Stories in Short #16 (When I was Ten)

wheniwas10

When I was ten I found my big brother crying on the stairs. I asked him what was wrong but he looked up at me in shock like I’d caught him masturbating and scrambled up the stairs, to the room I was never meant to enter. I told my Mum. She said that boys cry, too.

That wasn’t enough for me.

On the staircase leading up to his room there were cans of beer and some cups with fuzzy apples stuffed inside. A bowl of mouldy macaroni. It seemed weird to me that no-one had cleaned up. Everyone was quite content to leave the mess there. Sometimes my brother would cover the cans and plates and bowls with a blanket. To help him forget, I suppose.

I knocked on his door, and he said, what?

I said, why are you crying?

He came to the door and looked down on me. His room smelled sort of spicy. I’ll always remember that. That spicy smell, sort of sweet, maybe a little bit sour.

What? he said.

So I said, again, why are you crying?

He wasn’t crying anymore. He said, come in.

It was the first time I’d been into my brothers room, or at least, it’s the first time I can remember ever going in there. There was nothing special about it. My own room many years later looked a lot like it. Clothes on the floor, curtains closed, television on.

He told me to sit down.

I sat on his bed. The chair in the corner was broken.

Then he said, Dad called.

He wasn’t coming back.

That was it.

And it wasn’t long before we were both sat on the bed, crying, his arm around my shoulders, my head on his chest.


Other popular stories in short: Exquisite, Marathon, Oversight.

23 thoughts on “Stories in Short #16 (When I was Ten)

  1. Beautifully written and heartbreaking.

    I loved the descriptions you used. Very powerful. Very fresh. Like:

    “…he looked up at me in shock like I’d caught him masturbating” – Perfect, powerful
    “…leading up to his room there were cans of beer and some cups with fuzzy apples stuffed inside.” – So striking!
    “My own room many years later looked a lot like it. Clothes on the floor, curtains closed, television on.” – Such a telling image, really visual. Simple and strong.

    But yeah, sad as hell. Despite that, the companionship right at the end struck this really optimistic, loving note, in only a few words, so I suppose it’s not all doom and gloom. Is it weird to have enjoyed this? I hope not. I thought it was great.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much. I’ve been trying to and refining my style for years. I’m right at my peak right now. It feels great to write, better than it has done for…well, maybe since I was 13 writing that first little story.

      Comments like this make the entire process worthwhile. Thanks so much. And I didn’t want it to be completely hopeless. There’s definitely some optimism here. I think the entrance of the little brother into his big brother’s room was a sort of coming of age. I also think it’s good to start talking about emotions, especially concerning boys and their quiet, reserved ways.

      Thanks so much for taking the time to read it Pooky!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Stories in Short #18 (The rustling of the corn) | Seal Matches

  3. Must’ve been hard, for you and your brother, to deal with the fact, that your dad had left, and never came back, and that, is how much the parents can affect their own young without them ever knowing it, very descriptive, very well written.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: Stories in Short #30: Snapshots ‘2 | Seal Matches

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