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Boys Will Be Boys, They Said

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“Klavier. Call someone,” said Kristoph. The space between his fingers were red red. Red and glass lay all over the floor. His eyes were level. He smiled thinly, staring at his brother through the hole in the door. “You’ll do that, won’t you?” He covered his sticky hand with the clean one, cradling it at a distance from his white shirt.

He was so very calm about it that Klavier could only swallow and nod. He did not want to go back inside, where was glass and red and Kristoph’s smile. He did not have a choice. Pieces of the door crunched under his feet as he ran for the stairs. Kristoph did not move. He stood and smiled thinly. And held his red hand.

Their mother’s secretary took Kristoph to the doctor. The doctor said that four of the cuts would heal fine, but the fifth on the back of his hand was very wide and would need stitches. It all happened very fast, and Klavier spent the time quiet and pale and trembling, asking constantly after Kristoph, if he was okay, if they thought it would scar. They told him he was. They told him it would only be very faint. They told him it was not his fault and that he was very brave. They thought he was very good, to worry over his brother so much.

Kristoph came home with chocolates, a new book, and a bandage around his hand. He patted Klavier on the head, with the hand that had not been red, no one had even needed to tell him how sorry and scared Klavier had been. “It will be all right, from now on,” promised Kristoph. He smiled.

“Yes,” mumbled Klavier. He did not say very much back then.