Chapter 34.

Read 33 here with Cupcakemummy


Standing in my bathroom scratching for a clean towel for Mark. Why did he have to come over? I don’t feel like seeing him or hearing what he has to say. Even if his actions are justified and I was just being a bitch. Not now. I don’t care. I grab an old yellow towel from the top shelf. And head to the kitchen where he is dripping all over the place. There is an actual puddle around his feet and the dog thinks it’s the newest fashion in water bowls and slurps up the water as if he has been dehydrated for weeks. I hand mark the towel and put avoid going into the kitchen out of fear that he will insist on staying for coffee.

I watch him dry himself off. He takes off his drenched jacket and folds it over a bar stool. Then he pats the towel around his the back of his neck. The towel makes its way to his very wet hair and he gives it a half hearted rub before he puts the towel on the puddle of water he has brought in with him.  The dog looks displeased.

Mark : Iris, I am done pleading. Let me be clear about this. I won’t apologise for your own stubbornness.  I have put it out there, I like       you. All of you. But I am starting to thing you are a hell of a lot more complicated than I could fathom…

Me: Mark just…

Mark: No. Keep quiet for one minute and let me speak. The second you are not in complete control of a situation you freak out, close up and run. You cannot spend your life an emotional nomad. Put away your tent and build a bloody house for god’s sake. It doesn’t have to be with me but I cannot stand by and watch you ruin yourself any longer.

Me: Just shut up. It’s so easy to stand there and pretend you know me. You don’t. I am sorry I wasted your time.

Mark: Oh please, Iris if you think you are doing yourself a favour by shutting out one more person you are gravely mistaken you stupid girl. What happened to you? What made you this bitter? This brilliant? This broken? Tell me.

Me: Why should I tell you? You will do one of two things. You will either spontaneously morph into a therapist or you will walk out that door. Either way ends in me regretting me telling you anything more about me.

Mark: You are a selfish bitch Iris. What more must I do to spell it out that I am in love with you,  you narcissistic cow. Now stop trampling on my heart. It already drowned today. Tell me your story Iris. All of it.

He walks into the kitchen and puts the kettle on. As if he has been invited to make himself at home. His sharp tone took me by surprise. I didn’t expect him to be this stern. It makes me want him more and I throw caution out the half open kitchen window and sit down by the counter. One day I will have to tell whoever is brave enough to put up with me about it so I might as well practice with Mark. Judging by his reaction I can twist and tweak the way I tell it. Maybe one day I will be able to tell it in such a way that it stops provoking sympathy.

I take a deep breath. Walk over to the kettle where mark is pouring milk into our coffees. I take both mugs and look back over my shoulder to instruct him to bring the towel. He follows me to the couch with the yellow towel. I take it from him to throw over the radiator for it to dry.

I tell Mark about everything. My brother, the Matheos, the day at the pool. The years that followed and all the repercussions of losing a sibling. The words that leave my mouth are more rounded and soft than usual. I tell the story in detail. I explain about the children’s book. The duck and the cat and before I know it its 2 hours later.

I said it.

Mark barely spoke a word except for the occasional “where” or “How”. His expression is unreadable and I imagine him being very good at poker. He turns to face me, and I brace myself for the shame-routine. I gently remind myself people don’t understand and immediate always turn to “it’s not your fault”. But mark still looks blank. Did I scare him that much? A puzzled look creeps onto my face as he reaches into his pants pocket and takes out his wallet. I can feel my forehead wrinkle with confusion. He opens up his wallet to reveal an old photograph of a young man standing by a car. A dusty old Ford.

Mark : That’s my brother, Phillip. He didn’t die. After he rolled the car driving us home from high school  he is now in a home in the town where my parents live.  He didn’t die. He is half the man he used to be because of an accident. I use to feel he was stuck. I did the unthinkable and wished him dead. For him to be free. But I was so wrong. He might not be the same man he was before, but he is still my brother and he still feels joy. Why shouldn’t I? Why shouldn’t you Iris?

It’s as if my whole universe stopped for a split second. I feel so selfish and ashamed and I had the audacity to tell him he doesn’t get it.


Its early morning now and I slide Marks arm into the his Jacket. We spent the night talking about Phillip. About my brother. All of it. Just like life to surprise you you know? He slips out the door and I feel comfortable with everything. With him mostly.

I have been avoiding my emails in dread of Winters response.  When I open her mail the one line is pretty good indication that she means business. Since I am feeling brave, I repeat my story for the second time in 24 hours. God my therapist would be proud.  Couldn’t speak of it for so many years and now it bring it up twice in one day (Well, almost).

I console myself in the fact that Winter is a paid employee and if she hates me at least I have her drawings to comfort me. I lie to myself repeatedly telling myself she is not a friend. She is not a friend.

I tart the mail off slowly. Telling her about my brother again. telling her the full names of the parties involved and telling her about my guilt. My fingers dance across the keyboard almost knowing what to say before my head does.

I hit send.

Please don’t hate me Winter.




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