Monday, February 8, 2016

TO THE BOY WITH SYMMETRICAL FRECKLES IN THE INNER CORNERS OF HIS EYES:

I wasn't happy when mom and dad brought you from the hospital. We all laugh about the photos now. Me, in my light pink pajamas and you, swaddled tight like a burrito with your skin pink and angry. We're lying on the floor, next to each other, and I'm screaming hysterically because I don't know you but I know I don't like you and all I keep asking mom is if she can please throw you away in a dumpster or give you away. You're screaming on the top of your lungs because you're days old and you don't know what kind of world you were thrown into.

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You're ten years old and the television in your room is constantly blaring Emeril Lagasse at all hours of the day, it seems like. I hate it but I know you like it and I never make fun of you for it. It's not till years later that I find it endearing and it makes me want to hug you until you can't breathe. Because the image of you, in your school uniform (with the stiff khaki shorts and the deep navy blue hoody), soaking up Emeril's 'BAM!' and ' LET'S KICK IT UP A NOTCH' makes my heart warm. The hours and hours of Emeril Lagasse's cooking show pays off and soon, you're making steaks at the age of ten and mom thinks they're just as good as hers.

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My birthday is coming up and you ask me what I want for my birthday and I tell you I don't want anything but a letter. You ask if I'm sure and I say I'm positive. Your letter arrives and I read it, standing up in my bathroom, as the steam from my shower fogs up the mirror and makes your letter feel a little soggy. Your letter makes me cry because I'm reading it in your voice and your words are gentle. I fold it into a tiny square and I keep it in the deep folds of my wallet.

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You visit me and I pick you up from the airport and it takes everything in me not to embarrass you by running up to you and throwing my arms around your neck because your face is the only one I wanted to see for so long.

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Seeing you in love with someone who loves you so much makes me happier than I ever thought it would.

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I always tell you we're like twins because we can be in a room full of people but if someone says a funny thing, we can look at each other and instantly know what each other is thinking and feeling. We laugh and laugh and no one knows why we're laughing and they wouldn't understand even if we tried to explain. I think sometimes mom pretends this bothers her but I know it makes her heart feel warm and full.

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"Can you do me a favor for me, please?'

"Anything."

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I was in the car with mom and I was telling her how much I love you, as I normally do. We talk about you often, when you aren't around. She told me we never fought growing up and how protective we were of each other and how we never hit each other or fought over toys. I laughed, thinking she was lying but she grew defensive and adamant about all of this. Sometimes I just remember the time we were fighting so much, mom dropped the bowl of rice in the kitchen and came storming into the living room and screamed at us to shut up. But then I remember that even though you were three years younger than me, you insisted on tying my shoes for me and showed me that my left shoe goes on my left foot and my right shoe goes on my right foot and then I think mom is probably telling the truth.

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You're 24 years old now and I have loved growing up together. You will continue to be the brightest part of my life. Even when you're older and stronger, even when you're old and gray.

Your name is in my name and I carry you with me always.