Mum cries out from the bedroom down the end of the hallway, and I know he is gone. Her cry is one of a grief so complex it still haunts me to this day. My older brother is there with her, he was the one who answered the phone. I sit with my younger brother and sister in the lounge room. Tears start rolling down my cheeks and they won’t stop coming. My brother is playing Tony Hawk on the Playstation. My younger brother and sister have no idea their dad has just died.
Mum comes into the lounge room with my older brother. They say nothing. They don’t need to. The lounge room is dark, the blinds have been pulled shut all day. My little brother pauses his game and comes up to me, smiling. ‘Hey Becky,’ he says, ‘don’t cry, here do you want to play?’ He pushes the Playstation controller into my hands and urges me not to cry. The controller slips from my hands and falls at my feet.
My little brother turns to each of us, our faces marked by a grief he can’t yet comprehend. I’m sure he feels it too. They both feel it, maybe now more than ever before, now that they are older and fully understand the significance of their loss, our loss.
I don’t remember a thing after this moment. Did we have takeaway that night? Mum would have been too distraught to cook. We wouldn’t have eaten anyway. Did we go to bed early or stay up late? Were there hushed, fraught phone calls through the evening? Did we catch the other moments between day and dusk as they slipped through our fingers?
It happened on a Sunday in March, many years ago. I am now convinced that Sundays were made for leaving.