The love of a brother

On a long gone New Years Eve, we had a table in a crowded Legion barroom. The women were up dancing, and Mark had just returned with two bottles of beer. He set one down for me, but I said “No, man, I can’t. We’ve got an hour’s drive home in the snow.” Aw, c’mon, it’s New Years. I sat there in the awkwardness, as he finished one, then the other. “We’d better be going. I’m glad you’ll be at the motel.” As I went to get up, he touched my arm and said I love you. That was it. Two years later, almost to the day, I was at home on a wintry afternoon, when the phone rang in my kitchen. Yeah, well……it’s me. Yeah. I’ve got cancer. This is it .  And suddenly, my stomach hurt. My knees buckled, and I sank into a chair. I cried silently, my head on the table. “But I love you”, I said. But I love you.

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