Small Talk

short story about two brothers

Short Story

 

I like to come out here.

Yeah, it’s nice.

There used to be a barn over there. I don’t know what happened to it-neighbors must have torn it down.

I didn’t know that was all your land.

I didn’t like it.

What?

The barn I mean. It was falling apart.

Oh, ok. Have you talked to mom lately?

She doesn’t call.

You’re supposed to call her…

I don’t really like talking on the phone. It’s just an annoyance. I’m terrible at multi-tasking already, so I’m basically landlocked in the same position until the call is over.

Seriously? That’s the excuse you’re making?

It’s not an excuse.

We all see it you know.

See what?

You’ve slowly been pulling out of all communication with any of us. You move to the country. Every time I see you, it’s like you’re in some kind of self-hating funk-besides the fact it’s not a funk…because you’re always like that.

That’s not true.

It is. You think Mom and Dad are out to get you-like you had some horrible childhood that you can never forgive them for.

You have no idea why I don’t talk to them.

Yes, I do. I know exactly why. It’s because you are jealous of me.

Seriously?

You couldn’t stand-and can’t stand-to see your older brother be a success while you’re failing at your dreams.

I failed at my dreams because I never had a chance of pursuing them you self-righteous ass. Your dream was finance. Out of all dreams you literally chose the worst one. Of course Mom and Dad supported you and you went to college and all of that. You didn’t accomplish your dreams, circumstance did.

That’s how you explain it to yourself?

I told them that I wanted to go to school for writing and they thought I was joking. They actually laughed at me. You think I didn’t go to school because I couldn’t get in? I got accepted to the same schools you did. I didn’t go because I couldn’t afford it, and unlike you, Mom and Dad wouldn’t support me, because they didn’t want to support an “unsuccessful future.”

You still could have gone. Just take responsibility for yourself once in your life.

I have. That is why I have stopped communicating with you and the others. That’s why I’m writing again, and that’s why I moved out here.

Oh yeah, running away will make you happy. You’ve found the cure!

Don’t pretend you’re something you’re not.

What am I pretending to be?

Happy. You’re not happy. You put on this show like everything in your life is going exactly according to plan. And yes, maybe it is, but I can look at you and see.

See what?

The emptiness in you. You thought once you accomplished your idea of success you would be happy, and then you accomplished it. And you know what? You’re not happy.

I’m happy.

No.

Yes.

No. You are not, and I feel sorry for you. I really do. I wish I could help, but I don’t know how. But, you’re unhappiness doesn’t mean you can try to take mine away. Please leave.

Don’t make me go back.

 

more by TYLER CLIFTON

photograph by Bryan Pocius

 

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