No give left

I was twenty and hoped to ease her nickers down where we lay mostly naked in her university single bed, a candle on the desk but instead she told me how her little brother left the house and no one knew where to find him. She drew a picture of a country home with a long fenced drive and grazing cows, a dam to keep the cattle watered. In the corridor, I heard the voices of some friends who’d been out drinking and one bemoaned the lack of revelry and claimed the night was dead. In her bed, I rolled onto my elbow watched her stare up at the shadows on the ceiling. Nothing really stops, she said. We looked where you look when you don’t want to find what you’re looking for. They fished him from the dam, her little brother, and took him back and a darkness fell to extinguish thought and feeling, and time stretched until it felt like there was no give left. That was then, she said. I lost my little friend. Can anyone really move on from such a tragedy? In my head were photos of myself and my brothers as little kids, eyes wide enough to swallow the world, brave faces unaware the world could swallow them. I remember this as my two year old comes toddling from his room and says, Wotcha doing Dad?

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