Mordecai arrived late last night (or early this morning, depending on your point of view). His hands were purple – as though he had been dying fabrics in indigo – and the circles beneath his eyes were especially dark.

I didn’t ask any questions – I learned long ago it’s much better if I don’t ask questions – and simply put a hot pot of oolong tea on his nightstand whilst he was soaking in a hot bath of lavender and thyme.

This morning’s bright sunlight truly illuminated Mordecai’s windlestrawness.

Windlestraw is a noun. Originally it merely meant a dry, thin stalk of grass. Of Scot, Irish and British origin, the word eventually came to mean anything weak or feeble, especially a thin unhealthy person.

It comes from the Old English windelstrēaw, from windel basket, from windan –  to wind plus strēawstraw.

My brother has always resembled a windlestraw, though if you know Mordecai, you know that he is stronger than a minotaur and as healthy as they come. He just looks terrible.

But don’t tell him that. He’s rather cocksure.

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