Monday, December 30, 2019

the last book I ever read (The Yellow House: A Memoir by Sarah M. Broom, excerpt seven)

from National Book Award winner The Yellow House: A Memoir by Sarah M. Broom:

Darryl became “Praise the Lord” man whenever he was in recovery, saying “Praise the Lord” like a tic after every single sentence no matter its relevance. After rehab, trust regained, he would reenter the Yellow House and find temporary work—at a candy factory, say. He’d work until his second paycheck, then start back on drugs. I always knew when he was using because he was moody and jumpy, sleeping for too long on the couch. Sometimes, when I tried to wake him, afraid that he was dead, he’d call me Fatso. I had wide shoulders and big thighs.

“Who even uses that word?” I’d say to him.

The Darryl we loved, but rarely saw now, was extremely funny, a wordsmith, teller of the best tales. It was less what he said, more how he said it. He had a comedian’s timing. He told tongue twisters using a lot of curse words, which made me crack up laughing, especially in those years when I could hear better than I could see. Sometimes, when we were younger, all of us who were in the house at any given time would end up in Mom’s pink-painted bedroom while Darryl regaled us with ordinary stories made to sound fantastical. How a bullet grazed his face during a fight over a girl at a middle school dance, leaving a scar under his eye that looks like a folded leaf. “I just kept dancing, you know, baby, those legs kept moving. Ain’t no thing,” Darryl claimed. Sometime we’d feel so free in our togetherness that we’d have the nerve to jump on Mom’s bed. It would be all laughs and smiles and sometimes jabs and light wrestling when Darryl would interrupt with what we thought was yet another wry story. “I’m the black sheep of the family,” he would say to ruin everyone’s mood.

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