January 8, 2008:Today is my dead brother's birthday. My mom says we're not going to celebrate his birthday or commemorate him because it saddens her. She's sick of people dying. First, my dad gets run over by a car. Then, my brother gets killed in Iraq by friendly fire when he stopped to speak Farsi to Iranians at a checkpoint. My mom tells me to shut up about friendly fire and let my brother be remembered as a war hero. Let's make a cake for him and blow out the candles, I say. You just want cake. No, it's not the cake I like but the friendly fire of the candles, goading her. Julius, she spouts, you were once a popular boy, before you told people your brother was killed by his friend during an unnecessary killing spree. What do you have to go around ho-humming for that his friend went and shot him? I just want people to know my boy didn't die for nothing. That's all I'm asking. So you don't have to be saying that he got killed by his friend, because I want his Purple Heart to be worth something more than just its metal. I won't meddle with his medal, I say. Meddle shmeddle. We're still not having cake. She smiles, but her cadaverous face, decomposing before my eyes, falls flat. No cake, again.
Copyright, 2008, Jennifer Chesler, All Rights Reserved