Marty climbed the stairs to reach the attic with heavy steps and an even heavier heart. How many years have passed since the last time he had been there? Twenty? He used to go running up, excited because it was a place full of wonders for his imagination: dusty books and old furniture, broken toys, strange machines. He and Mark used to play for hours up there. For them, it was their pirate’s ship: The “Desperado.” They had planted a black flag with a skull and crossbones painted on it in the middle of the room.
Marty was de imaginative one, and Mark the mechanic. They even built a robot using the parts of the broken old machines and clocks they found up there: a two-leg machine that could walk and follow them when activated with a switch connected to a pack of batteries.
It was the guardian of the treasure chest they kept in the darkest corner of the attic.
Marty opened the chest with the key hidden in a secret compartment built on the body of the now motionless and rusty robot.
He could hear in the distance the voices of the mourners downstairs. He had escaped from them. He was supposed to be the strong man of the family in these hours of grieving. But after fifteen minutes, he couldn’t stand more frivolous chatting about his deceased little brother.
They had been very close as kids, but when Marty fell in love with Mark’s high school sweetheart and married her, things changed. Mark didn’t attend the wedding, and he stopped seeing them. Never married, join the army, and went overseas.
He died serving his country in Afghanistan. Today, his parents had to receive a closed casket covered with the flag at the military Airport.
Marty opened the treasure chest up in the attic and found the pirate’s flag covering everything inside. There were several notepads: Mark’s diaries. In one of them, there was a letter “to Marty.”
“Hey, Bro, I’m glad you’re happy with Liz. Forgive me for being absent from your wedding. I was angry like a child. With time I understood that what happened was for the best. I love what I’m doing now. I can develop my engineering skills. And I learned a lot of things. It’s hard, but it’s worth it. It would be hardest if I had to worry about a family at home. I love you, Bro. Always. With all my heart. “
“Don’t ever think otherwise.”
Marty put aside the letter and looked thru the round window sadly.
Why was that letter never sent?
He noticed a little piece of paper on the floor. It was a note: “Mom, please, send this letter to Marty. I don’t have his address. Mark 2-23-2007”
-“You didn’t deserve a word from him,” said Marty’s Mom, who was watching him with piercing eyes from the door. “You pushed him to join the army; you separated him from us. You are responsible for his death!”
-Mom, what have you done to us?
But she wasn’t listening. She had closed the door and disappeared downstairs.