My brother always dreamed of flying. I can still see him running around the house with a towel tied around his neck pretending he was Superman. One time, he got so wrapped up in his illusion, he jumped off the roof of the house and broke his arm. But it knitted quickly and he was back at pretending he was Superman in a month or two.
One day, when he was six and I was sixteen, Momma announced we were going to Detroit and we were going to fly on a plane. Boy was Bubba excited! He packed all his plane paraphernalia and drew pictures of planes by the ream. The night before our departure, after we had all packed for the zillionth time, I decide to take Bubba for a night of flying through the country in my old beat up Ford. As we glide by endless fields of cattle, Bubba tells me stories of his dreams of flying through the sky and touching stars. I smile and hope that one day his wish comes true.
As the night continues, and Bubba becomes tired, he takes off his seat belt and lies down across the seat. Soon, I see approaching headlights coming unimaginably fast at me. I flash my lights to make sure they see me, but they continue at a rakish speed towards me. It seems like they even picked up speed. Suddenly they veer into my lane. 'What's going on?' I think. I flash my lights again. Their break neck speed increases. At the last moment I turn my truck into a field, but it is too late. The other truck pounds into my truck spinning me off my wheels. As I start to black out into the soothing darkness, I see Bubba explode through the windshield and into the cold night sky. His body did arcs and loops and then heavily thudded into a field across the road. It is then that I savagely clawed into the darkness of my mind.
A few days later, with a broken leg and stitches by the dozen, I attended my brother's going away party. Friends and family came from all around to see my brother off. As all the visitors took turns bidding him farewell, I sat quietly besides Momma and received hugs and kisses from relatives I never knew existed. When the guests had all settled down, I slowly made my way up to my brother. How small he looked as he rested upon the red satin fabric of his bed. We had dressed him in his favorite clothes, the white pajamas with red and blue airplanes all over. He looked so pale, yet he looked peaceful. I bent over and kissed his cheek even though I knew how much he hated affection. I ran my finger through his soft curly hair as a single tear rolled down my cheek.
"I'm so sorry, Bubba," I whispered. "I love you and I'll miss you forever." I watched him for a little while, as if expecting a reply. As I turned away, I thought of Bubba flying, up past the clouds and into the skies, touching the stars on his way to heaven.