“You doing all right?” Al asked, indicating a bandage on his brother’s arm.
Jared grunted. He did not look at the white gauze that stretched from his wrist to his elbow. He said, “You’d never know we had any weather at all to look at your neighborhood.”
“Nope,” Al agreed.
Jared lifted his mug, then cradled it in both hands close to his chest.
“Are you OK?” Al asked again.
Jared leaned forward and set the coffee cup on the table. Finally, he said, “The worst was when the tub flipped. The wind screamed, and the house crashed, and I just laid there under the mattress. And then the tornado picked me up. I lost the mattress, but the tub moved so fast I was glued to the bottom, and I watched that wind snatch the floor right out of my house before it threw me back down on the slab underneath the tub. And then the house thundered down on top of me. I didn’t even notice the cuts until the fire crew dug me out.”
“Well, you came through the other side,” said Al.
“I came through lucky,” Jared agreed.
Outside, a low diesel rumble announced their younger brother’s arrival. Letting himself in the back door, Myron said. “Not much left out at your place.”
Jared said, “Not to speak of.” Then he rose from the table, leaving the coffee behind, and crossed to Myron. They clasped arms; then Al, too stood. He laid a hand on Jared’s shoulder. For that moment, they carried together the weight of the sky and the things men don’t say. Then they let go. Al and Jared returned to the table, and Myron walked over to get himself some coffee.
Myron said. “Cleanup’s going to be a regular beast.”
“That’s for sure,” said Jared, taking a drink from his mug. “A beast.”
Jessie Powell is the Jester Queen. She likes to tell you about her dog, her kids, her fiction, and her blog, but not necessarily in that order.