Vignettes Regarding the Artwork of Brendon Kotes
The winter after Dylan’s death waxed long and painful, with a guilt by association tainting Brendon’s life at school. Casey got yanked by his mom and put into a different school, using her sister’s address in the neighboring district. Meant he just dealt with whispers rather than kids who’d been close to Dylan, their anger a flowing river through the halls.
That Dylan Westerman Memorial 5k Walk/Run was only in the eaves that season. A murmur, an idea that hadn’t solidified. The first one was the following autumn of Brendon’s senior year, the event taking place through Castlebrock, a part of the 5k winding down the roads Casey would have taken to escape from the Westerman’s garage, though no one ever pointed that out.
At least not out loud.
That winter though, while the murmurs abounded and copulated and grew in exponential size, Aunt Laurel introduced a new beau to the family. Her new man was a lean fellow by the name of Dmitri—Dmitri Smith. A man with class and glasses who could not draw to save his life, but enjoyed every sport unto man, differently than Casey’s father for Dmitri played them all rather than merely watching.
There was an attempt late spring and early summer to teach Brendon all the magical ways of the ball—the soccer ball, the basketball, the football, even the foosball got its time in the sun. Brendon proved to be a miserable student and Dmitri an even more miserable teacher, yet Brendon left those afternoons with his belly full of Aunt Laurel’s honeyed tea and rosemary cookies and his heart beating out a rhythm of contentment.
He knew, as any teen did, that his mother and Aunt Laurel had been in cahoots, that they had guided those afternoons as a way to steer Brendon’s mind away from Casey and Dylan and death and guilt. He didn’t mind though, because in some weird way, the distraction Dmitri gave worked.
It meant that Brendon’s drawings slowly eased away from Casey and Mustangs and crooked limbs and gaping maws of garages where a grim reaper stood staring at Brendon in a confusing, accusatory way.
Next Chapter Coming October 20th