Christ he’d always been thin, never a pick on him, but I’d never seen him as thin as he was at that moment, standing there in the kitchen with the grey hair hanging in his face and the rain dripping off him like a drowned dog. Not even the old anorak he was wearing could bulk him out to any size. And the little bony hands of him as well – he’d started rolling a cigarette – I thought I could see all the missing years in the glossy sheen of his hands and the blue veins looping between his knuckles. And yet, in spite of his appearance and everything, part of me couldn’t help but think that he looked well for a man I had thought dead these past five years.
‘You weren’t always so short of talk,’ he said, licking the cigarette and placing it in the corner of his mouth. ‘Are you not glad to see me Sean? Your older brother? It’s not that often I call now, is it?’
He lit his fag then, using that awkward stooping motion to bring the fag to the flame instead of the other way around. He’s barely inside the door I thought and already he’s getting to me.
‘I thought you were dead,’ I heard myself say. It was not a good start…