Thursday, October 9, 2008

Carlton and Chester

Thursday, October 9, 2008
I press the blankets away with my still chilled feet. I wake then, not sharply, but completely, and become subtly aware of a change. My box room, though still huge to me, retains its familiarity of shape and scale but is definitively different. Colours, red and blue. Noise, small crowd sounds, as of a not unusual dinner party, but from the wrong direction and of a tone that is new to me.

I arise, and stumble to the potty, my way lit by the slowly flashing lights that bleed through thin curtains. I sit down to pee, blinking in time with the pretty pulses, thinking of nothing. The odd sounds continue, here a cry, there a low moan. I pull my pyjamas up and peek around the cracked open door. A giant blue shape stands with its back to me on the threshold of my parent's bedroom.

I'm thirsty, I decide to go downstairs. I pass by the uniformed man, hearing my mother's voice clearly, cracked and wordless. I sit on the top step and shift my way down, stair by stair.

The kitchen door is open, lights abaze. Unfamiliar figures sit around the table drinking unfamiliar tea. I remain unseen, and being shy, I totter instead to the unlit living room. I have no fear of the dark. Carlton and Chester, my teddy bears, sit on the couch, not tidied away. I go to them and have them quietly engage in a boxing match. Carlton wins. Carlton always wins, being a manly dirty grey to Chester's sickly orange.

I'm still thirsty, but when I check the kitchen, the crowd remains. I return to my bears, spotting my father's Nikon on a high shelf as I go. I drag the brown corduroy lounger over to the book case and, on tip toe, manage to snag the shoulder strap. I pull the camera down. It narrowly misses my head as it falls gently onto the seat. I clamber down, and toting the heavy camera, go back to the couch. I arrange Carlton and Chester in a friendly pose and begin my first attempt at portraiture. The film is used up by the time the flashes alert one of the unknown grown ups.

'Hello there.'

'Hello.'

'Shouldn't you be in bed?'

'I'm thirsty.'

Above us, my mother holds my breathless and unmoving brother, as my father stands to one side, already distant.

28 Johns and Janes for the comment whore:

Conan Drumm said...

Crikey Gimme, is this autobiographical or fiction?

gimme a minute said...

Conan:
The former.

Back in the days when we lacked a comforting death-avoiding acronym.

Twenty Major said...

Do you actually remember it that clearly?

gimme a minute said...

Twenty:
I have a couple of strong images. The flashing lights, the crowd of police in the kitchen, the camera.

But I did kind of stitch it all together. I really need a new phone, you see.

Medbh said...

I'm reading the bears as symbolic of your brotherhood bond and your picture taking as a means of capturing it.
Brilliant.

Twenty Major said...

But I did kind of stitch it all together. I really need a new phone, you see.

But really, you do.

badgerdaddy said...

Did I mention, I'm glad you're back?

stipes said...

your mother was actually holding your brother?
Well stitched together.

fatmammycat said...

That was beautiful. Really really beautiful.

gimme a minute said...

Medbh:
Nice reading. Thanks.

Twenty:
Giz your iPhone.

Badgerdaddy:
You didn't, but thanks.

It's good to be back. I like it again.

Stipes:
I genuinely don't understand the intention of your comment, and therefore find myself unable to formulate a response.

Fatmammycat:
Thank you, you.

problemchildbride said...

That was beautiful, Gimme.

How old was your brother? A baby?

gimme a minute said...

problemchildbride:
Thanks, Sam.

He was about six months.

Anonymous said...

http://tinypic.com/view.php?pic=era3km&s=4

gimme a minute said...

Anonymous:
Let's leave the tasteless jokes about my dead brother to me, shall we?

Conan Drumm said...

It's awefully vivid Gimme, because it's beautifully written.

That image of your father detaching leads down a very long avenue to the present.

stipes said...

hey, no sinister intentions.

Andrew said...

I've read this a couple of times now and been so stunned that I haven't been able to comment. This really is astonishing writing.

gimme a minute said...

Conan:
Yup.

That's all I got.

Stipes:
Right so.

Andrew:
Thanks, dude. Nice of you to say.

Sniffle&Cry said...

This is the gift Gimme ( your gift). There it is.

So sorry for the happening.

I said nothing cause I didn't want to ask the questions.

Like Sam and FMC said, beautiful.

Caro said...

Stunning piece of writing, Gimme. Really evocative.

gimme a minute said...

Sniffle&Cry:
Thanks. Just a real bit of me to go with all the fake moaning.

Christ, but that's pretentious.

Caro:
Thank you.

Grannymar said...

Congraqts on winning the award.

Nice post!

gimme a minute said...

Grannymar:
Yeah, it's lovely isn't it.

I mean, thank you.

Red Mum said...

This is an amazing post, beautifully written. The way your memories of that evening and what you remember and focus on strike a huge chord.

Its like a whole load of snap shots of things here and there all combine to tell the story of what must have been a very awful night for your family.

Well deserved for post of the month.

Paul. said...

hello. Congrats on blog award. email me you details and I'll get the phone prize sent out to you. Congrats again.

Paul

Darren said...

Startlingly well written. Fair play and congratulations.

Bock the Robber said...

Oh dear God. That's first-class writing. Bleeding off the page.

Ruairi said...

Wow - that is really powerful. Just dropped in to say good luck for best blog post next week.

 
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