Day Eight: Interstellar
‘We want to interview you – about your parents.’
The phone call came swiftly and brutally from another world – one that I did not inhabit or belong to anymore; one of high-rises and neon lights and… hustle – running, from one place to another. Never looking around. I’d answered my cell with one hand, and was holding a warm, newly laid egg in the other. There was shit on my boots.
‘How did you get this number?’
‘This is Charlotte Greene, isn’t it?’
I paused. Could I say no?
‘We’d like to do a feature on the family behind the power couple. The power couple as parents.’
My pause seemed to have been answer enough. ‘It’s not really a good time.’
‘Would tomorrow be better? Give you a chance to speak with your brother.’
‘Yeah, sure.’ I hung up. I looked down at the screen, went to my call history, then promptly blocked the number that had just phoned. It might keep them away for a few more days.
Time to speak to my brother? Clearly their journalism skills had only taken them so far. I hadn’t spoken to my brother in two years. I would speak to him again – twice more in his lifetime (because it ended quite abruptly when he was forty-two), but it would not be on this occasion – not for this purpose.
He was the biggest casualty of my parents’ fame – but that is his story to tell and not mine. I will only attempt to tell some of it here – in those instances where his journey crossed paths with mine. I have come to understand that our memories of events do not always line up and the way he travelled through childhood – despite living in the same house as I did, and having the same parents – was explosive in different ways.
I finished collecting my eggs and walked back across the yard to the house. I stopped on the back porch and looked out across my twelve acres of land: through the cherry orchard, out over the strawberries, to the back woods. The cicadas were in full swing now, playing their woodwind tune to the crickets and beetles - who answered back with short percussive snaps. Like camera shutters.
And for just a moment the land turned into a sea of flashing lights and shouting voices. Look here – turn this way.
Smile, Charlotte. Give us a big smile.