My Brother

Pamela Papp

© Copyright 2005 by Pamela Papp


 I had a brother seven years ago.  I guess I should say I have a brother, but he was killed seven years ago.  It seems as if it were a separate lifetime, maybe that's just how my mind allows my heart to deal with it.  Anyways, we were pretty close in age, only 18 months apart.  He was murdered when he was eighteen years old.  He had his whole life before him, and some crazy man with a horrible childhood decided to shoot him with a gun.  It's just like something you would see on the news, a grungy criminal that hasn't done enough to be locked up forever has gone off the deep end, and you shake your head and say, "That's horrible!  What a sicko!"  Only this time it was my little brother that was the victim.

     It seemed like life stopped when Ray disappeared.  Ray was my brother's name, an eighteen year old that was through his first semester of college to become a lawyer.  We have a tall Grandma Joy that used to call him Raybo.  He hated that.  I sat by him in his coffin and whispered, "Raybo".  Something inside of me hoped he would sit up and snap at me.  But he never did.  As if the world really needed another lawyer.  His stiff body smelled like manilla folders.  I thought of that image of him everytime I held a folder at work for years to come.  I never realized how awful they smelled.  It's been seven years, and I still think to pick up the telephone and call him.  Ray was killed on Christmas day, so every year I hang this silly ornament on this huge Christmas tree at the cemetary.  The lights sparkle and there are so many other ornaments hanging beside his.  I wonder if there's a Christmas tree for Jack, his murderer, in prison?  For Christmas this year my husband and I will have our first baby.  A little gift from my angel.

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