Marcus. He was ten years older than I. He was the first to become frustrated with Mom’s niceness. She was too sweet for him, and his friends. She got very upset at who he was becoming, said it was immoral, but left him to ‘mess up his life and learn from it’, as she told me. He left when he was 17 and I was 7.
I remember the weeks prior to his leaving. He would come and go at all hours of the day or night. He looked more and more ragged, started smoking, wearing black t-shirts with neon paint. I thought he was the coolest person ever!
He would flip his lighter open and closed. That lighter, with it’s flame, entranced me. It was the pinnacle of his cool-ness. It was my inspiration. He left, and I started to play with fire.
There was an argument, he and my Dad. It woke me from my slumber. There was a cop car flashing red and blue in my window. I sneaked down the hall and spied my brother silently being cuffed and taken away. Mom cried.
I never saw him again, just heard he had gotten an apartment out west.