The Idea of an Essay, Volume 4

Narrative & Memoir 37 On Love Cat Clemons “I don’t know anymore. How are you?” He’s doing what he’s always done. Parry, block. My fingertips absently trace the yellow swirls that decorate the couch I’m sitting on, but my mind is racing. “I’m fine. Tired, I guess,” I say, anxious to get my brother back on topic. His voice is exhausted and despairing. I hesitate in pushing him any harder; his week was every bit as long as mine. Yet concern and curiosity drive me forward. “Andrew, what’s going on?” He sighs, his breath clogging up the speaker momentarily. “I don’t even know if Angie and I are still dating. In the past month, I’ve gotten three texts and two emails from her. We talked on the phone once, for half an hour.” I press the phone to my ear harder, as if in doing so, I will wring the answers to life from its cordless existence. “You haven’t talked to Angie on the phone in a month?” Some people have good families. I was blessed with a great family. In many ways, they have anchored me to the only normal parts of life I possess. They have surrounded me with love and smothered me with care—maybe too much at times. My siblings are the people I am closest to in this life. As the youngest, I was constantly in awe of everything they could do that I could not. It seems as if the first half of my life has been waiting until I was “old enough” to do what the big kids were doing—whether that was wandering out from our beach-house alone or playing in the cranberry bogs behind our little cottage. Andrew, my oldest brother, has always been a demi-god to me. He could do no wrong; bold, adventurous, always pushing the limits, daring. I was his faithful cohort, and he was the leader of every exploit embarked upon. Unlike many older brothers, he never pushed me away as the annoying youngest sibling that I’m sure I was. He always had a special task for me, some sort of job that no