I spent my Sunday doing things that I find amazingly fun, writing and creating things with Photoshop. But sometimes writing can be gut-wrenching, as it was at times with today’s project. I wrote a second part to “Story”, from the PoV of Jack’s brother. Maybe at some point I’ll write shorts from the PoV’s of the mom and the dad, but this one got pretty tought to write at some points, and I don’t feel like doing that to myself again right away. But enough dopey commentary; here’s the meat:
“Hello? Yeah, thanks. No, I’ll be okay. Yeah, I’ll see you tomorrow. No no, I’ll pick you up. Yeah. ‘kay, see you.” That was my girlfriend. She’s been so supportive over the past few weeks. Heh, at least I got lucky once in my life. I just hope I don’t lose her too. I can only be so strong, and that might just do me in. Mom’s been shut up in her room ever since the funeral, and Dad, well, he was hardly ever around before, but now he’s never here. I think Jack was right; he’s having an affair. I mean, why else would he not be here with his wife and kid, when they need him most? But I don’t wanna talk about him, it just makes me mad.
I’ve been reading Jack’s journal again, the one I guess most of you’ve seen by now too. The preacher told me he wanted me to have it most, and everything else I gave to the Salvation Army like he wanted. “Don’t give that book away for anything,” the preacher said. Not that he had to worry about that. I’m keeping this till the day I die. It rips me apart, how calm he was about his sickness. Yeah, I realize there was nothing he could do about it, and he knew that. But still, if it was me, there’s no way I would’ve been that calm. No way. Jeez I miss him.
I know Jack didn’t name us in his journal. He was trying to protect us, the guy. Didn’t want a swarm of people coming down on us. He was always thinking like that; even when all the attention should have been on him, he kept asking how we were doing, or deflecting it in some other way. Best little brother a guy could have, and I never really knew him. We never talked about girls, or sports, or anything, really. I guess I just figured my world was more important, you know? I was in the middle of grade XII when he went into the hospital for the last time, focused on graduating, my girlfriend, college, but when he went in… It hit me like a truck. Everything became so petty, so meaningless, when I learned that I was really going to lose him… And the first time I visited, I only stayed for at most 30 seconds, and then I had to leave. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen someone like that, but I had to run to the bathroom and heave. Seeing the colostomy bag hanging from the rack, all the tubes and machines hooked up to him, it was just too much. I didn’t go back till the next day, and then it was okay. Not all right, the tubes and stuff still weirded me out, but I could stand it. We hung out, talked about all the stuff we should’ve before, and then before I knew it… he was gone.
I never knew what an awesome little brother I had till it was time for him to go. I guess I’m not alone in that, a lot of people have told me they felt the same way, but it never really hits you until it happens to you. When he first complained about being sick all the time, I just thought he was pranking mom, trying to get outta going to school. Then when the doctors said cancer… You have no idea how low I felt. I mean, I would go and bug him about being sick all the time, tell him I knew he was faking it, threaten to tell mom. Turns out I was wrong, hey? I tried to make it up to him after we found out, but I still feel like I owe him so much, you know? I got the guys on the football team to give him the jersey and helmet, snuck in so many tacos for the guy, visited every day, but I still feel like it’s not enough. He was buried in the jersey, with the helmet in his hands. They had to make some adjustments in the casket to do it, but they did. I made sure of that.
I volunteer with Children’s Charity now, and Big Brothers, trying to be the best big brother I can, because I know I sure wasn’t with Jack. I try to make it up to him by helping these other kids, being there for them like I wasn’t for him. Actually, that’s what I was on the phone with my girlfriend about. We’re taking a couple of kids to the local go-kart track tomorrow. The one kid is her Little Sister, I guess you’d call her. The other guy is a patient at the hospital, and all he ever wanted was to drive a go-kart. Go figure. Instead of going to Disneyland or something, he picks go-karts. What a guy… so much like Jack. My girlfriend actually caught me calling him that one day. I didn’t even know I’d done it. He didn’t mind, though, he knows the story. But I guess a lot of people do now. I’ve been wondering if it was such a good idea to publish Jack’s last journal entry, the Story most of you’ve read, but it’s a little late for that now. A little late; story of my life, it seems.
I just wanted to let you all know how things are on this end of things, to tell my story like Jack told his. I haven’t gone as far as he did, with the whole becoming Christian and all, mostly because I’m angry with God for taking away my little brother. But I’m slowly working through it, thanks to the support of my girlfriend and my friends. Mom’s having the roughest time of it all, though. I’m not asking for any sympathy for me. Give it to her. She really needs it. All she does now is sit in her room and weep. She tries to collect herself when visitors come, but she can only last for 15 minutes, tops, then she excuses herself and goes to her room, and leaves me to entertain them. I don’t mind taking up the slack. But she really needs some help, because God knows Dad isn’t giving any. He just goes to work, most days at 5 or 6 in the morning, and never gets back until 12 or sometimes later. Sometimes he stays away for days at a time. Mom doesn’t have any sisters, only a brother, and as much as he tries, he’s as useless as I am in comforting her. So, I don’t know, if you’re a praying type, pray for her a lot, if you’re going to pray for anyone. And thanks for listening to me. My name’s Garrett.