A Breed Apart
As Adam stuffed the top half of a pink Scottish salmon sandwich into his mouth, he watched his younger brother reach across the kitchen table.
“Oy!” Adam shouted, mouth still full of food, snatching back his brother’s intended target. “Get your own.”
“But we only have one,” Eddie whined.
“What’s the matter?” their mother asked, mixing bowl in her hands.
“Adam,” his mother continued, whisking a fruit cake mix. “You’ve done your homework, let Eddie have it.”
The older boy stared up at his mother. Everything about her was drab; brown blouse, brown skirt, brown hair. His life was just as dull. He flung the calculator across the table and put the last piece of sandwich in his mouth. “Whatever,” he said, before storming towards the hall.
“Adam! Would it really be the end of the world to be nice to your brother?”
Adam grunted and stomped up the stairs.
“And a ‘thanks mum, lunch was lovely’ wouldn’t go a miss either,” she said, knowing he’d catch only part of it. He’d been moody since his father had walked out and instead of taking his place, he’d withdrawn, said little, and what he did say saddened her. She knew parents and teenagers were a breed apart, but hoped that the two boys would grow closer, despite Eddie being the spitting image of his father.
Adam sat on his bed, pulled open the bedside table drawer and took out the battered photograph. He stared at the four smiling faces, a rare shot of the family unit, parental bookends. For the first time he focussed in on their hands; mother connecting with first born, brother connecting with brother, but the father aloof, standing near the picture’s edge as if another couple of feet, and he would be gone for ever.
Could Adam remember holding Eddie’s hand? He remembered a bond, protection since birth, and the games they used to play.
He put the photograph back in the drawer, walked to the top of the stairs, took a deep breath and smiled.
Picture above courtesy of morguefile.com.
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