As I glanced out of my parent’s lounge window my entire body stiffened. As I watched the tall figure with a familiar walk close the front gate and start to walk the short distance from gate to door, I clasped my hands tighter around the glass of champagne I’d just been handed.
How he held his body was etched on my brain, his shoulders always hunched and his eyes always looking downwards. I used to tell him to stand straight, to be proud of his height.
Seven years had passed by. Seven years since he’d been home. Seven years since we’d spoken.
What could have brought my brother back? Back to the small, cramped house we’d shared for thirteen years. The home he vowed he would never return to.
At age thirteen he’d been my absolute hero, three years older than me I’d wrongly thought he’d never do anything to hurt me. Then he left, leaving a trail of destruction and our Mother’s heart shattered into a million pieces. I remember seeing the pain etched on her face as he slammed the front door, dragging behind him a battered old suitcase containing his sixteen years’ worth of worldly goods.
When the high-pitched doorbell filled the room with its tinny tune, I held my breath, I couldn’t let my mother answer. I had to warn her. The son she believed she had lost, the son she’d grieved for was now stood on her doorstep.
“I’ll get it.” I heard her shrill over-excited voice call from the hallway. The noise of her birthday party guest’s voices seemed a million miles away as I tried to move to intercept her.
Too late, she’d opened the door.
“Hello Mum.” I hear his familiar voice.