It’s been years since I last saw him. No, decades. Water under the bridge. I rejoin him at the bar, careful not to bump his walker.
“Are the bathrooms nice?” he asks. He still has that small town hush, generous wrinkles.
“See for yourself,” I taunt, glancing around the pathetic bar. Smells an odd mixture of wood-smoke and bad genes.
He laughs. His Adam’s apple bob up and down, up and down, like a two bit whore. Or a person with Parkinson’s. Like my brother. “Ask you something?
I shrug. “Sure.”
“Do you think Mom and Dad forgive us?”
“Oh jeez,” I say, “and we were having so much fun.” I pause. Take a swig, enjoy the burn. “I imagine, wherever they are, if you believe in that stuff, the afterlife, they probably aren’t focusing on us. Unless you believe that shit, too.”
He bites his lip. “So you still don’t think it’s our fault?”
We were kids. The accident was ages ago. Life altering, no question.
“I try not to look at it like that. I mean, was I driving? Sure. Was it their fault I drove because they were both too drunk? Maybe. Was it our fault that poor bastard fell asleep at the wheel and slammed into us? You tell me.” I feel blood course through my veins, and my heart pounds as hard as the day it all happened: excruciating blast, metal spark fireworks, spontaneous combustion.
The jukebox plays a Pet Shop Boys song: Being Boring.