I worry I've forgotten what's important about my brother, what's not. I recall looks, images, arguments. There was the time Carter punched me when I was an infant. The time in high school when he screamed at me, "You're not my fucking father!" and stormed out of my room. The day I scrawled, "I HATE HIM!" in a diary.
"Were you close?" Inevitably I get that question. Sometimes it's right after a person finds out about my brother's death; sometimes it's only after a few weeks of their knowing me. Were we close? Not so close that I knew he was going to kill himself. Not so close that I understood why he did.
I knew his laugh, his smell. I knew the sound he made when he walked through our front door, the jingle of his keys, the particular way his shoes scraped on the floor. We didn't talk, however. I didn't ask him deep, probing questions. Do any brothers do that sort of thing? I knew what I observed, I knew his surface, but clearly that was not enough.
I still dream about him, and in my sleep he seems so real. They're not happy dreams, however, because I know he's going to kill himself, and there's nothing I can do to stop him. I wake up believing for a moment he's alive. I wake up filled with dread.
I found a Polaroid of my mom, Carter and me celebrating his birthday. It was the first one after my father's death. The cake is small and has twelve white candles almost a foot and a half in length. Carter bends sideways in a half hug with our mom. She's smiling, and I'm next to her. I find these photos from time to time--frozen moments, I can't remember. Every time I do, the violence of Carter's death shocks me again. I keep the pictures, as well as his scribbled notes and magazines--the things I found in his apartment. I tell myself that one day I'll go through them and perhaps discover some clue that will help me understand, help me answer the question: Were we close?引自第188页