Whensday

By Foster Trecost

Weekends are for my brother. I try to see him on Saturdays, but sometimes it’s Sunday. He doesn’t know one day from the next, so I don’t guess it matters. His nurses tuck him away from the other patients, but I wish they wouldn’t. Even if he doesn’t talk, he might like listening. 

If blame belongs anywhere, it belongs on the bird. We were walking out back and there was this crow carrying on. We didn’t pay him much mind because crows were always carrying on, but this one dove down and damn-near landed on my brother’s head, wings flapping, squawking like the end of the world. Shook us up pretty bad. I got over it, but not my brother. He’s still not over it.

After that he hardly left the house, quit talking, too, at least during the day. But come nighttime he’d say plenty. Dreaming out loud I used to call it. I tried to follow, but nothing made sense. It wasn’t long before he went in the asylum. We hoped he’d get better, but I swear he got worse.

My brother thinks my weeks don’t have weekends, just a string of days that are all the same. He’s wrong. I have weekends just like him, but weekends aren’t the problem; it’s Wednesday that’s the problem. I can’t figure that day out. Monday One-day. Tuesday Two-day. Thursday Three-day. Friday Four-day. These days come round when they’re supposed to, but I never know when it’s going to be Wednesday.

He walks in and rambles on for an hour, talks about work and his wife. It’s almost like a sermon and I’m the only one in church. I let him think I’m listening, but my mind wanders, looks for Wednesday.

Nights were easier. No one there but my brother and he could sleep though anything. All the words I couldn’t bring myself to say, they’d come out at night. They made sense, I had time to think. I can’t think when someone’s waiting for me to say something. That’s why I like it here, no one waits for me to say anything.

If I’d just looked up in time, I could’ve done something, gone to yelling, but it happened so fast. I guess in some ways that bird landed on my head, too. And like my brother, I’m not over it, either.

Guilt. That’s why he keeps coming back, because he feels guilty, but it wasn’t his fault and wasn’t the bird’s fault, either. That bird was the best thing that could’ve happened. It gave everyone something to blame, answered all their questions. People need answers, even if they’re the wrong answers.

The weeks pass faster now. Another Saturday, another trip to the asylum. Another Sunday, another day closer to coming back. Sometimes I think my brother’s the lucky one.

“He’s in his room, you know the way.”

“Thank you.”

Monday One-day. Tuesday Two-day. Thursday Three-day. Friday Four-day.

“Your brother’s here, he’s come to visit.”

On Wednesday? I never know when it’s going to be Wednesday.

Foster Trecost writes stories that are mostly made up. They tend to follow his attention span: sometimes short, sometimes very short. Recent work appears in Spelk, Right Hand Pointing, and The Journal of Compressed Creative Arts. He lives near New Orleans with his wife and dog. Follow him on Twitter @fostertrecost

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