I slip on my running shoes,
lace them up tight.
Running each evening for exercise,
but not so on this night.
I received a call
from his lovely wife.
Seems he was distraught,
and had suddenly taken his life.
She told of me of things, awful things,
things I refused to hear,
About how I’d adversely affected
my friend so dear.
Several years ago
something had sparked our awful rage;
Something about nothing,
as I recall.
Neither of us acting our age.
Like children refusing to talk
or even acknowledging the other.
It was terrible behavior,
especially towards my younger brother.
I contemplate words
that I shouldn’t have spoken,
and more that I should.
I’d take them all back now
in a second, if only I could.
Feelings of horrible guilt
and frustration nibble at my soul.
I curse them for such small bites
preferring they’d devour me whole.
Ashamed to talk to my mother
attempting to explain not being there.
When they laid my brother in the earth,
I couldn’t make myself care.
Often I think perhaps I should join him
in the cold, damp dirt.
But I know that would put an undeserved end
to my deserving to hurt.
Pacing for hours,
perhaps I made a mistake coming here.
Always the nobler of us,
I heard his voice;
instilling in me great fear.
“My brother, why have you waited so long,
and why do you roam?”
I couldn’t answer his questions
just sat there caressing the stone.
I listened as he expressed himself
something quite extraordinary for me.
That night, my lovely brother’s words
forgave, comforted, and healed me.
After we had finished our conversation
I reluctantly turned to go home.
I looked back one last time at him
and the gift I had placed on his stone.
No bouquet of flowers
that gesture completely slipped my mind.
It was my deceitful running shoes
that I was gladly leaving behind.