Day 52: June 20th, 1905

Faded is the confused and angry soul I once had for Harry. There remains no memory of that conversation with him, yet if I flip back thirty-two pages in this journal, I can read of its tension. And I have. All nights since that page, I have read it: still nothing. Not a slight glimpse of a memory of what he was speaking of.

“Would it be Thursday?” I asked Harry.

“Yes,” he replied simply.

This was not the first word spoken to one another since our altercation. On occasion, he had told me to do something or I asked him a simple question. I remember a day when we had said good morning at the early dawn when a weather-mouth was bathing us with slivers of light.

“Harry,” I began, “if something was asked of you by me, would you answer?”

“Depends on what is asked, Mack,” he replied shortly.

“Nothing more of what is behind us or what happened, I promise.” Inquiring about what occurred had little reason now, I realized. This brother knew but telling me gave him no comfort. And all times he did tell me something, it was tense and our dealings soured like old milk. So asking Harry the poignant questions, of which I so desperately wish to learn, is too high for my nut. I pondered perhaps if I asked about what lay forward, he would not resist. “However, I wish to learn of where we are going,” I said.

Our walk along the track was continued to be led by Harry as he asked in his way, “D’you know which State we’re in?”

I thought not hard on this question: the answer was known, he told me a few days prior. And gracefully, I remember it being told to me as if it were moments ago. Everything I have seen or heard in the previous fortnight and some days is so plain in my mind. It is as if my memory acts as a blank wall and these conversations and sights are paintings upon it: visual but not interpretive. Yet nothing I truly wish to know is contained within this gallery of recent events.

“Yes,” I said. “We are in Montana; a State established fifteen years ago.”

Harry responded smiling, “I see y’still got that amazing head o’yours!” He stopped walking and looked at me by turning. “Y’want to know about the past still, yes?”

I was startled by the question. I knew not of what to respond with. I know all these words and yet, presented with that question my heart so wished to ask, a response could not be summoned.

“You was always the smart one,” Harry started. “A real getter. Pa passed when we was young, so I got a job to help ma out. Y’stayed in school while I worked. The years passed and we knew you was gon’be a president. Y’knew ev’rythin’!”

He paused for a while. It felt remarkable to hear even a morsel of who I was. Frustration and happiness spurred within me.

“Then the accident happened and y’lost your mem’ry… I’m sorry ‘bout that, Mack. I wished that’d happened to me and not you,” Harry said, turning away. It looked like a tear had found a place on his shabby cheek.

“The accident,” I said, my remembering tried wickedly hard to bring forth a thing of it. And then I had it: the first memory of the past, the first memory from before three weeks. However, it was not from before the accident. It was what Harry had said to me, “Because I killed you, Mack!” I suppose the page having been read every day made that memory possible. It is not mere wordage on paper; it is the actual picture of that moment.

His former anger was also remembered. The action that needed to be taken was to continue on with my previous method: speaking of what is ahead. Large was the agony within me for a subject change. When the past was heard of: who I was, who he was, it brought forth remembering. How much more could the past being discussed offer? Yet, if Harry rages again, I know forever the possibilities will be sealed. Patience is required.

“Montana,” I began, “it is quite nice here. Where is the place that is travelled toward now?”

Walking forward again, and as the subject changed, it made Harry content. “Y’won’t remember this, but some time back I left for a summer. I mined for Mr. Daly in the Anaconda Copper Comp’ny in Butte. I stopped in Helena much an’ met lots o’people from all over, comin’ t’mine, r’buy copper. Anyways, I know y’always wanted to see other cities and peoples other than Portland. So that’s what we’re doing.” Harry trekked on.

“Portland,” I said trying to remember it.

“‘A dirty an’ dang’rous wake snakes kind o’place.’ Y’always called it, Mack. ‘Member when I left to go south, ‘cause o’ all them gold they found?” Harry burst out laughing. “Y’sent me a letter saying y’hated the smells and gamblin’ folks. Luck’ly for you, I wasn’t gone long. Them ain’t some pumpkins, I say.”

I smiled. To see Harry in this state was a good thing.

“I always got t’protect my little brother. Ev’rythin’ I do is to protect you. Y’know that right?” he asked me.

“That is known, Harry.”

“New York,” Harry said after a few minutes of silence.

“New York?” I said inquisitively.

“That’s where we’re headed.”

“Truthfully? For what reason?” I asked earnestly.

“You’ll be told when we get there, Mack. It’s a surprise.” Harry smiled and walked on.

I had hope my curiosity would satisfy from conversing, yet it swelled all the more.