Brian

When Brian opened the door to the car the warmth was the first thing to hit him and he smiled because it smelled like warm vanilla, almost as though his dad were baking cakes in the dash somehow or had just picked up an enormous bag of still-warm cookies from their favorite convenience store. He loved when Dad picked him up for his appointments because he knew there wouldn’t be any fights. When mom dropped him off at Dad’s there was always a fight about stuff like therapy and medications.


The people weren’t coming. No one seemed to be coming. Had anyone seen their car? Had anyone seen the accident? Was that a helicopter?


His chest hurt. Where was his daddy? Brian closed his eyes.


The people around him were talking loud. They were talking to him a lot but it seemed to him like they really weren’t talking to him as much as at him. He wouldn’t respond even if he could.


When the helicopter door opened Brian felt the cold December air harsh on his cheeks, nose, and lips—the only parts of him exposed to the open air as he lay there completely immobile and swaddled like the Native American baby from his third grade Social Studies book. He remembered the picture easily because he remembered everything easily. Photographic memory his daddy called it. The doctor used another word. Began with an “i” he thought. Where was his daddy now? Brian closed his eyes. His chest hurt.