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Walking on Water

By , Wright City, MO
I thought my brother was perfect. He was so good at everything. Whether it was sports, school work, or just making people proud, it didn’t matter. Sometimes I thought if he tried, he could walk on water.

In the summer, we would sit outside, just the two of us, watching the stars and talking. We spoke of everything, using our hands for emphasis. There was no one I trusted more than Travis.

Every once in a while I could see it. There were cracks in his flawless exterior. With everything I told him, Travis confided in me too.

He wouldn’t have had to say anything at all. I knew he wanted to fit in with everybody and be perfect. More than anything, he wanted a girl to love him.

I don’t know why, but Travis always chose the girls that were like cancer—slowly killing him from the inside out. The first was his boss’s daughter, who was just a year older than me, making her three years below Travis’ sixteen.

Their relationship ended and Travis moved on. He graduated eleventh in his class, surrounded by people who loved him.

Then came college. Travis was accepted to Lindenwold University, a small but wonderful school. It looked like he was doing great, transferring seven his job down that way. After my first day of high-school, he e-mailed me, wanting to know everything. All seemed well, perfect even. Again, he was walking on water.

One day, Travis was waiting to pick me and my younger sister Jenny up from school. Once we got home, he said he wanted to speak with me. We went back to my bedroom, where he started to tell me how he met a girl. They had been together, and then she went back to her old boyfriend.

I knew then she was bad news. Who would give up a guy like Travis to go back to a dead beat who worked third shift at White Castle?

He said he loved her so much it hurt. He told me how they talked about everything. She loved Harry Potter. She worked in the same store as him. She was still a senior though she was nineteen.

When Travis finally brought Heather home, I was ready to be accepting. But she was quiet, too quiet for even a shy person. She said two words the whole night.

Things got worse and worse, spiraling out of control. Travis didn’t want to be around us anymore. It was all about Heather and her family.

After her aunt kicked her out, my parents offered to let Heather come and live with us as long as there were some ground rules (My whole family is Lutheran). She said she needed to think about it.

One night, Travis didn’t come home until four in the morning. He had never had a curfew, but that was just unacceptable.

It all blew up then. My parents were furious, which they had a right to be. Travis yelled right back at them, even threatened to move out.

He did move out. A few weeks later he left, leaving my family broken, uncompleted, and empty. Since July third, we haven’t spoken to him.

I don’t understand how men will let women control them like that. Heather monitors everything—email, his Facebook, even his phone.

Last we heard, from a letter to my grandparents and from other sources, he was living in HUD housing in another town and Heather was pregnant. He is no longer in college, losing fifteen thousand dollars worth of scholarships.

I learned from my brother that the people you look up to are not made of steel like we want to believe. They bend and break until there is nothing left.

And yet I haven’t lost my faith in people. Mistakes on behalf of my brother did not make me lose hope that one day he will come back. I know that he knows better and someday, though it may be twenty years from now, when he’s ready, he’ll come back to my family.





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