Art & Life

Untitled flash fiction

Tonight my brother takes me to where we’ll meet up with his buddy, friends since high school, he’s a hazard of a man, scrawny, anxious, has a habit of picking at his skin until it bleeds, follows that by licking the blood from under his nails, and my brother offers him a napkin from his bag, and his friend crumples it, tosses it on the ground, and I know why my brother hasn’t introduced me to his friend before, and I consider there wasn’t much of a person to introduce to me anyways, but to my brother, here is a person nonetheless who drops his rigid posture, says, like he anticipated the question from my brother, rehab set him up for failure, filled him with propaganda, to worship a kind of hope he’s never believed in, and he’s shaking more now probably because he didn’t expect his answer to sound so rehearsed, even though it is, and he continues, still artificial and monotone, but with a little uncertainty this time, that he was made an addict for life, that he is more interesting outside of healing than within, and I catch his eyes for a second, his just as bloodshot as mine, and I realize he just saw himself in me, and I worry this is my brother’s aim for us meeting, to show a ‘lesser’ addict someone worse, to compare our hurt, to shout this is how bad you will get and I need you to not get this bad, but I’m not paying attention anymore; I think, this concrete looks beautiful in this light, and my brother puts his hand on my shoulder as if to guide me back into stories I’ve already lived myself, to warn me that indifference can’t give me the new life he wants for me, and I shrug his hand off my body, a screw you to him and a we should hangout on one of these corners in a couple months to his friend, and I hope, one day, my brother will see me and his friend under the dim glow of these streetlights and regret introducing us at all.