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My Brother’s Handwriting

Page 3

Peter Farrar

It took four hours before police knocked. Jo and I stood closely together, despite our fighting and recent divorce. Listened to the police officers' slow staccato sentences. “The car drove over an embankment. Struck a tree. We believe he died on impact. An autopsy will be conducted.”          

I traced a finger over Luke’s handwriting. When turning the page over fissures of ink bled through. Strokes of letters swelled through paper like veins in an old person’s feet. My fingertips felt where the pen pressed hard as if in those moments his pain worsened. His signature faded away at the bottom as if he’d already started leaving.

After the funeral Jo said Luke’s wife could stay with her for a couple of days. She asked me to drive Melissa back to the house to collect a few things. We drove without speaking. Melissa sat next to me, distracted and sucking a strand of hair. At the house I trailed her on a path lined by roses. She couldn’t manage the key in the lock and I leaned in to help, glimpsing pinpricks of skin pores over her cheeks. The door pressed open. She walked through the house, heels clacking on timber floors. I ambled through rooms, air cold. I’d seen the silverware, ornate candle stick holders and crystal cut vases before. I hated how superficial they now seemed. 

Drawers slid open and banged shut. Now and then Melissa sobbed wetly. I pretended not to hear. Stood at the back windows, looking through glass crisscrossed dirtily from long gone rain. She came into the room. She held a bag and I took it from her. She followed me out to the car. I dropped her bag onto the back seat.

“His note said the problems were money,” I said. “You know anything about that?” Melissa hovered over the passenger seat, front half of her body in the car. I’d never seen how she glared at me then. Was used to her head thrown back in laughter, hair roughly up and braided. She sat without speaking.

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