Raging Alone 13: Grief
Desòchu woke up to an full bladder and his brother’s cries. He opened his eyes to the dark ceiling above him his room had no outside openings and the glow lights were all dark. He peeked over to the entrance where the blue-tinged light from the living room shone into the opening.
It reminded him of seeing his grandmother standing in the doorway when he found his mother bleeding in her bed.
As grief rose up, he closed his eyes and tightened his groin in hopes of being able to sleep away the memories and his obligations.
With a groan, Desòchu lifted his head and glared at the entrance of his room. His brother was standing in the entrance, an unavoidable reminder that he wouldn’t have time to grieve or even question his father’s sudden disappearance.
Desòchu shoved his face into his blankets and took a deep breath. It took a moment to build up the desire to move but he didn’t have the time to sleep in like he did when he was younger. Planting his hands on his mattress, he levered himself up and crawled out of bed.
Rutejìmo reached out for him, holding his diaper in one hand and his sleeping clothes with another.
Ignoring his younger brother, Desòchu walked past him and into the living room.
The toddler ran after and then ahead of him. His naked butt was still moist from his diaper. He turned around and brandished his diaper. “Sochu! Sochu—!”
Desòchu looked away and up to his father’s room. His mood darkened instantly and he felt himself scowling.
He held up a hand.
Rutejìmo quieted. Desòchu glanced down to see his brother staring at him with wide green eyes.
“Just… give me a second. Then I’ll take you out.”
“I pee.” Rutejìmo held up his hand and waved his diaper. Droplets of urine splashed everywhere. Some of the splatters soaked into the couch.
Cringing, Desòchu started to grab for the diaper but then the pointlessness of the situation slammed into him. It didn’t matter what he did, it would be the same thing tomorrow and the day after.
He closed his fingers inches above his brother’s hand and pulled it pack.
Desòchu gestured to the ground. “Drop it, I’ll deal with it.”
Feeling listless, Desòchu headed over to the eating area and pulled out a bottle of juice. There was only a few left. He reminded himself to tell his father to pick up more of them when he got another bottle of his own from the common store.
Then he remembered that his father was gone. Disappeared in the middle of the night and no one would ever mention his name again. His hand tightened on the bottle as tears began to gather in his eyes.
Desòchu handed the bottle to his brother to distract him. When Rutejìmo toddled off giggling happily, Desòchu turned and headed for the front door. He had to step over the the dirty diaper but he had no energy or desire to do anything about it. He needed air.
Outside, the valley was waking up with the sunrise. He didn’t know how, but all the adults seemed to start moving almost the exact moment where the sun rose above the horizon.
Ignoring the pressure in his bladder, he sat down on the edge of the path with his feet dangling over. It was an uncomfortable position with the sharp rocks digging into his legs, but he knew he couldn’t move too far from the cave in case Rutejìmo needed him.
Down below, he watched people gather at the cooking area. Everyone had their duties. The cooking fires had been burning for almost an hour and meals for a hundred mouths were almost prepared. Even his friends were up, holding their heads from hangovers and not enough sleep, as they staggered back and forth underneath watchful eyes.
The teenagers from the other clans were helping along. As they moved around underneath the canvas shelters, Desòchu could see them stealing kisses and touches with each other and Gemènyo. However, for all the affection they had, it was obvious they would be gone soon. Their bags were already stacked up out of the way on the side closest to the exit.
Even though he skipped out on the festivies the night before, Desòchu felt like he had missed something. It could have been him enjoying the tender kisses of fleeting affection. He could have woken up in the arms of some lover instead of tears and grief.
He turned and looked at the exit of the valley. He wished he was going with the other teenagers. A fleeting fantasty of running away rose up but was quickly crushed. He couldn’t leave, he would never be allowed to leave with his brother holding him down.
Desòchu looked over his shoulder. Rutejìmo stood in the door, holding the now unadorned blanket aside with his arm. With a start, Desòchu crawled to his feet and looked at the entrance of his home.
A pile of trinkets laid on one side, almost all of them made of white porcelain and paper. Much of it was trimmed with gold. From a quick look, it appeared to be mostly small figurines of birds, books of poetry, and tiny vases. He frowned, white and gold were not the colors of the Shimusògo: yellow, orange, and red. Nor were they the colors of the new clan that had arrived, the Tateshyúso used light blues and greens as their colors.
The pile reminded him of the trinkets they had left with his mother’s death. It was the only sign that anyone remembered either of his parent’s lives. By night, it would be gone along with the last memory of his father.
Desòchu clenched his hand into a fist. His teeth ground together as he stared at the blanket. They had swapped it out in the middle of the night, a quiet betrayal of his father’s life.
“Bro? What wrong?”
With a snarl, Desòchu stormed into the cave, shoving the blanket aside and ripping it out of his brother’s hand.
Rutejìmo fell over with a thud.
Before his wail filled the cave, Desòchu was already heading to his room. He stopped halfway when he realized he desperately had to pee.
His brother cried out again.
Pushing away the discomfort, Desòchu continued to storm into his room. “Rot in hell, you shit-filled excuse for a brother.”