Friday, January 3, 2014

The Lamb

An excerpt from a letter to a friend:

You said to pay attention to signs as they would be very strong. I think I told you that while I was neglected and abused, I had a younger brother who was weaker, so more of a target, and as he got older, he turned to drugs to feel numb. We were very very close and things had turned well for him for some time when he put distance between himself and my parents and other brother. 

He got married, a good job, and an apartment. Then, he was in an accident and very injured and lost his job, his apartment, and his wife worked many many hours and wasn't home for weeks at a time (although the love was real) and he had to return to my father's home because he had nowhere to go. 

My husband wouldn't allow him to live with us, and I told him that he would have to give up drugs or go to rehab and I would take him anyway. By that time he was too addicted but I would let him stay at my house for a couple of weeks at a time, then go back to my dad's, then return back to me to some peace again.

 He died accidentally in his sleep from the drugs. They all believe it was suicide but I don't. He was too good for this world, too sensitive in a world that devoured him.

 When I left my husband, I begged my father to take me in because I had nowhere to go. My brother was dead only a few months. I felt as if my father was a main cause of my brother's death and in anger I told him that, during a verbal attack by him.

 I slept in my brother's bed, on his pillows, under his blankets, in his room. I held his things that my other abusive brother hadn't already picked through like a ghoul. I asked his wife for something, anything, that I could have that belonged to him and she cried and said that my other brother took it all.

 When I had to escape my father's house because my other brother was trying to trap me into staying to take care of my dad after his stroke, I began packing everything I had into my Subaru Outback wagon.

 I looked under the bed and found a plate, knife, spoon, a piece of granite from the World Trade Center, a few photographs and I was so grateful. The night before I left, I reached under the bed one last time and found a stuffed black lamb. It was my brother's and it was meant to go with me. Everywhere I went, I would sleep with the lamb and hold its paw. 

And when I came to this new apartment and I would worry, I would hold the lamb and talk to Donny, my brother. We had the first snowstorm coming and I couldn't locate my shovel. It was a mystery and I had no money to buy a new one. I had only a broom but it was worse. The way my door is shaped, I would be unable to open it if there was more than a few inches of snow.

 I went to sleep with the lamb praying that everything would be okay. I got up in the morning and went to the door to see what I would be facing, but the snow was cleared away from the door, the path and down the steps. Gravel was thrown so I would be able to walk down the incline.

 I was so surprised and I went back to my bedroom to get my cellphone and the lamb was laying not where I left it, on the side, but in the space where I had been sleeping. My cat hadn't moved it because she was in the window watching the snow. I called my neighbor upstairs and asked him and he said, Yes, I did it. I knew it would be hard for you so I did it. I thanked him and started to cry in gratitude.

 Today was another snowstorm. A friend brought me a beautiful new shovel and gifts for my cat and me for Christmas and we had a lovely time, a week earlier, so I was ready but again, I thought, I need to open that door a few inches to get out to shovel. I woke up again, and I heard shoveling and my neighbor was at my door clearing the snow again. He apologized for waking me and I assured him he didn't. I thanked him again, God bless him. I pray always for him and his little family and dog.

 I went back to my bedroom and the lamb again was in the same place in the center of where I had been sleeping, again moved but not by me or the cat. I knew then that it was not a coincidence. It was Donny.

 I was reminded that he was always the one who shoveled the snow at my father's and my father had no mercy for him, that they had a long driveway and my brother had no gloves and his hands would bleed but he did it anyway out of love. And I knew this time that he had been doing it again, through someone else, out of love. Happy New Year. Keep warm, my friend. 

I see the signs.

I see the signs.

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