dropped off

“Why are we walking?” There is a soft, childish tone in those words. A soft little huff of mock-despair. He doesn’t much care for the idea that he has to walk, perhaps because of how much he has had to walk before in his life. Besides him, his brother only smiles at him, a warm, brotherly sort of smile. Everything in him that was against this idea to walk melts away.

“I told Armin that we would take these books back to that one store that takes back used books and sells them for really low prices for the folks who can’t afford them. I did think that we could take the bus but it’s not that far and today is honestly a beautiful day, I just wanted to spend some time outside with you. Zora hasn’t taken us anywhere since I fell down the hill and I broke my arm.”

Besides him, Agni winces lightly at the memory but he shakes it off and holds the book a little closer to his chest. There aren’t that many, he’s not really worried about the weight of them but the idea of walking simply had not appealed to him when Mira had more or less dragged him outside and handed him half the bundle of books.

Now though, now he takes a moment to breathe in the fresh air, the still present scent of blooming flowers, the breeze. The sun is warm on his golden skin and his lips quirk into a smile. The day is beautiful and he knows that if Mira had not offered to take Armin’s books to the boutique, the man would have spent money on the bus and it would have been something of a waste in the long run. This was good for them and he knows he can appreciate a warm, sunny day just walking with his brother.

“What do we do once we’ve dropped off the books?”

“Well I do have a bit of pocket money, we can get lunch somewhere and settle in the park not far from home? Or we could just wander aimlessly, it’s a bit hard to get lost now that we’ve gotten used to this place.” He smiles and shifts the weight of the books in his arms.

For a second, Agni worries that the books are too heavy for his brother but then he has to remind himself that he’s the one who always refuses to ask for help. Mira asks when he needs help. “I’m glad you dragged me along even though I know I was groaning about it all along for the first ten minutes.”

Again, his brother only smiles at him, that content, I’m-alive-and-today’s-a-good-day smile. Agni sighs, the sound of peaceful and content. They simply keep on walking side by side, letting the sun warm their skin.

Once the books are dropped off, they walk just a small distance further away to a small sandwich shop. They could have simply crossed the street to the fast food place but one thing they have yet to truly try is fast food and the appeal just isn’t there. They each get a sandwich, Mira a croissant with turkey, brie and cranberries, Agni a ciabatta with a sort of spicy chicken salad that he’s yet to try.

Each with their little bag in one hand and bottles of juices in the other, they cross to the small little park and settle there to eat, simply sitting side by side. They have no need for shared words, they are so used to being together that spending time just sitting this way, shoulder to shoulder, appreciating a good meal is as good as it gets for them. Words only get in the way.

With a meal sating their hunger, they start slowly on the walk back home, hurrying in no way. The sun still is bright and clear above them and if their skin can take on an even darker gold in colour, then all the better.

“Remember how dark our skin used to be when we were in India?” Agni breaks their comfortable silence as they wait on the light to turn so they can get across the street without fear of being run over by a car. There is not a single soul in the streets but chances are best not taken in these cases.

“We were constantly outside in the sun though we were some of the paler ones in the family, even Zora’s a bit darker than us, just barely. Not that she’ll be long if we keep on spending time outside after work and on the weekends.” .

“That actually sounds like a plan.”

Once home, instead of stepping inside, they round up to the back of their building and step towards the little shed where most things that seem to have no real ‘home’ gets kept. A few baseballs, a pair of gloves or two, some tennis rackets and balls, a little bit of everything for every little game they might wish to ever really try.

They look at their choices for a few moments before Mira shakes his head and looks up to the roof. “We should just get the sunblock so we don’t actually burn and we should just laze up on the roof. The day’s so warm I don’t think we could get much of anything productive done. We’ve already done our good deed for the day as is.”

Agni nods and closes the shed. They turn around and head back to the front. They know they can step back in from the back but they prefer not to. Once at the front, they step inside and head up the stairs to their apartment. Only Mira steps inside to find their bottle of lotion. Once he finds it, they head to the end of the hallway to get to the steps that lead them straight up to the roof.

“The breeze feels even better here up on the roof.” Mira closes his eyes and breathes in deeply, taking in the scents of the sky, of the air. It feels almost fresher up on the roof. At least, that is what he tells himself.

Agni laughs softly and takes the bottle from his brother before he heads to the edge of the roof where several lounging chairs are settled. Of course there is a fence all about the roof to keep accidents from happening though it is nearly unseen. He sits down on one of the chairs and motions to his brother to settle.

Mira only takes a moment to stretch out in the sun before he follows his brother and settles. He takes off his shoes and his shirt before turning his back to his sibling. It takes a few minutes for both of them to be sufficiently protected from the sun and they each settle on their chairs. Shoes off, shirts off and shorts just comfortable in the warm summer heat.

They both know that before too long this heat will become humid and staying inside will be preferable but for now they both know they can appreciate the day as it is given to them.

“Thanks for walking with me to drop off those books, Agni.”

“You know I complain most of the time but I’d do anything you ask me to, Mira.” The answer comes after a moment of thoughtful silence though the words are as honest as they could ever be. Agni smiles at nothing in particular, his eyes closed as he simply relaxes right where he’s at. This is a good day. Their days are not always good but they try their very best to make the best of every day they have on this planet.


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