Saturday

Joy

Hey, why don’t you take this battle?” I heard them offer.
And at that, I scoffed. The nerve!
This wasn’t even their battle to start with.
I’ll give you a battle, I thought, rolling up my sleeves
To fight two 13-year-olds.

I entered the room to punch their noses;
and I almost did; but I saw his face.
My brother glowed with immense pride and joy
He began the battle, failing to hide that smile on his face;
and said: I will. I will take this battle.

I stopped. I slowly backed off.
I hated his friends, indeed I did. He knew it too.
But when he was so happy to finally get his chance,
in his house, on his iPad, on his game, with his account,
All I could do was helplessly watch, and not say a word.

Half a minute later; ‘What are you doing?’
they screamed, ‘This isn’t the way!’
But I’m doing what you said, he whispered back, scared.
‘We shouldn’t have let you play,” They said;
‘We shouldn’t have let you play.’

‘Put the Goblins here, put the Barbarians there,’
I listened, as that’s all I could do.
‘You’re so stupid, did you not think this through?’
‘You’re so bad, I can’t watch this. This is suicide!’ they just wouldn’t stop.
You’re right, I thought, glaring. I couldn’t watch this either.

His face was sweating like never before,
it had lost its glow.
It had lost its determination, its joy.
His hands shook and all it did was
Destroy, some more.

I couldn’t take it anymore.
I had to play the mean sister yet again,
And sent them all outside to play.
As he walked past, I stole a glance at his face;
So defeated, so forlorn, I ached all over, I really did.

A few hours later now, we ate in silence.
I couldn’t keep it in, I really tried.
Despite my efforts to not interfere, I ended up doing just that.
I asked him: ‘Why do you let them treat you that way?’

At that, his head snapped back to look at me.
His eyebrows raised, in utter annoyance.
As if to say, ‘How dare you ask such a thing?’
His lips a thin line, complimenting his eyebrows;
it said: ‘How dare you think that?’

But his eyes told a different story
They were frightened; crestfallen.
Like a fish out of water, like a picture without colour.
He tried to mask it, I’ll give you that.
But they spoke loud and clear, a message you can’t ignore.

He summed up his courage; and with four words he replied.
Just four, no more, no less.
They threw me speechless, I really could not say more.
He looked at me with those helpless eyes.

Just like a poor little boy who didn’t know how to get his way.
Just like a poor little boy who didn’t know how to express what he felt.
Just like a fish out of water;
A picture without colour,
He looked at me in the eye.

‘They are my friends.’