"Two weeks before he left for college,

my brother decided he was going to show me something beautiful"

So here we are, my brother and I. Southbound on 270.

I cannot even begin to tell you the kind of person my brother is, but to give you some idea, I'll just say that if I'm ever half of the person he is, I will most likely win six Nobel prizes, and maybe even a few gold medals at the next Olympics.

His car smells like whatever's living underneath the piles of garbage in the backseat and that furry-looking stuff growing in the glove compartment. We've just stopped at a Shell station and charged a pack of Chic-O-Stix, apple rings, and two bottled waters to his credit card, and now we're going. I don't know where, but he promises I'll know when we get there. And I trust him, because I always do.

He tells me about his favorite professor, who once asked the class to write about their favorite places. Of course, everyone wrote about Paris at night, Venice at sundown. London after the rain. The student parking lot after the last bell has rung on a Friday before the big game. My brother said, southbound 270, approaching Frederick, at night.

I cannot even begin to tell you the kind of person my brother is.

Maybe this will give you some idea.

I don't really remember the car ride, but I do remember when I knew we were there, just like he said. All you can see is flat highway, empty blackness, and then all of a sudden you reach the top of the hill and it spreads out below you and you know. It is more than just a massive array of lights that would probably make any environmentally conscious person cringe; it is more than just one of the leading contributors to our colorful sunsets—

It is one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen.

And now, I have that same feeling.

I am on the cusp, but I'm almost there.

In about ten seconds, it will all spread out beneath me.

I'm not worried about missing it because when I get there, I will know.

I cannot even begin to tell you the kind of person my brother is. He plants trees and plays the drums. He writes poetry and reads Nietzsche, Dewey, and Russell. One of his all time favorite movies is the Shawshank Redemption. He likes to quote that film, saying, "I hope the Pacific is as blue as it has been in my dreams."

And what about me?

Well, I hope the lights are as beautiful and bright for me as they were that night.

Because then maybe I'll be half of the person he is.