When my brother asked what I wanted for my sixth birthday, I promptly answered, “Wings!”

“Why?” he asked.

“I want to fly away!”

Later that week he bought me a pair of bumblebee wings that were on clearance from Halloween. For the next two years, I often put on those wings and imagined that I could fly away from the raised voices in the kitchen, from the broken chairs and broken promises. I dreamed that I was soaring into the sunset with my polyester wings, accompanied by birds of every color and song.

When I was eight years old, my parents had a particularly bad argument on a stormy September evening. I was crying in my brother’s arms, listening to my parents’ yelling, almost drowned out by the angry rumbles of the thunderstorm surrounding us. At one point I heard a thump on the roof.

I sat up. “What was that?”

“Probably nothing,” my brother replied, but I was certain that I had heard a thump.

My brother didn’t stop me from running outside, probably just happy that I was momentarily distracted from my tears. After all, he was only sixteen. It wasn’t his fault that he had no idea how to comfort a sobbing eight-year-old.

A flash of lightning overhead illuminated the body of a crow next to the wall of our shared bedroom. Its wings were folded at the wrong angles, its neck twisted too far to the right, its messy ebony feathers standing up. Holding the still-warm body, I ran back inside to my brother, clothes soaked with rain and eyes filled with tears once more.

He stared at me for a moment, then at the small black body, unsure what to say. The thunder and incessant rain filled the silence.

Finally he spoke. “I guess there are some things you just can’t fly away from.” He took me in his arms and hugged me tighter than he ever had  before.

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Emily O'Leary
Emily O'Leary (@emily-oleary)
7 months ago

This is so sad, but bittersweet in that sibling love and comfort! And so very real! A very moving piece, Jay.

Fuji
Fuji (@fuji)
7 months ago

Welcome to Voice club, Jay. What a great story for your first entry. Well-written, moving, and tender. Excellent work.

Sandra James
Sandra James (@sandra-james)
7 months ago

What a wonderful big brother! In moments of darkness, I think many of us have longed for comfort from a big brother or sister. Beautifully written, I loved it through my tears  ? 

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Christer Norrlof
Christer Norrlof (@christer-norrlof)
7 months ago

Welcome to Voice.club, Jay. With your name, this theme must be the perfect one for you.
I loved your description about how the older brother is taking care of his younger sibling, even teaching him/her about the inevitable losses and sadness in life.
There are some expressions that stood out for me, like “broken chairs and broken promises” and your description of the dead crow.
At the end of your story, you return and connect to the beginning of it in a masterful way. Beautiful!

Carrie OLeary
Carrie OLeary (@carrie-oleary)
7 months ago

Hi Jay and welcome to Voice club. Such a heartbreakingly sad story, it’s horrid when children have to live through that sort of experience. I love the bond between the siblings, that the older brother was stepping up, almost into a parental role to care for his younger brother. Beautifully written first story.

Eric Radcliffe
Eric Radcliffe (@eric-radcliffe)
7 months ago

Hiya Jay, and a warm welcome to the Voice club. I need just to say, Christer has summed it up beautifully. But there is just one thing I must mention, it is the statement that sums the story up. …..”I guess there are some things you just can’t fly away from.”. In life this is so true!

Brigitta Hegyi
Brigitta Hegyi (@brigitta-hegyi)
7 months ago

Your descriptions are beautiful, but sad too. I like how his big brother tries to be there for him, but you are right, there are things you can’t just fly away from. Great job!

Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo (@lotchie-carmelo)
7 months ago

Welcome to the Voice club, Jay. Your story moved me so much. Well done.

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