Attic III

It was a little strange that Alice
wanted to talk to me.
I was loading the Volvo
with books and posters,
preparing for the New York
January in the morning.

Do you have a minute?

Sure. Anything
to put off the cold.

In private?

Oh, sure.

I suggested the new room.
She suggested
the Attic.

Walking upstairs,
I couldn’t figure why
we hadn’t spent more time
together. Alice had always been there
when things got interesting.

I wondered if this
was what awaited me
at school this year:
new friendships
shaking out from the old.

I hunched on the wall
and she sat a few feet away,
on one of Dad’s old suitcases.
She picked at her fingernails
a minute, then gathered a breath.

It’s your brother.

Oh, God. What’s he done?

She looked me in the eye
for a moment, then smiled
and gestured up the hill.

I think everyone knows
he has a wallflower crush
on me, but in October
he actually did something.

You’re joking.

We met at the Duck Pond
Circle with a box of pizza.
Then he pulled out a bottle
of awful red wine and a poem
he’d written for me.
He asked me
to sing for him.

So what did you do?

I sang for him.

And how was the poem?

You know? Really sweet.
We stayed out till 3:00
talking about everything.

The whole time, he just sat
next to me. Never made a move.

Why are you telling me this?
Why not my sister?

Some things… are just too weird
for your best friend.

So what’s the problem?

He hasn’t talked to me since.

You know that’s just how he is.
We do call him Mumbles.

I have limits.

I raised my hands as if to say, Well…?

You could make the move yourself.

Well, I could. But I don’t much want
to spend my heart on someone
who can’t.

Alice chuckled
through her teeth.

I guess he’ll find me
when he’s ready.


Added: April 8, 2013 | Last changed: June 7, 2014