It was a rainy day at the airport the day my brother came home. I could hear planes landing. I held the cardboard sign labeled ‘Steve’ reluctantly, thinking how easy it would be to just toss it in the bin and leave. But life, of course, is never that simple. Rain lashed the windows in a sudden gust of wind. I saw him come through the doors wearing a designer suit. I heard another plane roar off. I looked once again at the suit, anger flaring up inside me as I stood there in my jeans and T-shirt that looked so scrappy in comparison. He took off his sunglasses, revealing a face strikingly similar to mine.
Staring at that face, I said, ‘So, you came back’.
‘I had to,’ he said, not breaking my stare.
‘Oh, and I suppose you had to leave as well?’ I retorted angrily.
‘That was different, Mark.’
Steve, trying to change the subject, asked queasily, ‘How’s Mum?’
I thought of my mother, sitting there in her wheelchair, sobbing at the news about dad. She’d known it was going to happen, the doctor had told us a few months ago, but he’d seemed so full of life until the very end that it was as if he didn’t have anything wrong with him. ‘She’s grieving.’
‘We all are,’ he replied.
I snorted, ‘Like you care.’
He sighed heavily, ‘I told you, it was the offer of a lifetime. Wouldn’t you have taken it too?’
I laughed, ‘If Mum could still walk and Dad hadn’t been getting weaker by the day, then yeah, I might have taken it.’
He turned away, ‘You make me sound so heartless.’
‘Well, someone with a heart would have stayed and helped his brother take care of their weak, frail, elderly parents. They would have at least visited.’
‘I sent money…’ he said weakly.
‘You sent money! You sent money! Well, that makes it okay, because money solves everything!’ I yelled with sarcasm a two year-old could detect. ‘Tell me, did your money hold Dad up when he could barely walk? Did your money comfort both of them when it all seemed hopeless? That’s always been your problem Steve, you always think about the money. That’s why you took that job.’
‘I’m sorry…’ he whispered, finally beginning to see things from my point of view, ’I’ll make it up to you. I promise.’
I thought about his words for a few moments. I felt slightly more at peace upon hearing my brother apologize after all these years. Perhaps that was what I had been waiting for.
‘It’s not my decision,’ I told him, ‘it’s Mum’s’.
We had to write a story on the subject of “The Reunion” for school in year 8. This piece won second place in the school.
I maintain it deserved first.