how i found you


How I Found: Mark
March 7, 2009, 11:33 am
Filed under: my brother | Tags:

I could tell you more about how I lost Mark than how I found him, and therein lies the problem. For the last twenty years, I’ve been gathering pieces like a detective, constructing a collage of the boy.

I’ll tell you what I know. His name was Mark Eric Lozano. It’s possible that it was spelled Erick. I had a best friend in college named Eric, who I loved and still love, so I prefer to think of Mark’s middle name without the “k.” Like Eric’s.

When I was nine, or maybe eight or ten—I don’t recall—my mother married a man. He moved into our house—a house of three females—with his son, Mark. Mark moved through the rooms of our house, watched our TV, ate our food. He played soccer. He came and went. Mark befriended my sister, but did not befriend me—I was too young.

I have two brothers who are alive: Brian and Sean. They are my father’s children from another marriage, and live in California. I changed their diapers when I was young. Once, before being deployed to Iraq, Brian taught me how to shotgun a beer. We stood over the sink, giggling, as beer dribbled down my shirt and our father snored loudly on the couch a few feet away. I know these brothers only slightly better than I knew Mark.

I have lots of memories of my older sister and Mark together—the way they’d hover and commiserate and joke and scheme. I have only three memories of my brother with me.

1) That freakish snowstorm in ’86: my brother hurls a snowball—more ice than snow—at my face.
2) My brother calls me a puta. When I cry to Mom, he says he called me a “poobah.” It’s a lie.
3) My brother lets me into his room—an extension built into the garage—to listen to records. We don’t talk. We listen to the whole of Dark Side of the Moon without speaking. I think he might be drunk.

Mark played soccer in college. When I was sixteen, he broke his nose on the field and went to the doctor. A few months later—or was it a year?—he’s diagnosed with leukemia. In my mind the two events are linked, though that doesn’t quite make sense.

I spend most of that fall in various waiting rooms. Once I spend the night there, and go to school wearing yesterday’s wrinkled uniform. My family subsists off fast food—Luby’s and Church’s chicken—like modern-day nomads. By Christmas, Mark is gone.

But see—I’ve done it again. I’ve talked more about how I lost him than how I found him.

He came to live with us. He moved through the rooms of our home, surly and introverted. And then he was gone.

I can’t tell you how I found him, because I’m still looking for him.

I almost find him in other people’s brothers. I almost find him in men his age—he’d be 42 this year—and I wonder what and who he’d be now.

I meet, every so often, someone who reminds me of him, who possesses his awkward blend of shocking candidness and painful introversion. I’m drawn to people who are doors cracked slightly ajar. And I go to ridiculous, disparaging lengths to know and please them, then scold myself for it.

I almost find him in the ferocious love I have for my small, rotating cast of male friends, which my husband has never questioned; in the strained intimacy I have with two near-strangers, younger than me, in California; in the giddy comfort I feel just being in the presence of my husband’s brothers, sitting on the porch, drinking a beer.

I almost find Mark in dreams. He asks me questions about my life. Just last night he asked me what I do for a living now, and I told him, at length.

But when I ask him, he is as silent as always.

Jacquie Fuller

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1 Comment so far
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Hi Jacquie,
I’ve been frequenting the “brother section” waiting to see what someone writes…and there you are. It’s odd how when someone is suddenly gone the sum of the memories we have left just doesn’t come close to actually equating the feelings for we had for them. I, also, lost my brother (a few years ago) and I certainly haven’t found a way to write about it, nor have I found the palette of men to fulfill the role he played my life. However, this story made me a bit more hopeful. Sweet. Thanks for sharing.

Heather

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