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Remembering Tristan MAG
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
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.
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.