‘Daniel, why do we still have that portrait up?’ Mrs Jenkins asked Mr Jenkins.
‘I have no idea, Linda. I told the men to take it down, along with the others,’ Mr Jenkins responded. He walked to the kitchen counter and poured coffee into his mug. ‘Maybe they forgot to take it down?’
I sat at the table, just looking up at the picture. The boy was looking back at me, but his eyes were closed. I couldn’t help but wonder what colour his eyes were. We’re they dark? Could I drown in them? He was smiling, so maybe they were light? But his hair was dark. I tried to recreate his fringe on my own head. But blonde and black were complete opposites.
‘Stop looking at the boy,’ Mrs Jenkins said. ‘Eat your food Kelly, before it gets cold,’ she continued. She was frying something. I didn’t know what. Actually, I didn’t really care much, I just wanted to know who this boy was, and why he kept appearing in my dreams.
‘Mum, I think his name is Michael,’ I replied.
‘Michael?’ Dad smiled. ‘Kelly, there’s some upstairs, you can give them names too, love, if you want.’
‘It’s not funny,’ I sent him my stare. My annoyance look. If I was to guess, the boy was probably a few years younger than me. ‘Only a few years,’ I muttered.
‘Only a few what, darling?’ Mrs Jenkins asked.
‘Nothing, mum. I’ve finished,’ I quickly stood up and sped towards the stairs. ‘I’m going to unpack the rest of my things,’ I yelled back at no one in particular.
The new house was huge. All the houses in the area were big, but, compared to our previous home, this was big. There were many rooms that I had yet to explore, secret passages even. Houses like this, only ever existed in books. But, even walking through the hallway, it felt like I was in a book. Living a story. Maybe one day, someone will write a story about me. About this house, and the secret passages, which I had yet to discover.
I walked passed my room, I could unpack later. There were no lights, so we had to use lamps. No lights also equated to no electricity. Simple. I wanted to uncover the other portraits.
I peeked into the room, yes, ‘a lamp was necessary.’
‘Why would you need a lamp?’
I suddenly turned and nearly tripped over my foot. How can one trip over their own foot?
Anyways, it was my little brother. Should I include ‘annoying’ too? Hmm, you can decide yourself.
I still held the advantage of looking down at him. I might as well use it before he has his growth spurt, right?
‘What are you doing here?’ I asked. ‘Oh, and what are you holding?’ I screwed my eyes and pointed at the books.
His little face lit up. He looked straight at me and I could see his smile. His lips were not tipped up, yet, I could see the smile in his eyes. Strangely enough, that brought a smile to my own face.
‘Come on, Jamie, tell me,’ I asked again, this time more softly.
Kneeling down, I hugged him. For some reason, it just felt right.
‘Kelly, I found these in my room,’ he whispered, against my cheek.
‘Okay, but Jamie, why are you crying? Just a second ago, you were smiling. You know you can tell me anything, right?’ I whispered back, as I felt his tears. I could feel something break inside me.
‘I don’t know why, Kelly, I don’t know. I just saw these books, it’s drawings, and it brought tears. There’s two pianos, you know. There’s one in my room. Unlike you, I’m so bad at it, but I touched a key and my fingers decided to tap away,’ he stopped and tried to control his tears.
Pulling back, I began to wipe away his tears. ‘It happens, Jamie, sometimes it’s natural. You like playing it, right?’ I, again, softly asked.
‘You may not be good at following the notes, but you, perhaps, are great with improvising. Did you play a song you knew?’
‘No. No, my fingers just started playing a tune I’ve never tried,’ he responded, now more calmly. He wiped his eyes and looked up into my eyes.
He held no facial expression, but he was still talking to me. Not with words, but his messages were coming from his eyes. Why, I could not tell you, but, I could read them.
He was worried, he was scared, he needed me. Jamie, was only 10 after all.
But that’s when it hit me.