To know you is to love you.
I’ve walked in your shadow since I met you, partly in fact because your 6 foot something and you cast a wingspan like a fighter jet.
But you’ve helped me master my craft and keep my mind in the clouds. When the flight’s been turbulent you’ve kept my heart steady. When I almost crashed you’ve co-piloted. What a flight instructor!
Servicing my breakdowns, while working full time. Handling your business but finding time to be your brother’s keeper. When we pledged in college you literally gave me the shirt off your back.
My grandma told me if you have one real friend in your life you’re lucky. So, I latched on when you rolled the dice on me.
You became my best man the moment you showed me what one looked like. When people roasted me in public you fought for me. That meant a lot at the time because I was used to being bullied.
So when you fell asleep behind the wheel and totaled your car I took a taxi across LA county to be at your beck and call. I would have donated a kidney in a heartbeat if doctors ordered for a transplant.
I cried the whole way to the hospital; at the time I had never lost anyone and months into our friendship I learned you were the type of person who only came around once a lifetime.
I knew before you ever put your tassel on you’d make a great graduation speaker. Even in the days when public speaking was your Achilles heel, you had the kind of hand eye coordination to knock whatever curve ball life through at you out of the park.
So it doesn’t surprise me when you get flown out of the state to deliver speeches. How you peel back appendages to deliver anecdotes is something I’ve always admired.
So when your name comes up now I get possessive like any little brother would. And when my book came out and you said you were proud it was the equivalent of being on Oprah’s book club.
When I received my college degree you showed me love. When I got a criminal record you told me ‘nothing I could do would ever make you love me less.
Roll with me when I spaz out. Ride with me when I’m spectacular. You took me to church to let the water rinse my sins when I hit bottom. Cheered me on at my probate when I struck gold.
Watched our 20’s flash before our very eyes. Seen women we thought were the one settle with families. Buried loved ones prematurely.
We traveled the Underground Railroad to experience the footsteps to freedom our ancestors took together. Ran on the same ticket for president and vice president when we ruled Associated Students in college ago which feels like forever ago.
Went to Tijuana before we were twenty-one because we were teenagers gone wild. Did community service alongside Harry Belafonte in New York because we were a packaged deal.
Just talking about it is an adventure. My adrenaline has me feeling like a kid again. How you accept me for these character defects and allow me express my emotions without saying ‘no homo’ is all bueno.
How many times have you explained to someone that I’m different? How many times have you carried me up stairs when I was too inebriated or talked me off the ledge because I was seconds away from taking that jump?
You’ve seen me cry more that I’d like to admit. Hell, given me a shoulder to cry on. Watched these feelings run wild but never run away. Hate that I can’t be more masculine like you but love that you know how to deal with my feminine side.
In touch with my soul and you’ve played a part. A pair of men given up for dead by fathers than never acknowledged us as theirs. So we’ve had to grow up with abandonment issues and an inferior complex.
But it’s unfair to think I could have developed into the gentleman I am without you. Too scared to admit I’m nothing like my bravado, but how you kept your eye on the prize and your other out for me is worthy of a bravo.
You found me when I was at a crossroad. You put me on the right path. I would of dropped out of college if you hadn’t walked in.
I know a part of you died when your brother passed away but the only condolence I can offer is he couldn’t have been placed in better company when he alive.
I would have loved to press reset on this life of mine and go back and alter the chain of events but that would risk ever meeting you, and if one thing has gone right so far, it’s you.
From you couch surfing to your home warming, academic probation to masters degree, open mic to sold out coliseums, peach fuzz to beard gang, brotherhood into manhood, and every moment in between…
Archaeologists will discover you centuries from now but never dig up how much you meant to me.
To know you is to love you.
And I love you.