Then, as suddenly as you had left when I was a child, you came back. You were living at home, and hiding in the basement. I wonder sometimes - was it shame? Regret? What kept you down there? When did it start? I offhandedly wonder what Mom and Dad could have done differently in your life that would have helped you, and yet also struggle with the idea that we make our own fate - so how much of it was your own fault?
Strangely, there are also times where I feel like I knew you better than anyone on this planet did. You wanted me to see you, so badly, over and over. I did - but I was young. As the years have passed I think I have come to see you even more, in retrospect, in memories. I remember long nights with you, sometimes talking - sometimes not. I was never sure what to say to you in those late night/early morning moments when you would let your brain wander. I could see it - when you'd leave me - focused and yet unfocused, still kicking ass at Tempest, thinking about everything and nothing. Was it the drugs? Or did you just do that sometimes? I know I do, so it's not hard to understand.
Some days I think of you a lot, other days less - and some not at all. I feel no shame in admitting that, I have had to make my own life for years now - and that takes a lot of work. Some people are on an easier path than others, some of us have to forge our own path in the jungle with a machete. I used to think some people were just lucky, but most of them just make it look easy.
You would be 38 now, and we would be making fun of the oldest for being 40 - I'm sure of it. Would we text everyday? Probably. I like to imagine that you would have found or made yourself a stable living, maybe not married but at least in your own apartment - with a Nintendo Switch and a PS4 and we would play games together. I think you would love playing Uno with us late at night, laughing and cursing along with us. Then I realize that was never your fate, as much as I don't really believe in it. You were tormented, as they say. You had so much inside of you all the time, raging seas that would never calm. Did the drugs make it better, or just let you escape for awhile?
My grief is the worst when I think about things you have missed or will miss - not necessarily when I think about you no longer existing. The pop culture and technology advancements that you would have loved - seeing Marvel movies with me the day they came out, talking about and sharing comics that we like, watching E3 streams and getting hyped about upcoming games. These are the times I think of you. When there's something I want to tell you, or get excited about with you. There are moments where it *hits* me - like the announcements for new video games (or reboots of old ones we used to play) and VR technology. I remember playing games with you and it just washes over me like a wave. "He would love this."
I think we would talk more now than we did when I was younger. It was so hard to keep up with school, my own journey, our crazy home life, and your needs - all at once. We could have deeper conversations now, I think. I don't know what you would have said to my transition, but considering how you took every other confession I ever told you, I think we would have been more than fine. You probably would have tried to fight people daily for me, which in itself shouldn't be as comforting as it is. The thought makes me smile, though, so I'll keep it.
Apparently that was all I wanted to say, so I'll end it here.
Thinking of you, bro <3