Telling Histories

Indian Arrival Day Protests to save the Village of Debe from demolition.

I don’t think my brother wants to die, I don’t think he wants to die...

These moments only strengthened Wayne’s resolve. In an impolitic move, the government had even offered Wayne a bribe to stop what he was doing.  Realizing they couldn’t reason with a “madman’s” principles, they turned their attention to his family, first with offers of money and lucrative business contracts, and then with threats of stalled careers and financial ruin. They should’ve known that the family had no more sway with Wayne than they. He’d already mortgaged his consideration for their well being for this endeavor. It was futile.

Wayne’s father didn’t agree with what his son was doing, but in truth, he rarely did. Wayne was always different: a crusader, a juggernaut. Anything his father bought for him, he would give away.  

He’d once bought Wayne a car, hoping to retire the rusty van his son had been driving. But he gave that away as well. Ray and his wife Verna had married young. They’d educated and raised their family from humble to respectable; a family of lawyers and businessmen; all of them except for Wayne. But their love for him had made unwilling actors of them all.


When Wayne had become too weakened, his middle brother Hayden was made the official spokesperson. He did multiple television and radio interviews a day. He had a boyish face under a mop of salt and pepper hair. It was too long in the front and got in his eyes. He’d blow it up and away, making him seem even more like a boy. When I asked him what he’d normally be doing now, he told me about a little cottage he’d built for himself out in the woods, surrounded by trees.     

    “I don’t think my brother wants to die, I don’t think he wants to die,” Hayden said to the reporters, “My brother is a person of incredible conviction. I hope to be like him one day, when I grow up.” The journalists laughed, but Hayden didn’t. I noticed he was driving his thumbnail into the palm of his hand.

    It was the end of another day. Word had spread that the Prime Minister had again refused to entertain Wayne’s demands. Grave news. His supporters solemnly gathered their things and filed out. A nurse settled Wayne into the ambulance for the drive home.

    “See you tomorrow.” I said to Hayden.

    “Let’s hope not,” he said.