February 21, 2012: Brothers. CWE 142

On Sunday afternoons, their father drank beer from plastic cups in front of the TV while watching The Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling. The gorgeous ladies had teased hair and drew heavy black lines around their eyes. They wore electric green onesies cut over their hips and bounced the floor of the ring with their heavy thighs. The boys’ father was asleep in the pilling recliner by dinnertime, and then Joe practiced his moves. He chop dropped Billy and body slammed him against the sofa. Clouds of dust motes exhaled from the cushions and circled in the sunlight. Billy’s laughter rang bells in the corners of the family room, and his smile split his face like the seams of an overripe tomato. Joe lifted Billy and held him sideways over his head like a trophy. They spun in the blue glow cast by the TV, and the crowd roared.

The children were already fevered when the teachers corralled them for mass on Friday afternoons. Joe walked the hallways with the sixth graders. The boys slid across the linoleum with their heels hanging out of their leather shoes.

Mrs. Finn lined up the first graders in the windowless classroom in the basement. The children squirmed under the arch of a rainbow painted on the wall.

Billy was a small boy sketched out on a grainy piece of tissue paper. His pink ears fluttered around his head like powdery moths and reddened when the fluorescent lights caught them from behind. His back was a box of spilled toothpicks. He made thoughtful movements so he didn’t upset the pile.

Boys in pilling blue sweaters pushed at each other’s shoulders and girls in plaid jumpers pulled on one another’s elbows. Lines of navy blue children children ribboned around the baptismal font and past flat shelves holding pamphlets outlining the glory of the holy sacraments.


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