Moffie by Andre Carl van der Merwe Read Free Book Online Page A

Book: Moffie by Andre Carl van der Merwe Read Free Book Online
Authors: Andre Carl van der Merwe
the other side of the road, past me, into the house. There is shock and desperation in the old woman’s eyes.
    Frankie is lying on the side of the road, next to the Ford Cortina. My mother holds her mouth to his, blows into it and presses his chest, over and over. When she blows, she’s quiet, but when she comes up, I hear prayers, questions and instructions in an incoherent slur. Each time she pushes down on him, his head rolls to the rhythm flowing through her arms into his tiny frame as she tries to force life back into him.
    His head is in a dark pool on the rough, black tar. His hair is wet, and there are small pebbles clinging to the side of his face.
    Everything around me is swirling, deformed, and a loud hum twists my perception out of shape. Thoughts and images cram into my head, but they’re too big.
    Beyond this lies a new pain—a stab that only allows me to stand and look. I am not sure what has happened. I need to think. I must get away from this. What happened? I don’t understand.
    From a misty abyss comes the image of Frankie running after Bronwyn. Then the mist lifts and I know . . . that’s what happened . . . the screeching of tyres and the thunk . . . dull, metal-heavy.
    As the events replay in slow frames, a heavy wheel starts turning inside me, unleashing a phenomenal determination: I have to clean the side of his head. I have to change what’s happening. I start tearing through the people who have gathered around him. I grab Frankie from my mother’s hysteria; call his name . . . As I cup his head in my hands, I feel a macabre displacement, see his changed expression, the dead grimace staring past me.
    It takes two adults to pull me away from my brother. I feel the heat from the bystanders, from the tar, from my mother, from the car standing there with demonic indifference. Frankie’s leg is twisted under his body, the skin brutally torn. I hit out and scream as they drag me away. If I stay he will be all right . . . I know, I know . . . leave me . . . LEAVE ME!
    Every word, every smile, every function . . . stops.
    Every story, every game, every sense . . . gone.
    Through the afternoon and night I follow the rituals of eating, brushing my teeth, having a bath. I walk into the room with his empty bed. Where is Frankie? Where is he? Where is he now? People hold me and I am given an injection. Screaming, hitting, fighting for air . . . blur . . . fall . . . black.
    Never again will I see an empty single bed and not think of Frank. Forever in my soul will be a Frank-shaped vacuum, craving to be filled. Much later I will realise it is both ‘best friend’- and brother-shaped.
    The nightmares start the night after Frank’s death and return every night. There is a cord under incredible tension and I have to keep it from whipping out of control. When I lose control, it becomes knotted and I wake up screaming, wet and petrified, too afraid to close my eyes again.
    I start walking in my sleep, spending time with Frankie and telling myself stories at night to fall asleep. I also talk to what people call behind cupped hands ‘his imaginary friend.’ Who is he? I don’t tell. I will never share him again. I will keep him safe. I have a soul mate now, deep inside, that nobody can see, nobody can take away from me, not even time . . .
    I should have done something. Did I see the car? Could I have warned Frankie? I should have gone across that road. No, I should have stopped Bronwyn from crossing it in the first place.

    E ach one of the 700 kilometres we travel is like the other. We journey with the hearse following us in grim convoy. We enter a different kind of time—one of long seconds.
    We travel to uncle Hendrik’s farm, where Frankie will be buried with the other Van der Swarts.
    Everything appears to have a sickly, cheap shine—from the glossy little casket to the large hearse. They tell me he is inside this

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