One Last Lesson

I couldn’t believe it, I read the letter again to make sure it was true. It again confirmed one of my greatest fears. My brother, Roger, had gone overseas 3 months ago to fight in the war. He was always courageous and after hours of convincing him not to leave, he was still content on going. It was the day after my 22nd birthday that he left. I was always cautious to get the mail because I was afraid of this letter, the letter that said that Roger had been killed. I live on campus at my college while enduring medical school, the only people I could tell were my roommates. The following hours were a sea of sad faces and ‘I’m so sorry’s. I visited my parents after school.

When I arrived at my parents’ house my sister and a couple of my cousins were there. They were all gathered in the living room taking their minds off the news by watching “I Love Lucy” on a T.V. from the ‘80s. I was greeted by a solemn, “Hello, John,” from my mother as I entered. My grandparents came in right behind me and it was agreed to enter the kitchen to have dinner. At dinner we began to plan a funeral, not much was said except for murmurs of a date for it and which cemetery it would be. It was decided the funeral was on Friday.

I went to the wake on Thursday and met some relatives I never knew I had. I began a long conversation with my uncle. “Hey, John, this must be tough for you, being so close to your brother and all,” said my Uncle Paul, stating the obvious. “So young, too, only 26,” he said, I was getting very annoyed.

“I guess so, any word on how he died?” I asked, the letter had been very vague.

“I was told it had been a bomb in one of the buildings,” my uncle said back. The rest of the conversation held no meaning to the tragic accident.

The day after I took the day off from college. The funeral ceremony was short and to the point. I read the inscription on the tombstone, “If strength is born from heartbreak then mountains I could move.” Roger learned this quote from his favorite song, Drones by Rise Against. He told me that whenever I felt bad and it always perked me up. The rain began to fall when I finally finished paying my respects and I walked back to the college. I kept on staring into the sky until the view was blocked by a sign that read, “Feeling dismal? Pepto Bismol!” I finally walked into a store as the rain really started to come down to buy an umbrella. As I walked inside I was confronted with a sign for the army. I finally lost it. The entire weight of the world finally came down and crushed me under it’s weight. I bought an umbrella and ran the rest of the way to my dorm room.

I prayed to god that no one was home to see me like this, luckily there wasn’t anyone there. As I lay in my bed I kept thinking of everything Roger told me. How every time I needed him he was there by my side, how his courage only seemed like stupidity to me, how I never told him how much I admired him. I fell asleep to the sound of “Hey, Jude” by The Beatles on the radio. When I woke up I realized something I should do. I learned that my whole life I was running away from fear. I never took any risk, never showed any courage or strength. I decided to join the army, not for vengeance, not for spite, but because I wanted to show respect and strength for my brother. I joined medical school to escape my fears.

I had finally gained strength and courage. This was the last lesson my brother could ever teach me.





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This article has 2 comments. Post your own now!

kiwi12 said...
Aug. 25, 2009 at 12:17 am
Amazing! hocus pocus is right, very moving indeed. Love it. This story is short and straight and perfect. Well done!
 
hocus pocus said...
Sept. 25, 2008 at 11:52 pm
Nice work!Very moving.
 
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