Years come and go, but your voice ringing threw my head never does. Some days when the wind moves to fast, I am transported back to your car. We were flying down the highways. Not a care in the world. Your eyes filled with a passion I have yet to find every again. I hear you blabbering on and on about things that I did not understand. “The world is too big for us to be remembered. Yet too small for us to be forgotten”. Words that till this day, I do not quite understand. Funny enough, these same words I pray I never forget. I find myself doing things that remind me of you. When I laugh too hard or too loud, I remember the way your mom would shush us through the night. I remember you waiting at my grandparent’s door for me to wake up. On days I rose before you arrived, I knew you would be waiting by the bakery. Waiting with bread and coffee to go. We would spend from morning till dusk running and playing. I would come to you for advice on how to talk to boys. I would spend hours ranting about my life back home. Anything I could talk about, I would. Together we would play with my uncle’s chickens, pigs, rabbits. I always wanted to pet the cows, but you wouldn’t let me. You feared the bulls would get angry and attack me. You were a brother to me in more ways than I think even my own brother will ever be. I knew when the other kids would start egging me on to battle bigger and tougher waves, you would have my back. You stood up for me when you knew I would not. But every time I felt empowered enough to speak my mind, you stood back and let me shine. You encouraged me to say what I needed to say, and you backed me every time. Some days you would pull me aside and tell me that I was too harsh and just a little bit wrong. But you never did this in front of others. Something that I always cherished. Even if I forgot to say it. I felt like I could conquer the world because I knew that even if I failed, you would be there. Every August I would leave for home, only to return the next June. Fear consumed me every time. Fear that maybe this time you would grow up and forget about me. Yet, you never did. One summer, though, you were not waiting for me by my grandparent’s door. You were not by the bakery with bread and coffee to go. I was alone. Eventually, I found some older boys from the street. I asked where you had gone. Embarrassed, I had been forgotten. They looked at me in pity. “He died. Drive-by shooting. He was caught in the crossfire.” I sought out your grave only to find a stone with a name that shouldn’t be there and decaying flowers scattered for a boy who died too soon.
Some people come into our lives and leave footprints on our hearts and we are never, ever the same.Flavia Weedn