I had this idea as soon as I walked out of the theater from seeing Remember Me. Don't know why it took me so long to publish (probably because I'm paranoid), but yeah. Here it is.
Thank you, LyricalKris. ILYSFM.
I'm a therapist's wet dream: parents got divorced when I was too young to remember them being together, oldest brother committed suicide, middle brother was in the wrong place at the wrong time. All that without taking into account the constant torture I received at school because of my interest in art.
In 1995, my oldest brother hung himself on his twenty second birthday.
In 2001, my parents' middle child was waiting for Dad in his office when the planes hit the Twin Towers.
Really, I was too young to remember Michael's death, but I can vividly recall the morning Tyler died. It's not enough that I lost my brother - the only family member who ever really understood me - that day. Even if forgetting was a possibility, I couldn't because my teacher had me write the date on the chalkboard that morning.
It's weird . . . I can still remember how the chalk felt in my hand and the sound it made as it moved across the board. I was the weird kid, so I never really did things like that. And for some reason that morning, I was hopeful.
My father had picked me up for school that morning. The day before, Tyler'd scared a girl so badly Dad thought she'd leave school before the week was out. Mom and Les seemed truly happy.
There was no reason not to be hopeful that morning, because everything was going my way . . . until 8:45 a.m.
We all heard the crash, boom, loudest noise ever, whatever you want to call it. And I knew. I just knew.
Dad had mentioned Tyler was meeting him at the office. My stomach fell, my heart jumped into my throat, and all those other lame cliches people use when they're describing shock or terror or whatever emotion I might have been feeling at that moment.
I still can't define it.
I shouldn't have been so disconnected from the situation. But when your only memories of your oldest brother have to be supplemented with the stories your parents and other brother tell, it's hard to feel emotion when you know the only person who'd ever gotten you is just . . . gone.
In the days, weeks, months, years that followed, I tried to imagine what Tyler's last moments were like. What kind of mood was he in? I knew from talking with his girlfriend, Ally, that he'd been happy when he left the apartment that morning. I knew from Dad that Tyler was instantly frustrated when Dad called to say he was running late, but that Tyler had calmed down when Dad said he was taking me to school.
After his funeral, Ally confided in me - Tyler's eleven year old sister - that that morning, he'd said he loved her for the first time. Those three words kept her going when she felt like she couldn't get out of bed in the morning.
It was a little unfair if you ask me. Not because he never told me he loved me; he did that all the time. It was unfair because Ally had this pleasant memory of him to keep her going. I had pleasant memories - Tyler picking me up from school, hanging out at "our spot," his comments about my art, reading together - but I didn't have a final moment with him that morning.
My final moment with Tyler was watching him get hauled out of my classroom in handcuffs for throwing a fire extinguisher through the glass on the door.
Mom and Les got me an appointment with a therapist soon after Tyler's funeral. I couldn't say no, so I went and sat in silence for weeks. When I finally cracked, I told Beth all about how we were going to bury an empty casket for him. At the last minute, Aidan had this brilliant idea that we should all write letters to Tyler and put things that reminded us of him in there. I didn't fully understand why Aidan chose to put a case of beer in the casket or why, through sobs so hard I was surprised she could stand, Ally took off a plaid shirt she'd been wearing ever since that morning and put it in there.
I put in a drawing I'd done of Tyler at our spot. Mom put in a few pictures of Tyler and Michael together. I was surprised when Dad showed up and put in a picture of the entire family, just days after my birth.
The therapist I still see twice a month calls me "well adjusted" for a young woman who's suffered so much loss in her life.
I think she's full of shit.
The truth is, I'm not well adjusted, and my artwork shows it. I haven't used color in years. Everything is in black, white, and grey. I don't find anything I do beautiful anymore, but it's selling like hotcakes to the emo citizens of New York City.
There's a bit of Tyler in every single piece I do.
So there's that. Let me know what you think.