Fine dust rose from the wooden box as Daryl opened it. He unwrapped the shreds of heavy cloth from around the object. It was a tall, slender vase, packed well, much better than the usual junk he and his step brother, Mark bought sight unseen from storage compartments.
Buying the storage containers became the only tangential link between the two who were on different trajectories through life.
Money from the units floated enough to barely manage Mark’s heroin habit. Daryl scraped the money together for rent on the exhausted bungalow he shared with their mother and bought her meds with the extra cash. It was hit or miss but it maintained the thin trail of blood between them.
“A couple of moth-eaten kimonas. Junk,” Mark swore, rifling through the box.
“Could we have them cleaned? Some people like to display them like on the wall. God, they stink.” He watched Mark shake out the heavy, patterned silk. They had been beautiful once
“Maybe, who knows. We can try. What have you got?”
“Porcelain, old but it’s got a crack.”
“Can’t catch a break,” Mark breathed out. He raked his knuckles across his eyes.”I won’t have enough money from this to make my week.”
“Looks like I’ll be selling some plasma this week,” Daryl said. Did it make him happy that Mark couldn’t get his fix this week? Daryl tried to bridge the chasm between them but his empathy stopped short. There were treatment options.
“I can’t even do that. Who saves a vase with a crack in it?” He turned the fine thing over in his hands. Daryl saw a tear drip from his cheek.
“The crack is supposed to be filled with gold or something precious,” Daryl told him, taking the vase. “To heal a rift between two people, diametrically joined.”
“Stop your crap,” Mark scratched at one thin dry arm. “You don’t know what it is like. I don’t want to be this way.”
“Yeah, bad life choices. Let’s go see what we can get for this junk at that resale place next to the treatment facility.” Daryl rewrapped the vase while Mark scooped up the musty kimonas.
“You know I love you anyway, right?” Daryl slung an arm around his brother, pulling the gap between them closed.
“Man, that’s gotta be tough. All the things I’ve done. I stole from you guys, got involved with mugging someone. Just crappy stuff you and mom don’t deserve.” Mark shook his head and pulled closer to his brother, closing the last breath of space between them.
Mark stopped in front of the resale store and piled the kimonas on Daryl’s arm. “Here you take them. I’m going this way,” Mark pointed to the treatment center. “Maybe this time it will take. Use the money for mom.”
Daryl watched as Mark disappeared behind the glass door. He brought the vase and the kimonas to the resale guy.
“Wow this is really rare, the crack on this vase is filled with ruby or something.” The proprietor said, “This should go to auction at one of the big houses. I got a guy I can call,” he rushed off to find the number.
Daryl wiped a tear from his eye.