It was Sunday and we left without my brother, no one spoke of him and I spoke to no one. Not much of anyone spoke at all. We were there at church and it was mostly empty. We hadn't lived in Florida for all that long, I didn't have any friends, my brother didn't have any friends. I saw my aunt.
My father cried but we don't cry and I thought he reminded me of my brother. He isn't such a big man, just tall so when he stands over me he seems like a father, he isn't so big on the inside like he seems and I thought he might walk over to me and rub his tears into my neck but he wasn't my brother. And he didn't remind me all that much of him anyway.
My father reminded me of my brother in his watercolor eyelashes and his never-end sentences. He reminded me of my brother in his shadow over me and his I-love-yous. He didn't rub the tears into my neck when he was crying though and he was tall (although not such a big man). But he didn't remind me all that much of him anyway.
My sister cried and my mother cried and I saw my aunt crying too. They told me that they loved me and my father told me that he loved me. I love them too, but I didn't say anything, and I didn't cry. We don't cry. My brother had the bandages around his wrists just how I remembered them with the dirty turned up corners from being alive. They didn't seem to dirty now though, preserved even and it made me think of a mummy, to have him wrapped up like that, but he wasn't a mummy, he was only human, and not much of anything anymore.
Then they put him away. Six feet down. A hole in the ground.
And at our house he wasn't in his room but the black brown red stain was still on his bed where the sheets were back as he had pulled them the night before, and it looked cracked how my fingernails felt. His walls were dead and gray and the only shadow was the one there on the wall, right where my brother's should be. But it was mine. I couldn't remember ever seeing my shadow until just then.
"looks like you." it was hard to trace my shadow on the wall, it would magnify when I stepped closer, so I was content to reach my hands out and imagine I could feel the dead gray wall underneath my fingerprints. Something all my own. I was content to make believe there was friction between my fingers and the dead gray wall there, outlining my own shadow, the only shadow in this room.
"It's you, it's always been you." There he goes, you know, the way he says things. And I hope I never say things that way and I wish I could smell him and the only trace left of him was the resemblance in my face. I always knew what he was thinking, he couldn't just tell me anymore.
And we don't cry. But everyone else was allowed to break the rules. My brother could cry. My brother could speak in run on sentences and never finish some, he could break mirrors and watch the blood run through grout trails, he could kiss me and he could climb up balconies without getting bloody toes. He stole and he could be gay without really being gay. He could play invisible, he could be louder then the Florida rain on his window when I did things that made him moan the way he could moan. He could have dagger sharp eyelashes or the ones that were watercolor soft on my cheeks. He could make my dad run barefoot with his Sunday best and he could make dogs howl with the sirens. He could take too many pills, He could make me pray, he could put his hand in my pocket, He could make us move to Florida. He could love me the way no brothers should love their brothers. He could cut his wrists and bleed out all the bad blood, he could trick me, he could even die.
And we're not supposed to cry, but I do it anyway.