At the end of Chaim Potok’s The Chosen Rueven watches Danny walk away,”…his metal shoes tapping against the sidewalk.” A relationship that begins with a baseball game, blossoms into an unparalleled brotherly love. Yesterday as Clemente, my brother-in-law, bared out his heavy heart one year after losing two brothers during a work accident I am arrested with a sense of fear. Fear of losing my own brother. Teary eyed, he speaks softly about how a day doesn’t pass that he does not light a candle for his brothers. He thinks about them every day. He remembers their niñes, childhood. Sliding down mud walls after heavy rains. The grounds where they used to race horses. The location where they died. The amount of community members gathered at their grave site. The bulk of coffee, bread, tequila, rice and sugar at their shrine. They were loved by the entire rancho.
Sitting down at my mother’s dinner table I pathetically try to comfort his brotherly pain, a pain resulting from an experience I have never known. I listen to the stories he has to tell, spellbound. I weep a little. My mom walks over to him, gives him a hug. Clemente tries to cover his tears. His words are full of compassion, utter longing and love. I am absorbed. Fear takes over my body once again. George, brother, you are one of the most important things in my life.