Even before the car stops, the living room curtains are moving. Climbing the front steps, the unmistakable thud of running feet sounds from within the house. The large, wooden door flings open bell can finish chiming.
Today is Brothers’ Day, the one day each term break when my youngest brother and I have a day out together. Our day out consists of a few games of ten-pin bowling, eating hot dogs, and sometimes a stop at the park. This Brothers’ Day will be a new experience for my brother.
Before I am even in the door, my youngest brother and sister pounce, both trying to get the first hug. Somehow I managed to make it to the living room with a sibling clutching each leg.
‘Stop squirming,’ I tell my brother, attempting to comb his hair.
‘It won’t if you stand still.’
Climbing into my old Kingswood, we head off. Passing the bowling alley, and then the local cinema, my brother, with a confused expression, asks where we are going.
‘Don’t you want to go to the movies?’ I reply.
‘Yes, but it’s back there.’
‘Oh. Are you sure?’ I ask, trying to sound surprised.
After a few more minutes, we pull into the car park at the railway station.
‘Here we are.’
‘But, this is the station!’
It is time to reveal the surprise.
‘I know. We’re going to the city to see the movie,’ I announce.
A look of astonishment comes over my brother’s face. This will his first journey to the city by train.
‘Would you like to buy the tickets,’ I ask as we enter the station.
‘I can’t,’ my brother replies, disappointed. ‘Look.’
At the end of the waiting room, a metal grill covers the ticket office window.
‘That’s okay. We’ll just have to buy them on the train.’
I lead him onto the platform to wait for our train. In keeping with tradition, it arrives late. We board, finding two seats by the window. My brother gazes out the window in awe as suburbia speeds by.
Arriving in town, we catch a tram to the city’s oldest department store for lunch at the famous cafeteria.
‘Would you like to see the toys while we’re here?’
‘Can we? Really?’
My brother’s face becomes a study of amazement and disbelief as the lift doors open on the storey-sized toy department. Every corner, each nook and cranny have to be explored. Before long we find ourselves in the Lego section. They say time flies when you are having fun. It flies so fast that we have to rush to make our movie.
On the way out, we spot a clearance table covered with Lego.
Since his birthday is less than a week away, I tell my brother to pick out something. Five minutes later, we are on a tram to the South Bank, and the cinema.
Afterwards, we walk along the bank of the Yarra, chasing gulls, kicking autumnal leaves along the pavement. By the time we board the train back to the outer suburbs, I am almost as weary as my brother. To his credit, and my surprise, he manages to state awake for the entire journey home.
Pulling up the drive for the second time, the living room curtains again start to move. Inside, our sister wants to hear all about our day. I collapse into an armchair, closing my eyes for a moment. Opening them an hour later, I find my youngest brother sitting on my knee, his sleeping head resting on my chest.
That night after dinner, I read him his favourite poem. Tucking him in, I wish him a goodnight and watch him drift off into his dreams.
Copyright © 2017 Bronwyn Joy Hansen. All Rights Reserved. Image; Copyright © 2017 Bronwyn Joy Hansen. All Rights Reserved.