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My Brother's Passing
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My Brother's Passing
A tragic tale of a young boy's death.
[1,219 words]
Buchanan Street
I'm only sixteen and have just done my standard grades. Writing is just a hobby at the moment but I'd really like to make a career of it. (I also write under the pseudonym Jennifer Street)
[August 2002]
My Brother's Passing
Buchanan Street

Benjamin was so quiet. Such a quiet boy. That's why nobody guessed. Nobody even thought to guess until it was too late. I felt I was mostly to blame, after all he had been my brother, seperated in age by only a year.

I pick up a photograph of the two of us. The beautiful bright eyed children with hair the colour of corn and eyes the colour of treacle with tints of brandy - mind you, it's hard to tell that in the picture where they just look plain old brown.

We were so happy. Or were we? We certainly never complained. We didn't cry when mum had died when we were little. We didn't cry when dad ran off with another woman. We didn't resent him, we weren't angry. If we were, we never admitted it.

The homes...... there had been so many. But perhaps home is not the right word. A home implies crisp welcome mats and faded sofas in scarlet red or primary blue, photographs on sideboards of fairytale families with glimmering smiles. Our homes were never like that. They were places of fear and hatred. But Benjamin and I, we didn't let it get to us - or at least I thought we didn't.

But I thought finally it was all working out. The Branders were a nice family. Mrs Brander worked on the Parents Association, she made biscuits at Christmas time and bought us hot water bottles for the cold winter's night. Mr Brander played golf and worked in an office. He was a nice guy, he liked tv and beer, he didn't like abusing children. I thought he was fantastic.

Then there was Jill, a bit of a prima donna/drama queen but nothing we couldn't handle. She did ballet and had a pony called Roberta. She was a year to my senior, the same age as Benjamin, but we made friends. She took me to the stables and I fed Roberta apples and sugar cubes, enjoying the trust the pony had in me and the velvety, soft mouth nuzzling into my scarred hand.

I shared a room with Jill at the Branders, which I'm sure Jill hadn't been to keen on, at least at first. It was a nice room, the walls were lilac and blue, the beds sturdy and oak, the lamps gaudy and impressive. Benjamin had his own room. I thought he would have liked this but he didn't seem to. He missed my company, just as he missed it at school when he was eventually put up into the year above me, Jill's year. He was a good-looking guy but he was too quiet and shy to make friends, at the other school he relied on me to find our friends - which we shared as we shared everything, except death.

I know Jill made an effort with Benjamin, after she had got over the initial resentment at our coming, she invited Benjamin to parties and outings. He'd refuse whenever he could and if he did go sit in the corner in silence. Talking to someone who doesn't walk to talk back is like talking to a wall. Benjamin never talked back.

At then, he wouldn't even talk to the Branders. He had liked golf and had played it with Mr Brander. He had liked baking and had helped bake cakes with Mrs Brander. He would talk with each of them, though never at the same time, but then he wouldn't say anything. He'd just sit, his rose petal lips remained jammed shut.

He'd still talk to me, occasionally, in whispers. He never told me anything important, like how he was feeling, but then again we had never talked about that. I could see Benjamin was retreating into his shell but I didn't think it was serious, why didn't I think it could have been serious?

Then. One night. I needed the toilet, I didn't usually knock on the bathroom door because I felt it bad manners (even though Jill didn't think twice about banging her fists against it and hollering for whoever was in the bathroom to get out fast, except with a lot of swearing too). I really needed the toilet. I knocked gently on the door, hoping that Mr or Mrs Brander wasn't in.

"Go away." It was Benjamin, that was alright then. I could tell him to get out.

"Please Benji, I need the loo, let me in?"
"I'm sorry Amanda. I'm so sorry." I couldn't understand. Why was he apologising so profoundly over being in the bathroom?

"That's ok. I can hang on." I called.

"But I can't." A horrible icy dread crept its way from my throat down to my stomach.

"What do you mean?" I shouted, banging my hands against the smooth wood of the door.

"I love you Amanda. That's definitely important. I couldn't have lived this long without you."

I began to cry, suddenly aware that I very much did understand what he was saying. "MR AND MRS BRANDER! PLEASE COME QUICKLY!" I screamed at the top of my lungs. I could hear three sets of footsteps as everyone ran to the bathroom door.

"Ben, open the door. Please Ben, open the door." Jill, the only person who ever called him Ben - because it was 'cooler' than Benjamin or Benji.
"Why won't he open the door?" Mr Brander said, bustling around trying to look important.
"He just won't." I said and weeped. Mrs Brander held me tightly to her chest.
"This is ridiculous. Benjamin you open this door right this instant. You have got this family in an awful state, your poor sister is wailing her beautiful eyes out."

No answer.
"James, go and get a screwdriver, to open the door." Mrs Brander hissed.
"Fine." Mr Brander disappeared downstairs, still refusing to accept the seriousness of the situation.

The door was unlocked and opened. I slid to my knees and felt my world go dark. My beloved brother Benjamin. He had died.

"I didn't realise he even liked this band." Jill said, holding up a Reel Big Fish disc.
"Neither did I." I said thoughtfully.
"I guess not a lot of people knew things about Benjamin." Jill said soothingly, putting a careful arm around my shoulder.
"They didn't." I agreed.
"You knew him best of all though? Didn't you Manda?"
"Yeah," I smiled through my tears, "I did."
"Hey what's this? It's like a notebook."
I picked up the green leather bound book.
"It's like a diary." I almost said, imitating her way of talking, but I didn't because I suddenly didn't want anyone to know about Benjamin. He had worked so hard to keep himself a mystery.
"Uh I'll keep that." I said instead.
"Whatever for?" Jill asked curiously.
"Just because it was Ben's. I think he'd want me to have it." And I think he would have, because that diary contained all the thoughts and feelings we'd never managed to talk about in real life.
"Want to go to the cinema? New Brad Pitt film's showing?" Jill asked in a not so rare as it had once been offer of friendship
"Uh nah, better not." I felt a little pang of disappointment. I did want to go but I felt guilty because I wanted to drool over Brad Pitt, and laugh and eat popcorn instead of mourning Benjamin.
"He'd have wanted you to." She said.
"Yeah. Maybe he would have." I thought for a second, "OK definitely would have wanted me to go. I'll get my coat."



"Magnificent! I would sugest some more thought shots. When somebody says something to your main character how does it make her feel? Another thing is just add in a little more senses. Smell, sight, touch, taste...but other wise I was very jelous of your diverse and sophisticated work for such smalll age! jk..but really i enjoyed it!" -- ellen, Austin, Texas 19, USA.


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© 2002 Buchanan Street
August 2002

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