“Eat your dinner, Charlie,” Mum says tightly and I look up to find my little brother looking at me strangely.
“You’re different Scarley.” He hasn’t called me that in years. It’s a cast off from his younger days and I wonder if he actually chose to use it now for some reason, or if it came out unbidden.
“No, I’m not,” I say. But he’s right, I am. How can I not be? Aren’t all of us changed in some way by what we’ve been through? And isn’t it just and right that I should be changed the most? After what I did?
“Yes, you are,” he insists.
“Charlie that’s enough,” Mum warns and he goes back to eating his dinner but keeping his eyes on me.
I feel bad that he got told off. “You wanna match on the Playstation later?” I ask.
“We don’t have one anymore…” he says.
“Oh… I forgot.” And I genuinely had for a moment. “Well we could watch TV together, what do you think?”
“I guess.” He’s unenthusiastic.
I try to make it up to him, everything that he’s lost. “I’ll let you chose what to watch.”
“Okay.” But his face hasn’t changed. There’s no excitement there. I berate myself for thinking that the situation could be so easily fixed. Just because Charlie’s only nine doesn’t make his pain any less than mine, his grief any less infinite.