Memories of My Brother
“The doctors say he’s stable but serious condition,” my mother whispered into the telephone as if she were in a library instead of a noisy hospital. “I never know what they mean by that.”
“I’ll find out when I get there,” I said through smothered emotions.
I drove mechanically through a drizzle of rain and saw images of my brother Michael projected against the car’s windshield.
When we were little, my brother was my confidant. Michael and I used to sit at the kitchen table almost every night consoling each other about things we couldn’t control, like the death of our father a few years before, and the death of our grandfather not long after. We’d also share some laughs about the time Aunt Patel wore her hair like a snake coiled atop her head. Or the time Cousin Fito ate so much at a family gathering that no one dared stand next to him.
Presently, I maneuvered through the congested highway and anchored my head in my hand. It hurt from the memories, but still I tried to say a prayer for Michael. When my cell phone rang my heart lurched. Slowly, I grasped the phone which I’d carelessly tossed on the passenger seat of the car and squinted at the number. It wasn’t the hospital. With relief flooding through me, I answered the call.
“What’s going on?” Simeon asked from the other end. “I haven’t heard from you all day.”
“I’m not in Orlando right now,” I managed to say without tearing up. “I’m on my way to Miami. Michael’s been in an accident.”
“Why didn’t you call me? You know husbands are supposed to support their wives in times like this.”
I sighed, not in the mood for Simeon’s “you’re shutting me out” speech. “I’m sorry, okay. I’ll call you when I get there.”
I hung up with Simeon determined not to feel guilty. He had a way of doing that and I had enough to worry about with Michael.
As adults my brother became my protector. When Dexter Mobley, a former boyfriend decided to make me his hitting partner (with him getting all of the punches in) Michael gave him the spar of his life. And he never bothered me again.
Unable to contain it any longer I broke down as I entered Miami’s borders, contorting my face to a prune. In about 30 minutes I’d be confronted with my brother’s mortality and I couldn’t equate that with him if I tried.
Simeon called again but I let the phone ring. He’d get the message like he always did that I didn’t want to be bothered. It’s a wonder why he stayed with me. But there’s something he always said that resonated with me.
“You can’t stand to be loved, Marlene.” He’d frowned deeply forming a knot at the base of his temple. “It’s been three years and you still won’t let me in.”
As I sat in the parking lot of Miami Beach Hospital I admitted to myself that my brother was the only man I ever trusted because I could count on him to be there. But now what?
Feeling a surge of energy I descended the car and ran full speed into the hospital’s main entrance. Impatiently, I waited for security clearance than climbed the stairs to Michael’s floor. I met my mother at the waiting room looking tired and…content.
“What happened?” I asked while hugging her.
“What happen is that God answers prayer.” Mom grabbed my arm and pulled me into the hallway. “Come, Mimi. He wants see you.”
I gave my handsome and bandaged up brother a hug, this time crying from happiness.
“You didn’t think I was going anywhere did you?” He said with a smile.
I left my mother and brother in the room to call my husband.
“I’m glad you called,” he said. “I’m on my way to you now ’cause I hope you know that where you are is where I’ll be.”
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