2004-06-04 - 3:58 p.m.

Chapter 7

“He found evidence of previous fractures.”

Sara’s hand remained loosely at Gil’s wrist, her pointer finger absently stroking his skin, “Sure, a guy lives like he does, does the stuff he does, someone’s gonna get some shots in on him along the way.”

“Older than that. Hundreds.”


The implication settled on her like a weight. She pulled her hand back and ran it though her hair.

“My father was in the import/export business. He worked mostly with Communist China. He would bring in art for my mother’s gallery. She hated him being gone for so long at a time but it was the 60’s and if you wanted to do business with China you had to prove yourself to people. Mom thought he was over there representing her, but when some men started coming to the gallery demanding pieces she had sold the morning before she started to get nervous. Long story, short version, dad had been moving drugs through artwork. In the beginning he only brought in legitimate artwork to her gallery but used others to fence the drugs. He started getting greedy and as mom’s hearing started to go he figured it would be pretty easy to slip some stuff past her. She may not hear much, but she’s got good instincts. She checked every piece he brought in, figured out what was going on and told him she wanted a divorce.”

He sipped his water and kept his eyes on the horizon. “She told him this while he was still in China, told him not to bother to come home. One morning about a month later she woke up and found his things gone from his closet. She says she never cried about losing him, that since Miles and I were born he had always been cruel to her. We never saw that, but he was distant to us, a stranger who sometimes came to stay. She came to our room in the morning to wake us up and my bed was empty. She thought I’d gotten up, gone to make myself breakfast or something but couldn’t find me.”

Again Gil paused, trying to find a way to verbalize the past he wanted so much to forget. “She only had to look in the next bed. Miles always wanted to sleep by the window so he got the window bed, but if it stormed he’d get scared of the thunder and bug me to switch with him. No one knew it. He had to be tough; no one could know he was scared. That night he had begged me to switch even though there had been no storm. I was half asleep I didn’t care. He said he heard noises but I didn’t pay much attention, I just got into his bed, let him have mine and returned to sleep. In the morning there was only my mother and I, my father’s things were gone, Miles was gone. We didn’t hear from either of them again for years.”

“But your dad thought he had taken you.”

“I was never clear on why. Maybe he wanted to take me to punish my mother. She hadn’t learned to read lips that well yet and I was learning sign language with her, picking it up pretty quickly for a 5 year old, but Miles refused to try or it could have just been chance. He may have just grabbed, not even knowing which of us belonged in which bed. Either way, Miles blamed me for his life, said that if I had been in my bed I’d be the one living in China, forced to help my father with the seedier sides of his business, and taking the beatings when my father couldn’t be found.”

“I’m sorry.”

“When I saw Miles again we were 13. My mother had searched and searched for him and when she found my father she hounded him until he agreed to bring Miles home. The damage had been done. He had been a pawn in too many games of evil men. He told me story after story of men who had beat him, men who had been allowed to rape him in repayment for my father’s debts. My father had started using the drugs he was selling and had no sense of morality. He hired hookers and had sex with them in front of Miles, and then insisted Miles learn to follow his lead. When they were finished instead of paying them my father taught Miles how to slit their throats and leave them in garbage cans. At home Miles only interest was in watching things die.”

“That’s, oh God Gil, that’s terrible.”

“He would kill these animals in front of me and I would dissect them, try to figure out what the mechanics were of death. I think I was trying to find a way to stop their death, resurrect them maybe knowing it was futile.”

“Undo your brother’s evil.”

His voice was nearly a whisper, “He wasn’t evil. Not then. He was exorcizing him demons for certain but he wasn’t evil. He wasn’t at fault.”

Sara stroked his hair, “Neither are you.”

He surprised her by taking her hand and pressing his cheek into it. She continued to whisper, “This isn’t your fault, you couldn’t have stopped it. You were children.” Tears slipped dripped between her fingers and welled in her palm.

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