My Brother Is an Egg [Short Story]

My brother is an egg. He is oval, white, and very fragile. Seeing him so fresh to the world, and so unknowing, it pains me. He is the purest form of life, waiting until the day of his hatching, not knowing when it will come or what will come of it. I know. Our mum knows. We don’t have a dad, they don’t need dads.

My brother is an egg. He sits around all day, waiting for his time to come. But he will never have a time. He is a boy. I cry sometimes, knowing that he will have been an egg longer than he will ever be a chicken. I am merely a chick myself, but I know more about the world than he will ever know. I know that it’s cruel; my mother has gotten so used to it that her eyes don’t flinch anymore. I remember when she used to try to warm us all. Not just me, but all of the girls. All of her many, many daughters. We’re in a cage, you see. People don’t call it a cage; they say it’s not a cage because it’s a barn, and that we’re cage-free, but I can barely breathe here. My mother has gotten crushed accidentally so many times that her feathers are mangled. She isn’t that positive anymore. I try to be, but I’m so young that they don’t believe what I say. They know I haven’t had the worst of it yet. Even after the debeaking, the most painful experience I have ever been through, they’re telling me that was just the start.

My brother is an egg. He is starting to shake. He wants to see the world, to be free, to dance. A little crack here, another crack there. He is ready. But he shouldn’t be. What awaits him is a horror story. I have only heard folk tales of what goes on but we all know the basics. They talk about it sometimes. There is a conveyer belt, and there is blades. He will not live to tell the tale.

My brother is hatching. His body is shivering, he is starting to wonder. Where is he? What is he? Where will he be going? We all know the answers, of course, but he doesn’t. He is a baby, and I want to wrap him in my wings and keep him close to me.

My brother is a chick. A hand reaches down and snatches him. He lets out a soft startled squeak. He wants to be with his mummy. Is that too much to ask? He is dragged away, and that is the last time I ever see my brother, but it is not the last time I imagine him. I imagine his scream amplified as he falls off the conveyer belt, I imagine his body being ripped apart — but that is nothing compared to what I imagine next. I imagine him running around, in a field, happy. That is what breaks my heart the most.

My brother is dead.

Becoming an Adult

The day we become an adult is not the day we turn eighteen, but the day we get our last exam result, and then think “well – now what?” Most of my friends are going to university (some going to extremely high-ranked ones) so they have a little bit of a layout for their life (not much, but at least enough for the next few years) and some even know where they intend to go with their life. They have it all planned out.

But not everybody does. Not everybody knows where their life is going to lead them.

One of the most stressful questions to hear, as someone who suffers from anxiety and depression, is “what are you going to do now?” They mean well but it makes me think about the future and where I’m going and where I’m not going and what’s happening and what’s not happening and — you get the picture. It’s terrifying.

I got good results, results I was happy with, but I happen to be friends with geniuses, which often makes me feel like less of a person too, even though they’re wonderful and I’m happy for them. I just happened to pick up smart friends. I guess I must be the dumb friend, to them, if you think about it. So I’m worried about my results too.

I worry about whether my life has a direction but I don’t want it to, yet I do, all at once. I want to study a degree but I don’t, all at once. I don’t want to be a drifter, I want to be a sailor! But I can’t be. I will never be a sailor, no matter how hard I try to control my ship; it will crash and I will drift on one piece of wood left.

I want to become something, but I don’t.

I’m never going to be what people expect me to be, or rather, what they want me to be. I’m not going to be what I want to be either. Because I will never be strong enough to sail. I just won’t be.

Lia