A run in my mother’s nylons exposed varicose veins that mapped her once beautiful legs. I watched her cross the room and thought of her at sixteen, walking home from Cardinal Spellmen, boys stealing looks. She’ll close the door to her bedroom and tune us out, imagine herself elsewhere, anywhere except this tiny apartment with six kids, the eternal television, footsteps coming and going at all hours, everyone wanting something from her.
Brian stood to the left of the bomb, and took the full blow. Ragged chunks of iron tore into him and severed his windpipe and tore holes in his body. I thought a hundred times about how it must have felt, the rumble and shock and deafening percussion as the ground rocked and the air transformed into a solid mass of black rain. They told me a dynamite blast is so violent that you are knocked senseless and when you wake up, if you do wake up, you have no idea what happened.
A blue light shined under the door, but as I moved into the next room, the light vanished and slipped under the door into the room beyond, and then again until there were no more rooms. I opened the last door to find Brian sitting in a faded, red wingchair, his hands on the dirty armrests. The right side of his face was in profile, and parts hung off the other side like the stuffing of a chair. “They want me to disappear for a while,” I heard him say. And when I reached out to him he disappeared.