Dear Riot

This too shall pass. You will not be lost forever. I promise.

In the mean time – hold on to the things you have. Remember your name, even though no-one will ever use it again. Cling to the language in which you learned to think, cling to the teachings in which you were raised to believe, keep calling that London number, keep talking to your father before you go to sleep. Keep breathing. Keep living. You already know how wet and cold feet marching in outgrown, outworn boots through London slush can be. Soon you will understand real cold, the kind that turns your snot into solid ice and makes your eyelids white with frost. You will come to love it, actually.

When your brother wakes up (he will wake up. It is probably for the best. Your mother could be charged with murder otherwise and then you’d probably be shipped of to live with your maternal grandparents and you have no idea how bad that would be), he will start screaming again. He will hate the new house, especially the parts that you love, the staircase, the soft sofa with no upholstery peeking out anywhere, the round yellow and blue plush pillows. He will try to destroy what he can, especially the things you most want to protect, the china clown doll, the pink glass vase the figures decorating the book shelves. He will lift them up over his head and smash them against the floor, the cat with three kittens, the ballerina, the kissing children. When you decide to save just one, the child dressed in a sheet carrying a staff and stroking a lamb, he will discover that the figurine is missing, but he will not understand that you are to blame. Instead, he will blame the world, and he will head out the door to tell it off.

This is how you will discover that your brother can remember things. This is how you will discover that he can open doors. This is how you will discover that your mother is willing to let him walk of into the snow without boots or coat, his woollen socks sinking into the snow as he runs.

You will consider returning to your room. You have one now, and in it there is a box of Donald Duck magazines that you could read – or at least read the pictures in as the text is in Norwegian and you still don’t know much more of that language than how to threaten murder – while your brother falls silent forever under snow-heavy pines in the dark outside. You have a conscience, though. Again, probably for the best. Your grandparents really are not very nice people.

You will jump into your boots and jacket and follow the sound of him into the dark woods. You will be amazed at his stamina, his small legs will carry him far, his small lungs all the while having enough air to wail relentlessly. When you finally reach him, he will have fallen to the ground. He has discovered that he is all alone, that the woods are dark, and for the first time in his life, he is afraid.

Then you will come. You will sing to him calm him down. He will cling to you as he has never clung to anyone, and he will trust you to make him warm again. That is when you will understand that you are lost in those woods. You have never been there before, you don’t know the way back to your new house. But in your pocket is a china figurine, and the small child with a lamb seems magical in the night. Rebel will look at it and consider smashing it, but when you hold it up like a guiding star, he follows it instead. So do you. You will sing, he will be silent, and in hand you will let the lamb child lead you home.

When you get there, your mother is not in. That is okay, Rebel doesn’t need her anymore, anyway. He relies on you now, he trusts you to remove his wet clothes, to dry him of with a towel. When you bring him his pyjamas, he will let you put them on him without protest. When he lifts a glass as if to throw it, you can gently lead his hand to put the glass down again and tell him «no». He will listen. You will become his hero.

He will be heavy at times, but he’s your brother so you’ll carry him anyway.

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