Michael should be 50 today. I should be giving him shit about AARP.
He didn’t quite make it, 47. Brain tumor, angry and aggressive and an appetite to die for. But at least twice a week, I want to call him, to chat documentaries or The Simpsons or The Braves or how much worse the third Mad Max was than the previous (man, he hated that flick; I thought would have an aneurysm as he fumed walking out).
Fragments of these things are still here, dude. But None holds meaning without You. Damn I miss you. I shouldn’t be here instead of you (though you would have insisted it so).
There was this talk we had once, about a year before he died. We were talking theaters (we met at one, went to hundreds), and how they had advanced since our days working box office, with newfangled seats that reclined and with the date-friendly armrests that lift. “You know what I want?” Michael, who never had a real girlfriend, once confessed. “To go to a movie and put the armrest up.”
I recently found the last note I wrote to him. He couldn’t read it, so I don’t know if he ever heard the words. But here’s another missive in the ether for you, just in case the afterworld has wifi:
From: sb <email@example.com>
Subject: Michael Tyrone Bowles and Guy Scott Ingram
Date: November 12, 2012 9:03:42 PM EST
Do you remember when we first met, at Lenox Mall, working the theater? Remember how you’d knock on the counter when a cute girl was in line to buy a ticket, and how you’d pretend to drop money to make me wait on the Orca so you’d get to wait on the hottie?
Or how, when you moved to DC, the vagrants clung to you like orphans? That hobo who sat next to you on the bus and ate that clove of garlic like it was an apple? That homeless woman who’d bring you bags of canned beets?
I think about those things all the time. I think about you all the time.
You will always be my brother, the one I never had until we met. I hear your laugh when I watch The Simpsons, hear our zombie debates after watching The Walking Dead, or hear our humorous disbelief about those Southern Republicans who made the news again. I miss every word. I miss you.
But you will never leave me, Michael. You are as much a part of me as my heart is a part of me. Perhaps because you’re the better half of it.
You were always right. We are peas in a pod. And that will let that change.
Good night, my only brother.
Recently, I was channel flipping and saw another clip for the new Mad Max movie. I may go check it out.
If I do, I’ll remember to put the arm up.
(our favorite clips, when Homer was going broke on the swear jar):