There was an in-between time when my brother died, a time between when I knew and when everyone else knew. That time felt a lot longer than it actually was. It may have been an hour at most, but it seemed like time no longer existed, that it had ceased to function.
I wasn't allowed to go far. The police had told me to be back at his place within 30 minutes. I'd gone to Junction One (the outlet shopping centre) and to Starbucks. I got a large Americano and a skinny Blueberry Muffin to go. I can remember eating the muffin as I walked back the car, or at least trying to eat it. I was going through the motions of tearing chunks off and putting them into my mouth, but they tasted of nothing and my body didn't want to swallow them. My mind was telling me to do something normal and my body was rejecting it. I walked across a Zebra Crossing, one with a large speed hump on it, and I began to realise that I was going to have to call my parents and tell them. I didn't want to call them, to tell them on the phone, and, while they didn't know, it was as if he wasn't really dead. As far as they were concerned he was still alive and I felt like, by telling them, in a way I was killing him.
Sometimes that memory comes to me in sudden flashes. I'm walking across that zebra crossing, staring down at it with blueberry muffin crumbs falling from my mouth. I'm realising I have to call them. In a flash its done and my mother is pleading with me, bargaining with me, that maybe I'm wrong. Its as if I had the power to decide his fate and she was appealing to me to change my mind and to tell her he was still with us.
I wish I could go back to that night before. All I had to do was get into my car and drive to him. All I had to do was knock on his door and somehow stop it all. Of course I didn't know, but so little information could have changed so much. I lament that he is gone. A small part of me unceasingly wails and weeps to this day. I cannot resurrect him or any of our lives before that cursed day. There is nothing left but ashes and the charred, scarred remains of our lives from that time.
Things are different now, sometimes good, even better in some ways, but the innocence is gone and there is a mournful coldness to the world of which I had never previously been aware.