Today I wrote to you. I haven’t seen you in seven months and sixteen days, as of 10 AM this morning. Only two weeks left. It seems unreal… It also seems that to write to you is all I have. So this morning I sat at my desk, and I opened my mind to all the things I could have said to you, but never thought to.
Do you remember the first day we met? It was in the café on Franklin Blvd. You were wearing your grey Fedora, a Hurley shirt, and those burnt sienna penny loafers we’d make so much fun of later.
I was at the table by the window, and I couldn’t help but notice you. Three of your fingernails were painted yellow, and you wore a bunch of beaded hemp bracelets on your right wrist. They looked Bohemian to me, but one day you explained the difference in that and Jamaican. You were singing a little tune while waiting in line. Later, you’d call it your “little ditty,” and you’d sing it all the time. You always said things like that, & I always fell in love with you more.
You ordered a vanilla cappuccino and a plain English muffin. I looked down at the same half-eaten muffin and cold cappuccino in front of me. I wondered why it seemed that I knew you already.
You sat down at a table a few feet away from me. You took off your penny loafers and took a handheld game of Yahtzee out of your pocket to accompany your breakfast. I was perplexed that you hadn’t noticed me staring yet.
Ah, there it was. You looked over at me. You must have sensed me by then. Immediately you smiled that half-smile you would always do, a mix between a condescending smirk and a boyishly cute pride. It was altogether endearing. You raised your eyebrows and nodded, as if we’d known each other for years. I admired your charmingly playful introduction. I would soon call you sweet pea.
It was eight months ago today that you told me you were leaving. Your large brown eyes were full of promise and sorrow. I dropped my half-full coffee mug, and it spilled all over the carpet. The cat ran to lick it up, and was disappointed when the taste was utterly bitter. In other circumstances, I would have laughed and pointed it out to you, and we’d admire the cat’s zealous naïveté.
However, the cat had but a split-second of my stolid attention before my eyes met yours again, and I felt paralyzed. I asked what you meant, and you repeated yourself.
You told me of Jacob and all he meant to you. I cried when you told me how God and all his goodness took a sixteen year-old boy and his giant heart away from this world, away from his brother. You also told me how you’d avoided him for over three years before his death.
I was in disbelief that you’d never told me of him. You just looked down and said you’d had no room in your selfish green world for his coal-black sickness. Then you told me of his letter before he passed, asking one thing from each person he cared about. To help the world in a way they never would have done before, to somehow leave a legacy in his name.
My stomach felt sick. My baked-apple oatmeal felt at the tip of my tongue. How could this be happening to you? I instantaneously let go of any would-be grudge against you for being kept from the cruelly and sickeningly beautiful reality attacking your heart.
For I could see in your eyes that you were tearing your soul to shreds. You explained how in your peaceful aura had been a mask, a denial of the sickness slowly claiming your brother, waiting it out. For he couldn’t die. He would simply be better one day, and you were waiting for that. But, he did die. And you already knew what your mission would be.
You were leaving in two weeks from that day. You were flying to Africa with the church your brother had been devoted to since the diagnosis four years before this day. You’d spend eight months with the church members in Africa, working with children in a third-world country. Anything you donated would be in the name of Jacob Meyers.
You had talked about this with your family, and they agreed it would please Jacob and the legacy he had asked for. I at once stated that I was going too. My belittled heart broke cleanly in two when you told me how you had to go alone, that Jacob wanted a noble mission.
He had explained that he wanted someone to do selfless work in his name. How in order to give truly, you must give all. I knew you felt that you had to give the largest part, for you’d been the most selfish to avoid him. I let you keep your dignity and, broken, I accepted what you were doing. If anything, I loved you so much more for it.
Sorrowfully and dutifully we packed bags to attend his funeral. I never told you this, but I read four novels on sibling death. I wanted to take your hand in mine and feel what you were going to feel when you saw him laying there.
In two weeks I will see you again. I will travel to the airport and pick you up and time will move once again. I often wonder how spectacularly, or marginally, you will have changed.
I have your loafers, your fedora, and your faded Hurley shirt ready to wear to the café where we met when you come back.
To my faux Jamaican sweet pea,
I miss you.
Though I have personally experienced the emotions in this poem, the setting, characters, content are actually fiction. I really appreciate the feedback though.
Like I have explained in my biography, I am not a creator of stories; they are floating all around us. I'm just the messenger to share them.