December 2, 2009
By , Fairbanks, AK
Even in the midst of a sea of people. One can still feel alone.

My window’s open and it’s early spring. I wake up to the sound of water dripping down the gutter from the snow melting. Not five seconds later and my alarm clock goes off. I lean over to turn the radio on. Music in the morning is a must have, especially when I’m getting on a plane in less then two hours. My room is burning up so I slide out of bed and grab for my backpack to pack my carry on. The only problem is my bag isn’t where I left it the night before.

Knowing exactly where it is and who has it, I storm into my brother’s room. Unfortunately John loves using my stuff without asking, especially my favorite backpack. Luckily, one of the best traits John has perfected over the years is guilt tripping people (especially me). Not caring enough to take it from him I grab another bag and leave after it’s packed. I was so mad I didn’t even bother to say goodbye to him.

My only concern at the moment was getting to the airport and leaving for my summer vacation on time. The same vacation I had taken since I was ten. Every summer I spend in Anchorage with my brother Peter and his wife Lisa. I baby sit my nephew Tyler and do other odd jobs. It’s the highlight of my whole year. This summer would be different though. I would never see my brother John again. Had I known that, I wouldn’t have gone to Anchorage. I would have stayed and spent my whole summer with him.
~ Six Months Earlier ~

John is the youngest boy in the family, not to mention he has my mom wrapped around his finger. Both of being the youngest out of seven kids, we both grew to have a very strong relationship. Unfortunately we’ve been on the rocks do to John ratting me out to my mom about something I wasn’t willing or ready to tell her yet. But karma came right back around and bit him in the butt because he was caught still smoking pot after he convinced both my mom and dad that he had stopped and was trying to become a better person. I knew better though and tried to tell my mom otherwise, but she would never listen to me until he confessed it himself.

He was all about proving himself. So he decided the best way to do that was to attend the Alaska Military Youth Academy. It was a five month self discipline camp that had a military structure. That was the loneliest five months of my life. Despite our rough patches, we were each other’s best friends and had always kept each other company. The day he graduated was the happiest day of my life! My favorite big brother was coming back home and things were going to be back to normal.

Unfortunately that’s not how things ended up. He came home for about six months and then decided to enlist in the marines. Everyone was so proud of him, even me. I was also heartbroken because I would have to say goodbye to my best friend once again. John knew me better then anyone and could tell I didn’t really want him to leave, so we made a deal to do something together every day up until the day he left. This was our best idea ever… until I started dating my first real boyfriend Steven. I was head over heals for that boy and the more I fell for him, the less time John and I spent with each other. I didn’t really realize it at the time because I was so happy and content with Steven. For the first time, no matter what happened with everyone else, I would always have him and never be alone. I had lost track of the days because of this and sometimes I even forgot John was leaving at all.

He never forgot though. Instead he had felt forgotten by me and started smoking pot again. That was something he had promised me he wouldn’t do again, but because I had forgotten about our deal, I guess he felt that he could forget too. The worst part was that I was so wrapped up in everything else with Steven that I couldn’t even tell, and as the months wound down he got worse.

The night of my birthday was when the truth came out about everything. Steven was getting sent back home to Alabama so I went over to his house for our birthday. When I had got home my mom was upstairs with my dad. I walked down stairs to my room, curled into a ball on my bed and just spent the whole night crying and thinking about how I was going to be alone soon. John must have heard me and came in my room. At the moment I knew. I knew that he was high but I didn’t care enough to say anything. He curled up beside me and just laid with me until I fell asleep.

That was the last good memory we shared together. The next morning I confronted John about his smoking problem, and he confronted me about what happened the night before at Steven’s house. I told him that he had to tell mom, and he needed help if he was still going to leave in a month for basics. Instead of going to mom about his problem and he decided to tell my secret. I felt so blindsided and hurt. My mom didn’t talk to me for a whole week. Every time she looked at me her eyes were filled with disgust and shame. I knew I had hurt and disappointed her. I wasn’t sorry for what happened though. I was more mad at John for taking advantage of me just to save himself. It was like we didn’t know each other anymore and that hurt the most.

The month before John left was the worse. Steven wound up staying, but we broke up and I was devastated. I had made him my whole world and didn’t know how to be on my own anymore. The tension between John and I grew. My mom found out about John’s addiction and now we were both a disappointment to her. My friends tried to be there for me as much as they could, but you can only do so much for a person in a high state of depression.

Eventually the day came for me to leave for summer vacation and John was leaving the next day for basics. I didn’t say good bye because I was mad at the time, but I regret that everyday because after basics he was sent to Iraq. He had tried so hard to prove to everyone that he was worth something more. That he had changed as a person, and he had. But we were so wrapped up in ourselves and didn’t see how lonely he really was before he left. That his loneliness was the reason he joined the marines.

During his first tour, my brother was killed in combat. I never got to say goodbye. It’s almost been a year and I feel more lonely without my best friend. I miss always having someone there to pick me up off the floor and point me back in the right direction. Someone I could go to for help and advice no matter the situation. I cried for months after he died. My bed was my home for almost two full months. No one could cheer me up. There were so many people, but to me I was all alone because the one person I wanted to be there the most was gone and wasn’t coming back.

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