These memories feel like pictures from a different life:
Blackberry jam, sourdough bread, and the perfect fried egg. If not for you – I’d never have flipped them in the pan. Two years of culinary school later, and I’m still the better.
The fan spinning backward as I stare up at the ceiling. Shift my eyes to the right and I meet a buck’s eyes. Turn to the left and it’s all computer screen. There’s a TV in the middle there somewhere where I used to watch something. I don’t recall what. It’s not a part of the images anymore. But the a/c and the smell of the living room and the feel of your softened water all are.
The clock in the hallway – it’s a grandfather – and it goes off on every chime. Late into the nights of my childhood, I could listen to this chime and count time. At thirty, I have the melodies memorized. I can hear them ring out, even now.
You taught me to blow the centers out of eggs with my mouth, then paint their shells in black wax and brilliant colors. Your patterns were always so intricate, so careful. You made tall wooden giraffes that held papers while I typed essays in high school. You made a light-box that rarely got turned on. You made baked beans and always got up before anyone else. I’d hear you making breakfast for yourself and pretend like I was asleep.
The last time I saw you, you were smiling. We talked about hunting and the land where we were headed. I learned more about you in those few hours than I think I ever had. Now only if I could learn to hunt, I think I’d be doing something right.
You and I don’t share blood, but we share a lot of traits. I’ll learn them from you any day.