When I meet him I am 23 and he is 16.
He is the kind of innocent kid that betrays his thoughts and feelings in red,
blushing blotches on his cheeks or in wide, happy grins on his face.
I am older and he is the younger brother I never had. He is someone with
potential and grace. He has the type of humor that, most times, leaves me
laughing until I cry and hold my sides in pain. He longs for meaning but has the
awkward teenage desires for acceptance and a voice.
We’re cheering him on the football field with his parents and shivering in
the cold. We scream for him to rip off someone’s finger - just because he can.
We stand and worry as he storms off the field, throws his helmet, and paces on
the sidelines while they pack his shoulder in ice.
Some mornings, I come home from third shift and find him sitting on our front
stairs with a bag of Egg McMuffins and hash browns- he asks if he can hang at
our place and skip school.
We are such dizzy suckers for company and sentiment and food.
Anytime he wants- wrap him up in a gift box. Display his sculptures and
ceramic coffee mugs, from art class, as if they’re Faberge Eggs on our mantle.
We are blithering fools for this chap in chucks and an OSU sweatshirt.
won us. We might as well be his slaves- or his parents.
We are there for the first date. we discover where he is taking a beautiful
girl before the prom - dinner at Max and Erma’s in German Village. Stefanie
and I park up the street so we can walk by the window and wave at them. He turns
so red in the face - we knew he would - we are so pleased to learn that we are
On Halloween we go to a party, unknowingly, disguised as each other. I wear
his trademark chucks and football clothes; he wears my silly t-shirts and
symbols. He grins and laughs, then draws up the leg of his pants to show that
his mother has drawn a dragon tattoo on his leg - with the face of Barney. I
laugh to tears.
“My god! Bart, you’re Jared! Jared! You’re Bart!”
We get him drunk for the first time the day Stef and I get married - and we
all get thrown out of our own wedding party. The next day we run around
Scottsburg, Indiana with bottles full of bubbles - we rain bubbles everywhere.
He goes to Chicago and we grieve for his company and rejoice when he returns
again to us, our growing son, our loving brother, our amazing friend. Always
I meet with him now, I’m 33 and he’s 26.
We talk about the things that make us cry, the things that make us laugh, we
eat Chinese food and stuff ourselves sick.
He calls from work reminding me that he wants to show me something special.
He takes me to a waterfall in Dublin. We climb down the rocks and explore the
wet ravine, tripping into the muck and admiring the graffiti, and then we stand
and skip stones across the Scioto River and talk. I cut my finger on a sharp
stone, get six skips out of it, and I’m perfectly pleased.
Afterwards we rifle through a thrift store and find these hideous lamps -
huge Owls with fucked-up eyes.
They are the most God-awful monstrosities. He buys one and I bring the other
one to him two weeks later. They are perfectly terrible… they are terribly
At his place we sit and watch a movie, have a drink, look at the owls, and
laugh ourselves silly.
If he was a book I would read him over and over…