A cousin of mine asked me around the beginning of December to contemplate and write about my older brother and what he might be like today. Scott died of leukemia in early 2001, and in the 16 years since I’ve thought about him every day. He was only 35.
Scott never saw a smart phone, smart tv, flat screen tv, or blu-ray player. Whenever a new piece of tech comes out, I think about him and what he’d think of the new gadget and how long it would be until he’d own it. Would he be in awe of it or would he face palm and tell me he could have come up with that himself? I think it would be both. Recently, his Denon turntable quit spinning, and if I know him, he’d have found a way to fix it. He loved his vinyl. Scott didn’t throw tech or parts away, he either fixed what was wrong or he repurposed it.
Scott never saw the Twin Towers fall. He was patriotic and pro-America and I don’t think that would have softened or waned over the years. I would give anything to know what he’d have thought of this past election. I think his answer would have surprised many, but probably not me.
If Scott was still here, I know he’d be full of wisdom and advice, but he’d still tease me mercilessly, because that’s what big brothers do. He wasn’t here to worry about me when I decided to ride out a very vicious hurricane, and I’m sure I would have heard some pretty stern advice about it. He wasn’t here to tell me it was going to be okay when I was diagnosed with breast cancer, and he wasn’t around to help me celebrate kicking its ass.
So much life has happened in the last 16 years, so much he has missed out on. His kids are all grown up and he’s about to become a grandfather to what I’m sure will still be a very spoiled and loved baby girl.
I try to tell his kids stories about him so they will know what their dad was like. Stories like how, after watching Saturday Night Fever, he started to style his hair like John Travolta, taking way too much time with the hair dryer and staring at himself in the mirror. He never met a mirror he didn’t like, and I have no doubts he’d still be a sharp dresser, always clean-shaven, with tailored shirts at the waist.
The power just went off, taking me completely out of the rhythm of writing. When Scott left us… that’s what this feels like. He lit up a room with his smile and his laugh, and when it was gone, it was dark for a long, long time. I was out of the rhythm of life for what seemed like an eternity.
I still see Scott in my mind, but as a young man. I’m having trouble seeing him as older, not because I lack imagination, but because he’d fight it every step of the way. He’d color his hair, secretly buying the Grecian Formula, he’d get to 201 pounds and still go on a diet, and if a doctor told him that he’d stay young and strong as a vegetarian, he might be like me – a special occasion carnivore. I doubt he’d need glasses yet, too.
“I keep warning you. Doors and corners, kid. That’s where they get you,” is a line from Abaddon’s Gate, a book series adapted into one of my favorite TV shows, The Expanse. Whenever I hear that line, I think of Scott. We both loved the Science Fiction genre, but it’s more than that. I see Scott in a lot of doors and corners. That’s how I know he’s always nearby. He would never let his baby sister stray too far from his view. I know he’d be all over FaceTime and Facebook and be all up in my business. Scott’s in all my doors and corners, so he still is all up in my business, just beyond the blurriest part of what I can see out of the corner of my eye.
Always in the doors and corners.