I rarely speak with the children at work, but today, I did. I took my coffee intothe communal kitchen, waited for my next scheduled appointment and ate anegg that I boiled last night. A boy entered with a pad of graphing paper andbox of colored pencils. He asked for permission to sit, and I made room forhim.
He began drawing someone’s face.
-Who is that?
-I have a brother, too. He’s four years younger than me. How old are you?
-Seven but eight before two month.
-So old! You’re almost a high schooler.
-No! You are old!
He continued to draw his brother - a funny haircut, a nose that looks like akey, enormous black pupils lacking irises or the opaque whiteness thatsurround them.
-Your picture looks good. Your brother seems nice! He has very dark eyes.
-I saw my brother in three pieces.
I’ve tried to picture the scene in which the boy last saw his brother. I can imagine how the kid’s mind methodically connected the body parts, how he came to understand which parts belong to which person, distinguished them from the concrete, cloth, the water gushing from plumbing, the blood washing away.When I imagine it, I only hear the boy’s factual tone: I saw my brother in three pieces.