They adore her.
From the moment we walked in the door, they simply wanted to be by her side.
“Can I sit next to her?” “You sat next to her last time!” “It’s my turn to sit next to her.”
I would round the corner into the game room and find them sitting on either side of her as they played video games and waited for turns. In the hotel room after some fun time in the pool, they cuddle against either side of her. As I lifted my camera to capture the moment, their grins simultaneously pierced my heart and overflowed it with love. The joy and happiness oozed out of the pierced heart-holes, filling up the rest of me for the moment, the present time being; I snapped another photo as they sat in the same places with the same smiles. I want to come back, to this place, when I need to remember.
The love that these two brothers have for a sister that lives hundreds of miles away will wreck you, will reaffirm your faith in humanity, will make you question right and wrong, will fill you with a thousand and one emotions. If you look too closely at the way one peeks out from underneath long eyelashes to watch her, as if willing his eyes to memorize the landscape of her face just in case he doesn’t see her for another year — or longer, your soul will slowly clamp down on itself for fear of melting into a puddle of both joy and sadness. When you leave the restaurant and watch the youngest one reach for her hand to walk through the parking lot, you will choke-cough on the feeling that doesn’t lend itself to one word.
And then, finding yourself lost in the silence after climbing in the car after hugs and goodbyes, if you look up into the rearview mirror, you will make eye contact with the two saddest faces in the history of saddest faces. Instead of making cheery small talk, you decide to let the silence play out; they will speak what they need to soon enough.
“When we get home, can I write her a letter?”
Oh sweet boy, yes.
I wish I could share pictures with you of our visit. The pictures themselves will make it into the 2014 volume of our 52 Weeks of Brotherhood books, as will these two photos from our time at the pool before they arrived. For now, read these words and know that two brothers miss their sister very much.