Sam appears in my doorway, he's wearing his jacket and he's holding my jacket, fresh from the dryer, in his hand. His expression though isn't his 'we've got a job' look, it's his 'I really need you to do something for me' look.
"We going somewhere?" I ask.
"Yeah, I – uh – thought we could go get lunch? It's National Cheeseburger Day. The diner has takeout, we could get some cheeseburgers and – I don't know – just drive somewhere."
National Cheeseburger Day, my favorite day of the year.
"Yeah, I'm making cheeseburgers for dinner. Heavy on the onions."
That should get me Sam's annoyed face, but I get his perplexed face instead.
"Yeah, I figured you were. I just – thought – " He swallows and doesn't look at me and if my jacket was alive he'd be strangling it right now.
"It's twelve years since you came back from hell," he says it like it's a confession he doesn't want to make.
"Wow, twelve years. I didn't realize it'd been that long."
"And last year we were busy fighting off the creatures Chuck released from hell. The year before that was – was – Michael. Before that we'd lost Mom and had Jack. This is like the first time in years we can just – enjoy it."
I don't keep precise track of when I came back from hell because I try not to think about hell, ever. Sam keeps track. Part of it is quantifying – well, everything he possibly can. Numbers are logical and reliable and always mean the same thing and Sam gravitates towards that.
– "I just thought – I mean – who knows how much longer we'll be able to celebrate any days?" he goes on in a rush. "If we'll even be here next year to celebrate anything at all. I just – I just want to go get a cheeseburger with my big brother. I just want to celebrate today."
The biggest part of keeping track though is something always implied and rarely expressed. I came back from hell and Sam has counted every single day since.
"Yeah, so do I. C'mon, let's go."
"Ends are not bad things, they just mean that something else is about to begin. And there are many things that don't really end, anyway, they just begin again in a new way. Ends are not bad and many ends aren't really an ending; some things are never-ending."
-C. JoyBell C.