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f l o r a

United States

lady madonna
children at your feet
I wonder how you manage to
make ends meet

Message to Readers

This is the fourth installment of my series, sorry it took so long! I've been working on other series as well..
But enjoy!

The Silent Firebrand: Chapter 4

October 12, 2017

FREE WRITING

1
The Silent Firebrand
Chapter 4: Honesty
I walk out of the courthouse, feeling like more of the crushing weight of guilt had been put onto my shoulders. The most terrifying part of that court sentencing wasn't being called up as a witness, or hearing the sentence the judge gave Philip,
"Phillip James Hamilton, for having alcohol possession under the age of twenty-one, and physically assaulting a minor, who is a family member, I hereby sentence you to six months jail time, three months probation."  The judge said in his loud, booming voice.
It was the bang of the gavel, loud and sharp.
The sound that sealed Phillip's fate.
I looked over at Phillip to see his reaction.
The look on his face is something I will never forget. 
His face is buried in his hands, his body heaving..
Is he..
Crying?
He looks up. 
His eyes have gone from a bright green to a dull grey.
The whites of his eyes are red and puffy
His face is pale and sweaty
What should we call this emotion? 
Defeat. 
Something I never thought I would see, especially from someone so confident like him.
As he is led away, I see him look back one last time and mouths something to me.
“I'm sorry.” Then he turns back.
I want to run over to him and scream “Wait! I don't blame you, you were drunk! You didn't know what you were doing!”
But I can't. 
It's too late.

The rest of the day is a total blur.
Until dinner:

All 10 chairs are filled except for one at the end..
It feels like a piece of all of us is missing.
I can't eat
My mind is on different things.

“Izzy?” 
I'm startled by my youngest brother Will.
He looks up at me, his big sea green eyes full of wonder and concern.
“Yes, Will?” I give him a small smile.
“You're not eating,” He points down at my plate, which has been untouched.
“I'm not that hungry,” I say, tousling his floppy red mop-top.
“Are you feeling alright, honey?” Dad looks at me.
“Yeah, I'm fine,” I say quickly. A bit too quickly.
“Is your shoulder bothering you again?” Mom asks
“No, I'm just tired,” I say, “can I be excused?”
Mom and Dad give each other “the look.”
We all know that look, and I personally hate it.
“Yes, you may. Clear your plate first.” Mom says
I quickly discard my dish in the sink and am about to go upstairs when something catches out of the corner of my eye.
The grand piano in the living room, in all its shiny black glory.
Something draws me to it. Like a puppet on strings I make my way to it and sit down at the bench.
I run my fingers over the keys.
Phillip is the one who taught me how to play. 
I run my fingers over the keys, closing my eyes.
My fingers find the keys and I begin to play Billy Joel’s “Honesty.”
“If you search for tenderness, it isn't hard to find. You can have the love you need to live. If you search for truthfulness, you might just as well be blind. Nothing seems to be so hard give. Honesty, it's such a lonely word.. everyone is so untrue. Honesty, it's hardly ever heard.. and mostly what I need from you…” I sing gently
I look up at the picture on the top of the piano. It's a photo of Phillip and I when we were really little. Sitting on the piano bench. He's pressing my fingers on the keys teaching me this exact same song. I smile for a second, then remember.
The boy in the photograph isn't the brother I know.
This boy in the photograph the brother I love.
All I can see is red
I press down on the keys, breathing hard.
All of the anger, frustration and sadness just spews from every fiber in my being.

“I can find a lover, I can find a friend
I can have security to the bitter end!” I roar, crashing on the piano’s keys, tears spilling from my eyes and pouring down my cheeks.
“Anyone can comfort me with promises once again..” a high voice sings
I look over.
It's Will, smiling.
I turn away from him so he can't see my tears.
“I know.. I know..” I choke out, my voice cracking.
“ I know…” He hugs me round my waist, as I cry..
“Izzy, you’re crying ..” He sits on the piano bench with me.
“I'm not crying..” I quickly wipe the tears from my eyes and smile. I don't want him to worry. This is my battle to fight, not his.
“Yes, you are..it's okay to cry. You just have to let it all out, like Mommy says.”
So I do.
I bury my face in my hands and sob.
I cry for everything and everyone 
I cry for Mom.
I cry for Dad.
I cry for Will.
I cry for Frances, George's and James
I cry for Phillip.
But I cry, most of all
For myself.

Once I'm done, Will hands me a tissue.
“Thank you,” 
“Do you feel any better?” He asks.
Now that I think of it, it feels like the soul-crushing weight that I'd been carrying on my shoulders.. 
Disintegrated..
“Yes, I do..” I say, finally smiling a genuine smile
“Now can we finish the song? I want to learn the whole thing.”
“Of course we can, bud.” I start up on the piano again
“But, can you sing it for me? You have a good voice.”
“Oh, well alright.. I guess.” I clear my throat and begin to sing.

“When I'm deep inside of me, don't be be too concerned. 
I won't ask for nothin’ while I'm gone
When I'm deep inside of me…
Tell me where else can I turn..” 

I look up at the photo on the piano and gently stroke it with my fingertips.
“ ‘Cause you're the one that I depend upon..”

To Be Continued.






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