It’s not my Name she calls, you know.
Sure, it’s my name, but it’s not my Name. There’s only one person she’s ever spoken to like that. When she loses all connection to her life now, and drowns herself in her past to escape her present, and drags me to her bed...
She doesn’t call my Name.
I don’t wonder why she hates my brother. It’s not hard to guess really. I mean, he’s the illegitimate child of her beloved husband, with some human who worked with him and who died giving him a son, leaving her child to her lover’s wife to care for.
I do wonder why he left us.
Before he went, he ruffled my hair and told me to love my brother. Not to protect him, or take care of him; just to love him. It was clear he loved both – no, all three – of us very much, and his eyes when he spoke to me that last time... I can still see them. They never go away, much like the image of her, collapsed on the ground in a heap of despair, or beneath me, calling out a name that’s mine and not mine.
I was named after my father, you know.
My father was a good man. You might wonder how I can say that, since he left us and cheated on my mother and caused her such pain. Hell, I don’t even know if he’s alive or dead. But I can forgive him all that. He loved me, and his wife, and his second son. He even loved that girl, and he wept when she died.
He had such a big heart.
He wept when he left us too. I know, because the ink on the note he left us was smudged and blotted with water. That day was when my mother snapped.
She loves me, and on good days she remembers who I am and thanks me and apologises, and I always shush her and say ‘don’t worry’. Because, really, what else can I do? I love her, too.
And she doesn’t hate him all the time. My brother, I mean. Despite everything, she’s never hated my father. And, sometimes, she tries to love my brother, and, sometimes, she succeeds.
It’s a pity that she can never manage it when he’s around.
Then, she only see the curse that broke her marriage, that brought the scorn of the neighbourhood down upon her, as the woman who couldn’t keep her husband’s interest from wandering. My brother is living evidence of it. She can’t even pretend he’s hers, with his hair and eyes a constant reminder of his differences, of his illegitimacy.
I would cry at the piteousness of it, him trying only to win her love, she clinging desperately to what’s left of her self, and me, the too-weak tree that they lean on, that will snap if the tiniest bit more weight is placed on it. I would cry, save that it would do no good.
I try to be strong, but I know I’m not. I can feel the cracks forming in the façade I hold of the loving son, the protective brother. I’m trying to hold all three of us together, but in truth, I barely have the strength for myself.
It’s not my Name she calls, when she’s lost and looking for strength. The only person who’s ever called for me, called my Name, is my brother.
And I do love him. If that’s the only thing I can do for my father, I will. I would have loved him anyway, but sometimes, it seems that love is all that’s keeping me together. That love, and the promise to my father, all that stops me from breaking.
I wonder what I would do in defence of that love.