’m looking at a picture, but Mammy doesn’t like me to take them out anymore.

My older brother is so much bigger than me, an Everest with a heart and hair. He is too big to see all of him at once. There is collection of body parts. They loom forward singly when I need them. My older brother is a hand, warm and moist in the middle, and it can close over my whole fist leaving no gaps for the cold to come in. I like it when we cross the road together, because he says I am too big to do this other times.

“Handy-hold!” he says, pausing dramatically.

“Holdy-hand.”

They keep trying to ask me about it. The people at the place Mammy takes me to. There I sit on a plastic seat and the people say that they aren’t teachers they are “Call me Kate” and “Call me Ivan” and I bump my feet against the floor until it’s time to go home. My brother has a really long name which I can never say properly, but I can feel it under my fingers when I visit him. The cold letters.

My older brother is a set of bony knees smoothed over with denim. When there’s people around at home and nowhere for me to sit then my brother is a seat for me. I feel the points of his kneecaps jutting against my thighs, juddering me as he laughs at what the older people are saying and Mammy tells him to sit still but he doesn’t.

I can still sit on him now, but it’s farther from home and doesn’t feel so much like a lap. There are lots of people around all the time now and nowhere at all for me to sit so I lie down under the table. People keep bringing scones, and sometimes a blob of strawberry jam will slide down onto the floor in front of me, clots of cream dying it a viscous pink. It makes me sick to look at it, and I run to the bathroom or to my bed to lie on my tummy, and Mammy never notices the way she used to.

My older brother is a back, a neck with scraggles of lose hair and dandruff. I ride on him and he takes me places. I don’t see where we’re going, but I hear it all around me. The whoosh of passing cars. Sometimes we go somewhere deadly like the shop and get chocolate, sometimes he just swooshes me around and tells me I’m getting too big for this nonsense and his back hurts and he pries apart my fingers until I slide off.

The people at home keep telling Mammy the place where my brother is now is better. But I don’t think it is, with nothing but other park benches for company. It’s wet and cold and there’s always rubbish on him. We have to brush it away to leave room for the flowers.

For a while I thought it was a better place because I’m not there annoying him, asking to play with his Gameboy and being too heavy on his back. I got scared to visit him, in case he didn’t want me there. “Call me Ivan” said that’s not right, that’s not how it works.

“Don’t you want to tell me where your brother really is?” he asks me. It sounds like the start of a joke every time, but when I look at him his eyes go all warm and  he doesn’t smile.

So I started going to visit again, but I don’t sit on my brother any more just in case. I just pat his wooden arms and dry them with mine.

My older brother is long hard fingers, gripping on my shoulders, pulling me backwards so quickly I almost fall. The fingers come right up close to my face. My older brother is all pink, all loud voice.

“Be careful!” he tells me. I crumple.

“Don’t get upset,” he says. “You’re ok. You could have been strawberry-jammed by that car! What could you have been?”

“Strawberry-jammed,” I answer. I picture it, the pink splatter. The strawberry blobs.

 

 

 

 

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