Tonight, for the second time, I met a boy named Peter who is, my sister told me, Frankie's age.
No he's not, I argued, and she looked at me for a while and said nothing until I remembered that two years ago, Frankie was 25, and he would have been 27, which is what Peter is now. One forgets, you see.
He's deaf, like Frankie, but also sort of hearing, like Frankie. He speaks intelligibly, not really like Frankie though, because Frankie's speech was, without any sentimental memory attached, brilliant for someone who had less than 10% hearing.
In many ways, he is not like my brother was. He is black, and comfortable with people his own age, and aside from his deafness, he is just like you and me. Frankie wasn't, in very many ways, just like you and me.
Peter is tall, and wears checked shirts and khaki pants that remind me of Frankie's standard uniform. The look on his face as he reads lips is scalding in its familiarity. He signs, even from my untrained eye, alarmingly like my brother. When I turned to my fluent sister for confirmation, she pursed her lips and gave a tiny nod. It is in his stillness, though, that my heart thoroughly breaks, because all the things that are Peter don't cloud the very things that remind me of Frankie. His chin juts in the same fashion, and he tilts his head in much the same way. When he smiles his giant smile, it is all I can do not to rip at the air in front of me in heartbreak and frustration.
He knew him, of course. They'd gone to school together, and he'd come to the funeral, one of the hundreds of nameless, unfamiliar faces. My sister met him again for the first time not long after the funeral, when he started mentoring her class of deaf kids. Tonight, he was baptized into the Catholic faith, and he'd asked my sister to be his sponsor, his godmother. The honour is significant; the continued connections and commonalities are both salt and salve for our wounds.
It's not just me; I'm not completely crazy. My sister sees it and my brother-in-law see it, so there is no denying the similarities we don't have to point out to each other. Tomorrow, he will join my family for Easter, and it will be awkward, until my parents see it, and then I can't really imagine what will happen next.
I don't know. I don't know what it all means. Probably nothing. Praying helplessly for an Easter miracle means regressing in my grief, means becoming pathetically needy again, a state of being that becomes more irritating every day. One loses patience with oneself, eventually. Frankly - oh God, forgive the next sentence, because it really is the rancid cherry - frankly, this very entry is more indulgent than I've allowed myself of late, but Christ, maybe I'll be able to sleep after this.
I didn't know quite how to process this one, poppets. Best, maybe, just to keep flipping the pillow to the cool side, and wait for tomorrow to come.
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