I had never taken his advice, which seemed counterintuitive and grotesque, like eating meat from a can. I had spent most of my life trying to lower any expectation that had attached itself to me, as if to increase the likelihood that I might one day inadvertently exceed it. My greatest temptation had always been to act in order to recount the action in words at a later date.
And so there I was, in a headlock onboard the Sweet Pea, supposedly writing it all down.
I’ll tip it! I’ll tip it! My brother yelled as he shifted his grip on my neck. Trying to have a conversation with him had become like trying to sit comfortably on a couch covered in aluminium foil.
What, I said. What. What do you want?
There was a curl of waxed rope at my feet, and I was trying to get enough leverage so that I could heft one of its extremities into his face.
You’re not even listening, he said.
If he had one wish, it would be for everything to remain the same, always.
I am, I said.
Yeah, no, I am. What do you think I’m doing? I’m listening, okay? I’m listening.
Okay, he said, and relaxed insofar as we could both bend our knees. Then what are you writing.