Friday, 5 July 2013

He always...

He always got into a blind panic if we didn't maintain this utter, all-consuming love for each other. "Each to each" he used to repeat, not knowing where he'd read it. I have since learned that it is a phrase found in a Robert Browning poem. Browning wrote during the Victotrian era, which explains the anachronistic sound of the phrase. Still, he didn't use it because it sounded odd, he used it because it was perfectly blanced. "Each to each!" he'd cry out suddenly, when stood on a hill, or balanced on the highest point of some ruins we were wandering around. In crowded, faraway places he'd embarass me by shouting it out suddenly. He turned it into a game. A game which he always won by force. "Each to Each": he scrawled that once on a wall at my parents' house. We'd had an argument and he scratched it into the plaster on their garden wall while having a cigarette.

He always kept some parts of himself from the world. To those outside the family he was as utterly composed and wonderful as a movie star, only not so unapproachable.

He always did this thing where he clicked his tounge. At least he did it at home. He never did it when he was around strangers. When he was tense he would do it slowly, perching himself on the edge the noise. You would perch with him, too. Occassionally, when getting ready to go out, or rushing about the house in a stress, he would click his tounge over and over, like his head were a noise box. This noise made him focus but distracted the rest of us.

He was always Donald, the well-known Donald, and I was always along for the ride. I had one thing in mind, which was Donald, and he had whatever it was going on in his mind, which I could never figure out. His head was like a stately palace, all sun-kissed and blessed to the locals. They saw us coming and they bowed to the ground, scraped the dust with their faces. We went walking by and I had to stop myself from looking to them in shame.

And when Donald and I went marching out over the sands of we were like kings. On horseback we were mounted kings, too. When the bullets rained down we were laughing as if caught in summer rain.

He always went up the ladder to where the stars could be seen, a million touching the dark blue sky. In the spaces where there were no stars you could look hard and conjure up a mist of stardust. This haze of creation seemed the bedrock of the unviverse. We saw these things out in the chill night. From another place the world would have looked otherwise. We both knew this and sat in silence together, our arms scarcely touching. The stars touched to one another, each to each in a chain stretching skywide. I fell asleep and only woke when Donald got up to go to bed.

He always sang in the mornings. There was the bassy sing-song he sang out through the waters of his shower. Then there was the humming, bumping tune with which he seranaded the steamy mirror through his latehered neck as he shaved. I refused to sit by the door but since I had to be near at hand to bring him his paper or tell him when the kettle was boiled, I sometimes lingered in the corridor.

He always strode about and paid for things. He always had a gaggle of admirers around-abouts. He always made me proud.

Whenever Donald and I went to the beach we would swim. Whenever we lay down on the sand it would stick. Whenever he stood up it flew off him like gold dust. Sat beside him it would clog up my eyes and get in my mouth. Whenever we ate, he ate with relish. I choked once or twice. Whenever Donald and I went drinking, I would stumble home, he'd still be raising laughter at four. At five he'd disappeared.

He always appeared as right as rain and as real as a rainbow. I sometimes wonder if he wasn't imagined.

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