Postcard: two brothers and an old man

(350 Words) April 2016
by S.R.A. Markin

“You seem anxious.”
I look at him then my eyes drop. The elevator door closes.
“You have been going for many walks at unusual hours, and it is concerning. You spend most of your time at the gym, and then when you come home, you go downstairs to your room. You know you can talk to me.”
I force a smile while looking ahead and leaning on the wall. My brother stands up straight. All six feet of him with one hand on my shoulder. The elevator door opens. A short old man steps into the elevator. He stands with his back to us.
“I am angry,” I said.
“I know,” he said, “Do you still write in your journals?”
“Yes. I mostly write when I am upset. These past few years I have been filling up my fair share.”
He almost laughs, and I smile a little. The old man blows his nose and clears his throat.
“You know, ever since I found Mom lying on the floor, next to a side stand with empty prescription and empty wine bottles, my view on life has changed.”
“How so?” he said.
“I never told anyone this, but that night I was going home, on the train, I met this unusual woman. She had to be younger than me. Full of life. She caught my eyes. My eyes were puffy and red from crying earlier. She was at one end of the train, and I was on the other. We faced one another smiling and mouthing our words. We laughed. I felt so alone that night, nearly abandoned by the one person who said she would never leave me, and here I was, laughing.”
My brother clears his throat. The elevator stops. The old man presses buttons, and the elevator remains still.
“Do you think we are stuck?” my brother said.
“Yes, we are stuck.” I watch the old man try to open the doors. I watch him begin to panic as if it will help. My brother attempts to comfort him. That is his nature. Mine, however, I just laugh.