That’s what she had said. A phrase that did not even begin to describe what we heard every night. Those agonized screams; nothing a human should ever make.
We had just signed the contract and wanted to go from house to house to introduce ourselves to the neighbors. Hers was the door to our right, the first door we knocked on. “J&K” was written on the doorbell in fancy letters.
She must have been around sixty but her pale skin and the large dark rings around her eyes made her look at least a decade older.
“I’m Kristina,” she said. “And I want to apologize in advance. My husband is not really well and sometimes there might be some noise.” Continue reading →
I stood up when the doctor stepped into the room. “It’s nice to see you again,” he said. His hand was cold. He glanced at the gray clipboard. “When is your child due again?” I asked. He looked up. “Two months,” he said. I smiled. “So soon? I’d like to buy her a gift,” I said. “To thank you for all that you’ve done for me.” His hands sank. He looked past me. “That’s not necessary,” he said. “And it won’t be possible.”
When the light disappeared from behind the curtains it didn’t matter whether our parents were next door or not, it was only Ranyo that made me feel safe. He hugged me goodnight and afterwards he lay on the top bunk with his head dangling down the side of the bed. Every night he watched over me until I fell asleep and only then my brother went to sleep himself.
I don’t have many memories from my early childhood – I mean the ages 3 to 6 – but most of them are memories of Ranyo. He showed me how to make paper airplanes, he taught me to count from one to ten, and he was the one that told me about the treasure chests filled with toys in our garage.
I could not have imagined a better brother than Ranyo. He shared everything with me, even the secrets that I was not supposed to know. Once he showed me how to open the gummi bear drawer and afterwards we sat on the top bunk and ate little cola bottles and sweet green and red cherries until I felt sick.
Ranyo went to a different school than I did. He had to leave earlier than me and so I rarely saw him in the morning. But in turn he also finished earlier and nearly every day he stood on our front porch when mom and I arrived home. Only when it rained he hid inside the house, usually on his bunk with a teddy bear or two in his arms. Continue reading →