The next day I drive up to the shack, Aiden is looking at me from the window. His eyes are light blue, as if made of glass, I have never seen such eyes. And now they are empty.
"Hi!" I say and smile. I don't think he even remembered me from yesterday. "I'm Jack. How are you?"
But Aiden is silent, I'm a little embarrassed, but I decide that in his condition (although I have no idea what his condition is) it is forgivable. Brent comes out of the house, gives his brother a worried look, and walks over to me.
"He... he doesn't talk to me either..."
"That's okay," I say as cheerfully as possible. "He'll come around I'm sure. I asked Laura to drop in here from time to time."
Brent looks at me gratefully.
"We are causing so many problems, aren't we?" he says awkwardly.
"Everything pays off with hard work," I say. He sits down next to me, and we drive away under Aiden's impassive look.
I show Brent a pasture, a stable, and a garage. Brent immediately says that he knows nothing about cars. Well, I figured that much. I showed him sown fields and a fruit grove, showed him how to handle the equipment. I think for the first day that was even more than necessary, because at the end of the it Brent no longer even listened to me and could hardly stand. I brought him to the house, Laura made dinner again, but Brent fell asleep almost immediately.
Aiden sits on the bed by the window where I saw him this morning, still blank.
"He probably didn't budge for a whole day," Laura says, following my gaze.
"Hey, Aiden," I walk up to him with a plate of roast. "Your brother did a good job today, but he wasn't strong enough for dinner. So you have to eat for him." I smile. Aiden doesn't react to my joke again. Laura sits down on the porch.
"Maybe you try?" I ask her.
She just snorts:
"What? To spoon-feed him ?"
"You wanna be a doctor! You'd have to spoon-feed people!"
"He's not sick," Laura says. "He's in shock."
"For me, it's the same thing."
"That's why I'm the doctor here, not you."
I turn to Aiden again and say:
"Don't mind her, she's just being nasty."
Laura clicks her tongue loudly.
"But she's a great cook, it's impossible to deny," I add.
Aiden lowers his eyes and lies down on the pillow. Did I say something wrong?
I decide to leave him alone and sit next to Laura on the porch. We eat in silence.
"Don't do anything foolish, Jack, okay?" She says suddenly.
"I wasn't going to."
She squints me, it makes her look like a vixen. I finish my dinner and get up.
"Thanks," I say. She grins and stands up.
In the morning I come to pick Brent up, and see Aiden sitting by the window again. As if yesterday is repeating itself. I come closer and put an apple on the windowsill.
"Do you like apples?" I ask, as if Aiden will no doubt answer me, but he doesn't.
"I raised it myself," I smile. I feel like a fool. I don't know why I'm even trying. But I want to hear his voice. He can't be silent forever.
Brent comes out, tells his brother that he will come back soon, and we leave again.
We return only for lunch, Laura brings food to the shack. She isn't fond of father's company, they cannot speak for five minutes – they begin to argue. It seems to me that Laura often teases him, she is too emotional when she could back down. But she never does.
I notice that there is no apple on the windowsill. Aiden doesn't dine with us. Brent brings the plate to him, and then sits down next to Laura on the porch. Laura talks all the time, which I never noticed before, but Brent's answers are often irrelevant. Now it's my turn to look at my sister with a sly glance. Who said about "anything foolish"?..
In the afternoon, Brent helps me repair the fence around the farm. We stumble on their car. I had no time to look at it properly. I suggest we drive it to the garage, but Brent doesn't want to add any more troubles. I want to ask again where they came from, why and where they were headed, but I don't want to embarrass Brent.
"Aiden seems to be doing better," I say. What the hell... Almost every conversation with Brent comes to Aiden.
"Yeah," Brent nods. "He started eating. However, he's silent all the time. Maybe, if he drew, he would feel better."
"Well he..." Brent says. "He draws well. And before, when he was afraid of something or angry, he always sketched something in a notebook. He said that drawing helped him think about everything or not think about anything."
"It takes time to recover from the shock. Don't rush him. After all, he went through such a tragedy."
Brent gives me a quick look and just nods.
"Is it okay if I ask you a personal question? What do you think of Laura?" I say.
He frowns at first, as if trying to remember who it is, and then raises an eyebrow in surprise.
"About your sister?"
"She... treats us well, cooks very tasty. I am grateful to her."
I'm sorry, little sister, I'm sorry to break your heart...
"Why do you ask?"
...and so that you do not think that I am only talking about your brother.