Kyle and Chris meet up in Miami the day before their mother’s arrival, to talk about their father. Chris says he doesn’t care about the man, but Kyle is still wary of how to break the news that their father is ill.
Chris tossed his duffel bag on one bed, flinging himself after it. “I need a beer and a burger. Can we get lunch while we talk?”
“Sure. Want to get it sent up?”
“I thought you might prefer to speak in private.”
“There you go acting all mysterious again. No, I’d like to sit in a proper restaurant, have beer on tap and talk to my favorite brother.”
“Only brother, dipshit.”
“There you go, spoiling my illusions of a large family.”
They went to the dining room and placed their orders before Kyle would tell Chris anything.
“Why all the mystery?”
Kyle signed heavily, wishing someone other than he was the one telling Chris all this. He went into detail. His younger brother’s analytical mind liked details. It was funny what he latched onto.
“Am I supposed to cry and raise a scene? I told you, I don’t remember the man.”
“When we see him tomorrow, could you pretend to care a little?”
“Not really. I’m doing this for you, not for Mom or him. You need me right now. I leaned on you my entire life, you fought my battles, took the blame ninety percent of the times I should have got my ass torn up. You’ve been brother, father and best friend my entire life, Kyle. Since Margo got sick, it’s been my time to let you lean on me. I can’t do shit else, big brother, but I can be here when you fall to pieces.”
“What makes you think I’m going to?”
“Dude, I’ve never seen you look so bad. No offense, but you didn’t even look this bad when Margo died. There’s too much on you right now. You need to get good and drunk and get laid.”
“Done that already, remember? Got me in worse trouble.”
“Well, you already screwed the pooch with that relationship. What does it matter now?”
“I’m trying to put it back together. I’m making progress.”
“How would she know?”
“I’d know. Unlike you, baby brother, I have a few moral standards.”
“Yeah, that’s why you knocked up Margo before you were married and cheated on Emily. Right. Morals.”
Kyle was furious. He felt the flush of anger rise from his chest, up his neck, making his ears burn. Chris didn’t miss it, he chose to ignore it. He knew he’d pissed off his brother. Since he was speaking the truth as he saw it, he felt no remorse.
“I married her, didn’t I?”
“When Mom insisted.”
“I’d already decided. Telling Mom was a courtesy.”
“She didn’t see it that way. She saw it as you slapping her in the face because she was pregnant when she and Dad got married.”
“At the time, I didn’t know that.”
“How could you not? I knew that from the time I was tiny.”
“I didn’t remember. After my accident, a lot of pieces didn’t fit anymore.”
“On my bike. I got hit by a car and almost died.”
“Oh. I’d forgotten that. I was what, two, three?”
“Three, not quite four. It was right before Dad left. It’s the reason he left.”
“Because you got hit by a car? That makes sense.” Chris took a swig of his beer.
“Because Mom wouldn’t let him see me. She wouldn’t let him try to heal me.”
That took some explaining. Somehow, Chris’ brilliant mind had managed to miss the fact that their father was a faith healer. Because he didn’t believe in it, of course it couldn’t exist. It was one of the things Kyle really disliked about his little brother.
Kyle’s phone rang as they got on the elevator. It was Mindy. “Hey, baby.”
“Daddy, when are you gonna be home?”
“Day after tomorrow.”
“Is Uncle Chris with you?”
“Yes, he is. He’s standing next to me in the elevator.”
“He is? For real?”
“Yup. Want to talk to him?”
© Dellani Oakes