I have a few, but I know one.
We grew together, regressed together, regretted together, grew together.
In my mind, I remember his small face and smaller body, his perfect chocolate curls and bright cinnamon eyes.
I remember all of the kindnesses, all of the ways he was so much like our mother. The beauty, the generosity, the charm.
His facial expressions. The sunny smile, too big for his face, splitting his narrow jawline, when you smiled at him. The surprised horror when I threw a piece of petrified pizza at his arm and it drew blood. His wet, sad eyes, so boylike, when he was afraid. When things were changing. When I changed.
I remember playing together, fighting together, play-fighting together, adventuring, reading, imagining, talking, eating, sneaking, lying, laughing, tickling, crying, hugging, dancing, living, breathing.
He was always there, across the room, swallowing air to burp louder than me. Across the school, waiting for me to walk by so he could run out to meet me and give me a quarter. Across the hall, playing video games at 3 AM.
Across the country, being someone I am so proud of.
But I am not looking at a little boy anymore, eating his Christmas dinner across the table from me. I am looking at a young man.
I smile. He smiles back. I understand. He understands.
Everything we do says “I love you”.