|By Sushilove51 | Photo by | J. Wilburne|
“I can’t remember anything without you”
-Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
*I know “K”. She’s special to me. Even so, I always wonder. As I bite into a piece of Sushi. How perfect it’d be if my brother were at the table. I remember our talks*
“I love you Bro” I said to him.
“Listen, man that’s too much” he’d say swiftly.
“But, for the record, I love you Big Bro!”
That’s how our conversations ended. It was easy showing affection over the phone. I don’t think we could tell our feelings face-to-face. I imagine it lighting up the world with awkwardness.
5,000 miles of ocean apart from each other had an effect on our brotherhood. The tone in our speech carried a more caring sound. Compare that to the times we wanted to kill each other. Fighting and Punching. Promising we’d never forgive. We could never keep the promise.
If the sunrise brought an argument. The sunset we’d laugh about it. Near the beach side with a chilled beer. In our teens staring at the ships with blackened eyes. This carousel of ours was chaotic. Nevertheless, I cherished it. The fights were welcomed. It seemed as if the harder we did, the more we forgave, the more we loved and proved to each other that we were solid.
Remembering the hardships of youth is something I try not to do. I could cry over those details. Instead, I look at the good of it all. The fact we survived. He was there always by my side. If he wasn’t I’m not sure if I would have. I told him about all my hurt. I listened to his. We would get through it.
I’ve heard others comment on our relationship claiming that he was the lucky one. They saw me and the way I cared for him. The truth is that I needed him more than he’d ever need me. I was always the sensitive one. He could turn it off. Escape from the pain mentally. I felt it all, I over thought about everything. The moments that warmed hearts and the ones that broke them.
I remember driving thru Los Angeles traffic when we had conversation about our futures. That sort of turned prophetic. We had just left a military recruitment office. I had just made a verbal agreement to join. When this happened we knew that our tandem would never be the same. Even as we talked about it getting stronger.
We started by recapping those years we spent trying to find our place in the West. Journeying together trying to follow through with our plans. We slept at our friends’ houses, studio homes, cars, couch garages.
We ate off the dollar menu, church fellowships, random Barbecue’s and birthday parties. We laughed and had a ball. Unforgettable memories at the boardwalk, laying on the beach. The smell of fresh paint from Graffiti. The sound of connecting a punch. Our foolishness. The temptations and giving in to them. Nothing from that life was sustainable. No one could live that way forever. It had to end eventually. Never land was a fairy tale.
The drive thru L.A. brought a feeling that this was the end. We never saved enough to get our own place. There were times when we did have money for a lease. But, who knows where it all went. The only evidence we have are Polaroid’s of those forgotten nights.
“It’s good that you’re joining. I going to work out Bro”. He said to me.
I reminded him that he would be next. As soon as he lost the weight.
“Yeah, I’m getting a head start. You’re coming too” I reminded him.
“It’s awesome thinking about the places we’ll see” He added
“Who knows?, Italy, Hawaii, Somewhere in Europe, Poland!” I guessed.
That’s when he made his prophecy.
“No, I have a feeling exactly where we’ll be. Japan! I know it!”
He guessed right. He said this months before I graduated Basic Training.
Remembering that conversation seemed like he knew the future or that he was used as a vessel to reveal it. Or a lucky guess. Whatever it might be. I look at it as a bridge that gave me peace throughout our separation. I often think about that car ride years later. Believing that I’m on the right path.
When I first arrived to Japan I called him every other day. To motivate him. To remind him. We have a plan. We’ll travel the world and get a home. But things changed. It got harder to get a hold of him. We would talk every other week. Then every two weeks. Then months. Then I began to look at it as something we couldn’t control. It was inevitable that life was separating us.
I think in the middle of our two years together we knew someday this would happen. The times we had with each other was to be enjoyed. One day it would never be the same. It will never be like it is. And it never was. He never lost the weight to join the military. Every time we spoke about life he never seemed interested in the idea. He would always tell me about some odd job he was working at the time instead of getting into shape.
*An epiphany came*
Looking back at all the partying. I began to think if we were always like this. Had I been too intoxicated not to notice? The signs seemed clear now.
Our parties would be the biggest mixture of people. A bunch of people with different personalities, diversity and would not normally blend. But our relationship helped bring everyone together in the same place.
He befriended a different crowd, the rough-type. People who fight with the club’s bouncer. The people who smoked weed like it was the air they breathed.
I, seemed to be attracting different people. College students, people who had goals to pursue. People who didn’t punch bouncers. People who thought I could be in a better situation.
Our crowds always started in fun until the drama would happen. Someone from his crowd would say or do something. My crowd got offended. Bottles would fly. Yelling could be heard and cars would drive away. We’d all separate.It was insane to think. A few days later we’d do the same thing. I never felt more awake. Maybe it was the love. I wanted us to work. I wanted my brother and I to live our lives together.
I remember calling home from Japan one day and no one answering. I sensed something was wrong. I tried every other day but still no answer. Weeks had passed then finally I got someone.
My brother’s girlfriend picked up the phone. She had a sweet voice. But no matter how nice it was her voice couldn’t soften the blow of the bad news. She explained to me that my brother had gotten arrested. I won’t go into details about it. But he was currently sitting in a jail facing felony charges.
This meant a lot of things for me. One of them meant he just dropped himself out of our military dreams. There was no way that he could get in. The standards wouldn’t allow a felon.
Sometimes I think if I could have done more to prevent it. Sushi and Sake is lovely. But, I want my brother to enjoy it with me.
I’m always hoping for another way.