Phoenix

I’m sorry. For never believing I had shoulders broad enough to fit into that cape. Instead, I found a more fitting role as antagonist. I was never fully committed to you because you were only a half blood. And since I despised your father and you always talked about mine, we were born enemies. Children of the grave, how much time we spent biting each other’s heads and dismembering limbs because our family tree left us with splinters, we never found time to patch up those differences.

I was supposed to be the best friend you couldn’t get rid of, instead I was the first of a revolving door of men who walked away without looking back. I don’t recall sharing childhood memories or discussing grown up dreams. Just weekend custody visits where I returned back to my grandmother’s, hoarse from shouting at the top of my lungs how your birth certificate should of been an apology from the condom factory.

I spent my adolescence ripping into you like you were my adversary. When school mates asked if I had a sister, I denied your existence. When Christmas came, I was the coal in your stocking. When boys teased you about your appearance, I was a bystander. I wanted nothing to do with you because you were a reminder of my mother’s transgression. Felt like open season whenever you came in my peripheral. Quail hunting. You were an echo of what went wrong. A parrot in the oven. Apparently you joined the wrong flock. Threw off the formation. And I couldn’t let you off the hook, so your goose was cooked.

Years later I see the effect of my insubordination. I broke your wings at home before you ever left the nest. As an adult, I see you struggling to put food on the table and it eats at me. I hear the sound of rejection in your voice even when I accept your calls. You have your head down even when I open up my arms. There’s no richter scale to equal the damage caused by me turning your world upside down, but it had to of been amplified when your own parents abandoned you.

But here I am making up for lost time. Filling in the blanks. How we went from pen pals where you were in the armed forces to next of kin when I graduated college is a tale of two cities. I send your letters thru mail and make phone calls because I’d like to think my cadence is something you can’t hear in text and my cursive can make you feel as connected as my words are designed to be. Each time I offer you boy advice, deep down I’m crossing my fingers because I intend on staying true to my pinky swear of becoming the world’s best uncle alive.

Truth be told I never would of sought out my fraternity if I fulfilled my mission statement as an older sibling. If I could take a time machine back to the playground I would punch out every boy that declared you had cooties. Instead of you waiting at the bus stop, I would of pulled up in my broke down hooptie to scoop you up and skip homework to check out matinee movies. And on prom night, I would of given that overprotective speech to your underage date with my brass knuckles so he knew I meant business.

I see you reaching the end of your twenties with more questions than answers. I know I’m fashionably late. But thankfully there is no time limit on finding your soul mate. When you apologize for rambling, you better understand there’s nothing else more important I’d rather be doing than listening. When you complain about the things you don’t like about yourself, I hope I have enough brotherly love to drown out your insecurities. I been practicing walking in a straight line for years so I can make sure I don’t need too many rehearsals to walk you down the isle. I discovered so much inside of me that I’m finally following the clues of how to pour it all out. Thanks for your patience.

Look up in the sky. It’s not a plane. It’s not superman. It’s a phoenix. Renewed. Reborn. Restored from the ashes. From annihilation. Finally leading in a V-shaped pattern. Birds of a feather. Don’t mind us. We’re just tailgating.

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