So I'm chatting with my friend at her desk when a call comes in. "An unidentified male has just been shot at the Shell located at 9th and Vine..." I watch her quickly log the notes into her laptop. My stomach, once happy from a dinner of queso, tortilla chips and olives in the shape of penguins, hits the floor. My body quickly fills with lead with each "mhm" or "yeah" that leaves her lips. She is typing fast.
"Just tell me, " I demand. She attempts to reassure me that we don't know anything yet. They might not know...but I do...a sister can feel a loss this great before her mind is able to process the reality.
The waiting...the waiting seemed to take days, but it was only a matter of minutes until my name was called. Called for what? Well clearly, my name was called so I could stand in a line longer than the one for a women's restroom at a lesbian bar on Pride Night. Oh no, not me...nope...not waiting any longer. I need my eyes to catch up with my heart. I literally run, and those of you who know me... you know I DO NOT run, and hop on the elevator.
"Ma'am, it is not your turn. You need to wait until your name is called."
"I need to know RIGHT NOW if that is my brother down there. Fucking take me to him!"
We go down several floors before the elevator stops. She grabs "Jon Doe's" file off the counter behind which a woman sat reading a romance novel, never acknowledging the significance of this moment. Not seeming to realize that in a matter breaths my life as I know it will crumble. I, unfortunately, am acutely aware of all of this. My hair is standing on end, there is a sweet taste in my mouth threatening to evoke vomit and I am numb.
I don't remember much after that, but what I do remember is the car ride home with my dad's sister. Why she was the one to pick me up I will never know. I had a small box on my lap with belongings that were not my own nor my brother's, but instead the jewelry of my brother's killer. My 21 year-old cousin pulled the gun from behind the counter of the classy gas station where she works the night shift. Maybe she was just showing it off...maybe she was offering it to him in exchange for just one more Oxy (a deal my brother would've accepted at one time, but The God Father a.k.a. "Dad" said no more guns...he was putting his foot down.)
I'll pause here for the dramatic "ohhhhhhs." and "ahhhhhhs" that typically follow my dad putting his foot down. That foot stopped carrying weight for me on Christmas of 1996 around 11:00pm. I was finishing up packing for my trip to London, a trip I worked to finance, he came home drunk and.... "I'm putting my foot down! Your not fucking going!" Ummm...yeah...whatever dad. Of course I cried then, but I knew that I would go the next morning regardless of what he said.
Whatever intentions my cousin may have had, it doesn't change the simple fact that in less time than he needed to take a drag off of his Marlboro Light my brother's life was gone. So hours later, riding in my aunt's car I am sickened by the fact that I am holding her shit. A necklace given to her by our grandfather to show his love. My brother is dead, and I'm holding a reminder of how little we mean to this side of the family. They are relieved that he is gone. My dad can "finally get it together without Andrew holding him back." What the fuck ever!
I can't stand it...it is all happening too fast yet I am in slow motion. I look out the car window and see the most amazing sea of colors. "My brother would've liked this." I say to myself. "Oh God...my brother!' This is a guttural sob that comes from somewhere so deep inside it shocks me. The sobs continue as look at the sky, screaming for my brother and mourning his life. Yes mourning his loss...not my own. The loss of his childhood, the loss of time with his son, the loss of the opportunity to live life sober, the loss of the opportunity to see the successful and responsible man that I had faith he would one day become. Me...I'm mourning the loss of time. Time with him...the beautiful, funny, smart, caring, nurturing, and talented young man he once was. The screams continue to rip themselves from my body, leaving behind holes and tears in my soul. I worry that this time, duct tape will not be enough to mend what is broken. Emily reaches from the back seat to comfort me and to try to pull me back from this dark pit into which I have fallen.
She is successful. I am laying next to hear, snuggled in close in our bed in Houston. Em is leaning over me, rubbing my back and arm. Tears are streaming down my face and my breathing is short from the screaming. She couldn't understand what I was saying, but she knew that I needed to be woken up. My nightmare was too much for me to handle. "I've got you," is all she says, wraps her arms around me, and I continue to sob. I am not ready to lose my brother and in so many ways I already have. I want to call him now, hear his voice, tell him how much I love him, but I fear that he will not be in his bed. I am lighter after blogging this out. The medicine ball that lives on my chest is now the size of a manageable peach, which I may snack on later.
Note to Drew
Where ever you are, know that I love you dearly. You are my heart. I have a bond with you that I share with no other person in this world. This bond can never be broken. I need you in my life. I am proud of you for being a survivor. I miss you.
Sissy (The Sparkly Queen)