On July 4th weekend two years ago I arrived back in California with my boyfriend Greg, who had packed me into his truck to carry me home after spending three weeks in Madison following my brother's death.
Today I had lunch on the porch at the farm, with my aunt and uncle and two friends, and I was staring absentmindedly at some laundry I had hanging to dry when I focused on a shirt that was just screen printed on the day we commemorated the two year mark of Brendan's death. It's a print of his face from a photo where he had aviator shades and a cigar in his mouth that was shaped into a cocky smile. He would have been laughing when the photo was taken.
The shirt was inside out blowing in the breeze. Two years ago I was in the cab of a Toyota Tacoma curled up on the passenger seat wearing my brother's sweatshirt that still smelled so much like him. I remember being hot and crying into it a lot and wanting to sleep and erase reality. Today was a gloriously beautiful day, hot and sunny but breezy; we drank some tumblers of cold dry rose with lunch, and I watched a shirt with my brothers face on it blow in the wind.
Today my brothers sweatshirt hangs from the back of a chair in my room and smells mostly like dust, but if you bury your face deep enough there's still a faint whiff of Brendan. I guess I should wash it when I pack to leave here in a few months, as it's hard to justify not washing it for even this long. I'll probably hang it on the porch to dry, as clothes dry so quickly in the dry heat we get here in the summer.