: A Good Brother :

an excerpt by Karin Lin-Greenberg

On Friday afternoon, Carter lovingly buckled his golf clubs in the back seat of his Jetta and drove from Philadelphia to his parents' house in Boston. He had little time to enjoy golf now that he was a medical resident, and he looked forward to his round the next morning. As he drove, he fantasized about his club coming in satisfying contact with the ball. He turned down the volume on the radio and talked out loud, pretending that he was a professional announcer. In hushed tones, he spoke of the fluidity and rhythm of his own hypothetical backswing, the almost impossible stillness of his head as the club moved through the ball and into the follow-through.

When he arrived at his parents' house late at night, his mother informed him that his Saturday morning golf plans had to be changed. Instead of enjoying his eighteen holes, he was to take his sister wedding-dress shopping; there was no one else who could do it. This was horrifying news for Carter.

            As his mother waited for her coffee to brew on Saturday morning, she said, “You'll have to move your clubs so after you buy the dress it can be spread out in the back seat.”

            “The dress can go in the trunk,” Carter said. He'd already reluctantly agreed to take his sister shopping. This felt like a large enough sacrifice. He opened a carton of soy milk, which his mother had bought especially for his visit, and poured the soy milk over a bowl of All Bran.