Short story I wrote for a creative writing module in college last year. :)
My brother Benjy came to live with me after his suicide attempt.
He showed up with a suitcase full of shabby clothes and a facial expression conveying that he didn’t care if Armageddon was announced tomorrow.
I wasn’t doing much better at the time; my anxiety was finding new ways to test me every day and there were a row of cuts up both arms (concealed each morning for work by a dainty blouse).
To be honest, it wasn’t the best time to gain a roommate but it made the most sense for Benjy to come live with me. There’s only a year between us and we’d always been close growing up.
But we had drifted apart slightly after college and now we were twenty-seven and twenty-six respectively, both battling mental illness with the close bond of our younger years far behind. We both felt incredibly alone at the time but neither of us wanted to be the one to reach out and ask for help from the other.
Until the kettle incident.
It was a Monday morning and the two of us were getting ready for work.
I was going through a rough patch in my psyche where the mere presence of others was a great nuisance to me. So I was feeling agitated that morning.
Unfortunately, Benjy was too.
“Violet, where’s the kettle?” he asked me, hunting around the apartment’s kitchen.
“I dunno,” I was packing my satchel for the day. “It gets moved around a lot from room to room for different things. I had it in my bedroom for topping up a hot water bottle last night. Try there?”
Benjy stormed out of the kitchen and then stormed back in.
“Not there Vi.”
I placed my lunchbox in the front pocket of my bag, feeling myself getting more and more irritated.
“Violet? It’s not in your room.”
I took a deep breath.
“Violet, stop fucking ignoring me! I said the kettle isn’t-”
“Well then it must be lost you asshole!”
Benjy gave me an evil look and shouted his next words in complete fury.
“Lost? How can a bloody kettle have an existential crisis?”
His eyes widened and the confusion I felt in my head took over his face.
“Did you mean to make that joke?” I asked, unable to stop from cracking a smile.
Benjy shook his head, snorting to keep the chuckles held back.
“I don’t know where that even came from!” he giggled like a little boy.
After that, we let loose and we laughed...and we laughed...and we laughed.
Sharing a humorous moment like that did a lot for us. We managed to get closer, trust each other more and confide in one another about our separate battles.
Three months later and we’re both well on the road to recovery.
And to think, because a kettle got lost, something a little more important got found.