‘Here Comes the Sun’ by Jaime Karnes


From Granta:

I pretend we’re a happy family. My brother is the doting husband, I am his bouncing wife; and our mother, in the back seat of the car with her body folding deeper and deeper into itself, is our beautiful child, curled up like a sleeping bird. We are proud pretend-parents. Taking pictures for the world to see, striking the poses of happiness in this way for nearly ten years.

Look at our bird now, on her way to the hospital. Such a brave little bird, isn’t she?

My brother is in love with me, his wife. Though he wasn’t comfortable with it at first, he’s grown to accept our roles over the years. I can sense his resolve when the traffic suddenly stops – and he reaches his arm across the console, creating a barrier around my midsection.

You may not understand, so think of it this way: if the radio were on, it would play the Beatles during our trips every day to and from doctor’s appointments, specialists’ offices, emergency rooms. We would buckle in our bird, then ourselves as always. We’d turn the key. The engine would hiccup as always, and ‘Here Comes the Sun’ would play and repeat. Because isn’t that, after all, the happiest song any of us knows?

I pretend our baby is singing along, humming gaily, her auburn curls blowing in the crisp January air, of which I’ve let in less than an inch. But our baby coughs a sad sick-bird cough and we both look back at her, lovingly. I close the window. Almost there, little one. Stay strong.

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