The function of memory

The photograph that lay in his pocket was an image he could describe perfectly.

He and his brother, standing in front of the tree that stood in front of their old home. He had been sixteen then, his brother thirteen. Their skin was both copper, covering completely different bodies. Even then he had been tall and heavyset, though he had lost some of that height and some of that weight. At thirteen, his brother had much much shorter, yet lankier than even a teenager had any right to be. It fit right in with his brother’s decision at the time to have short hair, dark curls tousled from the outside.

His own raven dreadlocks only reached his shoulders, thrown back in a messy bunch at the back of his head. His arm was wrapped around his brother’s shoulders, a rough hand clasped on a thin shoulder, grimy fingernails showing obviously. His brother’s hands were much thinner – a pianist’s hands – with clean cut nails to match. They both smiled widely, his cracked lips over straight teeth and his brother’s glossy lips over his overbite. His face had been pimply, something he had been grateful to age past, especially the worst of it that had been on his nose, crooked since he had broken it playing baseball when he was twelve. His brother’s nose was small and straight, the highlights of his face were the dimples on his cheeks and on his chin.

They shared the same dark eyebrows, thick over narrowed slate blue eyes. In that picture, the light made his own eyes bright and flecked a bit of darkness in his brother’s.

Ask him now and he could describe all of this. Four years after losing his brother. Four years after losing his sight.


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