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Remembering Tristan This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   I remember my brother Tristan

had a wolf mask.

Every so often he would hide

next to the china closet that held

the blue Waterford crystal

and wait.

Sometimes it was for hours, but he'd wait

until I walked by.



He never yelled, the mask itself was

enough to make me scream each time.

My parents learned to recognize those screams.

"The wolf-mask," they'd say.

His eyes twinkling with merriment, my father

would lecture Tristan not to scare me.

"I'm building her character," he always said.

My father thought he was funny.

I thought he was weird.



I remember one Sunday morning.

after church and mom's pancakes

Tristan and I climbed the hill behind our house

to the grove of apple trees.

We sat on their gnarled limbs eating the sweet apples,

the juice running down our hands, making them sticky.

"Life is funny," he said.

"You never know what's around the corner, destiny

or the wolf man."

It sounded strange, but Tristan was seven years older.

I believed he knew everything.

He did.



I Remember the day Tristan left.

That beautiful Saturday turned gray.

So old and wise he looked in his youth.

I begged him not to go for I knew he

would never come home.

I told him so, but he didn't listen.

"Take care of the mask till I return," was all he said.

He was so smart.

I thought he would know enough not to go to war.



I still have the mask.

The grayish-blue paint is brittle,

the stringy hair, fragile and almost gone.

Perhaps I still have it, carefully folded,

half expecting him to return.

Maybe I want to remember

the pancakes, the apples,

and everything my brother said and did.

But I think it was to help me remember

how much he taught me.

For each time he wore that horrid mask

he was teaching me the importance of

expecting the unexpected.




This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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