On what would have been your 57th birthday, I won’t paint a fantastical picture of our relationship as brothers. Lionizing you will do me no good on the day that I miss you most. Ours was as typical a brotherly relationship as any other. You had your friends and interests and I ran with my circles and did my own thing. But when taken out of those zones of comfort, we had each other.
We fought like brothers who were close in age. There was that time that you warned me, with specific detail, that you would knock the wind out of me. And you did. You watched me, mouth agape and struggling for air, until the inevitable wail escaped the walls of our Wakefield apartment to the street below. You ran for you knew the rage that would follow. You stayed away from the apartment the entire day, undoubtedly waiting for the calm after the storm. Later that afternoon, you returned home to find the storm still swirling. You gave me an entire day to plot my revenge and think about how I would do you harm. I played several scenarios out in my head but, in the end, I was an opportunist. I used whatever was at my disposal. I grabbed scissors and stabbed you in the leg.
It was an act of pure rage followed by immediate regret. For while you were my enemy that day, you were my brother for life. And a silly fight over who controlled the television might have had irreversible consequences. But my rage then, as it is today, is unpredictable and, at times, uncontrollable. Know that I continue to work on it.
I don’t know what makes brother raise fist against brother. It’s a documented part of human nature. What I do know though is that you would acquiesce to no other laying a hand on me. You were protective in a way that created a bubble around me. I was never bullied as a child because my older brother had the will and ability to defend me. And you remained protective of me and my soul until your passing. When you left me here alone to fend for myself. My hope, my belief is that you continue to watch over me. That you protect and guide me in some mystical way. That on some subconscious level, the decisions I make in life have your hand on the rudder. That is certainly the hope. Are you there? Watching over me, brother?
I will raise a glass to you on this day and continue to miss you until the end of days.