Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The things he never said...

He never told you that he loved you, but he did. He used to picture your face when he was scared. You were his talisman. You were the one pure thing, never corrupted; you broke his heart every day and he was grateful.

He never told you he was proud of you, but he was that, too. Not because you were good at sports or made good grades, but for all the reasons you never would have guessed. He was proud because you always stood your ground. You were kind to animals. You were kind, period. You still are. 

He never tried to tell you how to do things his way. You have no idea how hard that was. But he didn't. He watched you discover the world with wide eyes and an open heart. He knew you were frustrated, but he respected you enough to let you figure it out.

He never told you what to do, how to fight your battles. You thought it was because he didn't care, but it was an issue of respect. He knew you were capable. Armored and well armed with the self-respect he helped you cultivate, always in the background...always...you never knew where it came from.

He never said that, before you, his life was empty. He dulled the edges of it. He was not engaged in living. And then you came along and life shed its bullshit skin and he was so in awe of you. He tried to show you. Lump-throated gestures that made no sense. He bought you a bike when you didn't want one, but it wasn't about the bike. He bought you books you didn't understand, and he hid the pain as he thumbed the pristine spines.

He never told you about the sacrifices he made. He made them gladly. You dreaded his fatigue because it made you feel guilty. He would come home late and eat the warm leftovers from dinner and, sometimes, you even hated him for it. For making you feel. He knew and couldn't explain. His back hurt more every day, and he smiled. He did it all for you, but he did it selflessly. That's why you never knew.

So, now you find yourself standing in a fog so thick that the smoke from your cigarette is invisible. You are dressed in black and ignoring the words from the preacher. You are wondering if he loved you. I mean, of course he loved you...right? You are sweating and your heart throbs and you want five minutes. That's it. You have some questions, but he gave you the answers long ago. He loved you with a simple note when he knew you were down. He loved you with his sacrifice. He loved you when he made up songs to entertain you when all he wanted was to sleep. He loved you.

The service ends and you shuffle away. You are opening your car when you hear your name. You turn, and you see his brother. Eyes red. Tears hovering on hairline lashes. 

"God, I'm going to miss him."

"I know, Benny. I'll miss him, too."

"I was jealous of you. Did you know that?"

"Jealous of what?"

"You really don't know, do you? Well, read this. He asked me to give it to you if anything ever happened."

The envelope is old and brittle. It is browned and smudged and, inside, there is a page torn from a notebook. His neat block lettering. You lean against the car and read the letter. You read it again. You read it until the words are blurry. You clutch the letter to your chest and thank God that he was more perceptive than you. You may not have known, but he did.

17 comments:

  1. Okay, you make me cry one more time and I'm ... thankful for the experience.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Gosh....that really got to me!!! It was so great and at the same time so hard to read. You got me to tears right off the bat. It was so emotional and so well worded. BEAUTIFUL!!! Now cut it out!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ;) Thank you. This story was a long time coming.

      Delete
  3. oh phooey kah bluey. Sprinkles so near dusk, that was beautiful and ska-mushy! thansk

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. At your service. Thanks for stopping by. :)

      Delete
  4. Oh, Danny. The moments we wonder about, that tear at our hearts - you reflect back to us with such insight. All of us reading this can relate on some level. And yes - you did make me cry - did you ever.

    Thank you for writing something so beautiful.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Dammit, stop making me cry. No. Don't.

    ReplyDelete
  6. What a wonderful piece. Thank you for making me think, feel and probe about my own self.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Surely, thank you for stopping by. :)

      Delete
  7. Ok, you made me cry again. What else need I say?

    ReplyDelete
  8. Simply sad in a way that makes me... happy.

    ReplyDelete

Please leave comments. Good, bad or ugly. Especially ugly.