Sometimes I see someone on the street or in crowded Grand Central who looks like you. For a fleeting moment, I want to go up to that person and ask their name. To see if there is any recognition in their eyes. I often ponder what you might look like today; you were always so thin, would you have put on pounds? A beer gut? Would your blond hair have turned silver, mixing in and not really noticeable? Would your eyes crinkle when you smiled? Would you have a beard and mustache?
Would you still have your freckles?
I sometimes wonder who you would have married. I’d meet someone and instantly think she would make a good match for you. If you took a wife, would I have liked her? Would we have gotten along? Would our parents approve and welcome her into the family? Would you have asked me to help you pick out a ring? Would you have had a big wedding?
Would you have had kids?
I simply adore my nieces and nephews from MR’s side of the family. Time spent with each one is precious and rare and fleeting. In my heart I am positive I would have loved your kids (even if it happened that I didn’t like your wife) because they were from you, and ultimately from me. How old would they be? We could have gone through all the trials together, from soccer (or baseball, or ballet, or piano recitals) to school plays to college and maybe even a wedding or two. I would have made the best Aunt Soo to your kids. You might have been the “cool” one, but I was older and smarter (so I liked to think). There would be secrets and sleepovers and our kids could have grown up to be best friends.
Would they have looked like you?
Likewise, my kids would have adored you.You, being the “cool” one, would have done so much with my girls. I can imagine you taking them on all sorts of adventures and keeping secrets from their parents as well. I know you would have taken an active role in everything they did. Would you have gone hunting with MR and Zombiegirl? Would you have gone camping with us? Would you have gone to your Godchild’s graduation from Adelphi? They probably would have been raised totally different if you had been around to referee the game of babysitting. Mom always listened to you.
You were her favorite.
I realized that fact many, many years ago and many, many years ago I got over it. I haven’t held that grudge for a long time but I wonder if things would have been different between me and our parents? Would having you to talk to helped me deal with them better? Would it have helped our relationship? I know I would have been a better person if you were here to listen to me gripe, complain and bitch. You would have told me to suck it up and deal- and given me that look that would instantly shut me up. You were infuriatingly annoying when you were brutally honest. I frequently imagine us sitting on your deck (your backyard is gorgeous) drinking a beer (you brewed your own) and talking long into the night about anything and everything.
I frequently feel alone.
Today is your 49th birthday. You’ve been gone a quarter of a century. You’ve now been gone longer than you were alive. How fucked up is that? How fucked up is it that you never grew old, never had a family, never bought a house, never finished college, never knew two-thirds of my children and never met my husband?
Never, never, never.
Happy birthday, little brother. I miss you wholly and completely every day.