Everything I Don't Remember

Everything I Don't Remember by Jonas Hassen Khemiri Read Free Book Online

Book: Everything I Don't Remember by Jonas Hassen Khemiri Read Free Book Online
Authors: Jonas Hassen Khemiri
we agreed to call each other on Skype, we logged in and called. Samuel
apologized for sounding so irritated when I first called, he thought it was his mom calling to talk money.
    “The house?” I said.
    “Mmhmm. That fucking house.”
    “What’s going on?”
    “Not much. Sitting in the waiting room at Huddinge hospital.”
    “Everything all right?”
    “Yeah. I’m here with Grandma. She’s trying to get her driver’s license back. She’s getting her vision checked right now. Then she’s going to drive in a
simulator.”
    “What are the chances she’ll succeed?”
    “On what scale?”
    “One to ten.”
    “Minus twelve.”
    *
    One night we were talking names and Samuel said that his dad wanted him to be named Samuel because he had started to figure out the reaction a foreign name would get you from
employers and landlords. His dad didn’t want his son to run into the same problems.
    “What would your name have been otherwise?” I asked.
    Samuel smiled and gave examples of names that required two throat-clearings, names that started with h-sounds deep down in his stomach, names that sounded like a sneeze or rhymed with two
insults, and as we sat there at the bar talking names and drinking beer I heard myself saying that my brother had hated his name.
    “Once he said that his greatest wish was for his name to be Patrik, and I teased him because I thought Patrik sounded so fucking lame.”
    Samuel nodded, he didn’t ask any further questions, and in his silence I started telling him things about my brother. There was no logic to what I said, I just told him that my brother had
always wanted a video-game console, but he had to settle for a Gameboy, and his favorite turtle had been Leonardo at first and Raphael later, and his turquoise pajama bottoms had a bad waistband
and they were constantly crooked because he always hiked them up on one side, and once when we were eating chicken he said that it was good but it was too bad about all the cute little chickens who
had to die so we could eat them up, and the whole family paused their forks and looked down at their plates but my brother kept happily eating and his hair wasn’t as kinky as mine and when he
was little he teased me about my hair but when he was older he asked me if there was some way to make his hair kinkier and as revenge for his teasing I made up that bananas are good for kinking
hair and he ate bananas nonstop until Mom noticed that the weekly fruit bill had sky-rocketed and I revealed my joke and once when it was New Year’s Eve and the city was rumbling with
firecrackers my brother woke up and came rushing out of his room in his crooked pajama bottoms with two toy pistols, shouting that he had to shoot back. I sat there for an hour saying things I
remembered but had never told anyone. Samuel listened and nodded and ordered more beer. He didn’t say: Is your brother the one who died? Or: How did it happen? He just sat there looking at
me. And when he didn’t ask any probing questions it somehow made it easier to keep talking.
    *
    I said he had been twelve years old when it happened. And that we were relatively new to Stockholm.
    “Mom had gotten a job in sales at a company that manufactured kitchen fans, my brother was with two friends and the big sister of one of the friends, they were going to go bowling, they
were crossing a parking lot by Kungens Kurva, there was a lot of snow, they got run over side-on by a tanker truck, the friends survived, the sister too, but my brother died.”
    Samuel looked at me. He didn’t tilt his head to the side. He didn’t look sorry for me.
    “Did they catch him?”
    “The driver? Mmhmm. There were witnesses and everything. But they let him go. He said he didn’t notice that he had run them over. He said he thought he had hit a shopping
cart.”
    I thought, here come the questions, he’s going to ask me how it felt and what happened to our family, if the divorce was because of my

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