Frozen in time, with a smile that pierces straight to my heart. The smile that says,"This is the real me. Don't you forget I loved you once."
That grin came less and less frequently as the chemicals coursed through him and pinned him to the bed; The bed which began as the throne for The Ultimate Commander of All That Exists in the Universe and ended as a prison for the shell of the soul of the most genuine Little League first baseman to ever step onto the field.
People used to ask me whether he was my"real" brother. I suppose it depends on what you define as "real". He listened in on my phone conversations, screamed in horror when he saw me without makeup, and threatened to beat up the first guy who ever made me cry even though he was 6 years younger and at least a foot shorter than the criminal in question.
We still have one last secret between us. Nobody else can see it but there will always be an empty seat in my heart waiting for him. Just like the one he should have been sitting in decked out in cap and gown with the rest of the Class of '98. Or in jeans and a tattered T-shirt in a creaking rowboat as the Automatic Worm Baiter. Or maybe, sitting tall and proud, in a rented black tuxedo for my wedding.
No one else can sit there; it has been saved.