If she was an animal, she would be a house cat. Content to laze her whole life, draped bonelessly over things while watching the world pass.
Her brother was cut from an altogether different cloth. He was more like a dog, always on his feet, ready to do something. He faced life with a determination not to waste a single moment, which meant that when he actually needed to stop and rest, he didn’t know how.
Fortunately for him, she, expert on doing nothing, was willing to help him out.
They lay side by side on his bed, her easily stretched out on her back like a cat basking in the sun, her brother doing a very good impersonation of a stick insect. The only time he broke the straight line his tense body made was to cough or grab a tissue, and the occasional attempt to escape.
The blanket shifted. She reached out to press her brother back down without even opening her eyes.
“What do you want? I’ll get it for you,” she said.
“Just want to stretch my legs,” her brother said in a hoarse whisper.
“Nope. Walking is still work.”
“You just went.”
“I want to go again.”
She opened one eye. “If you need to go every ten minutes, you need to see a doctor. So? Do I need to make the call?”
Her brother’s gaze slipped away from hers. “… No. I’ll stay.”
“That’s what I thought.” She shifted onto her side so that she had a better view of her brother’s face, especially the deep lines etched onto his brow. She couldn’t help but press a finger to the furrowed skin and try to smooth it out. Her brother gently nudged her hand away.
“Don’t come too close. You don’t want to get sick.”
“I do, actually. Then I can laze in bed all day.” She grinned.
Her brother’s lips twitched. “Let’s trade.”
She released an exaggerated sigh. “Sadly, fatigue isn’t contagious.”
Her brother replied with a smile as tense as the rest of him. She shook her head in exasperation.
“How are we related?”
“We both like pineapple in savoury dishes,” her brother said immediately.
“And we like honey in our coffee.”
She smacked her lips. “Yum.”
Her brother continued, listing all kinds of delicious food combinations that made her want to make a trip to…
She frowned and pushed herself up on her elbows to give herself the extra height to loom over her brother, which didn’t really work because the bed sunk beneath her but that wasn’t important.
“I know what you’re doing. I’m not going anywhere. Not even for food. My job today is to teach you to be lazy, and I’m going to make sure you learn it. Go to sleep!”
She dropped back onto her side and ran her fingers through her brother’s hair, the way her parents used to do when she was younger. Just enough pressure to be felt, unhurried and regular, drawing rhythmic patterns into his scalp as if she could pull the tension in his body out with her fingertips.
In the end, they couldn’t remember who fell asleep first, but the important thing was that her brother finally gave his body the rest it deserved.
She rewarded herself with another nap.
Genre: slice of life, family