In the course of my daily bread earning, I spend much time on the road. I drive a lot. Probably a fourth of that time is spent behind the wheel of a not particularly large automobile. This lifestyle affords me much time to think. This in itself is not a bad thing, but it does lend itself to excessive time spent thinking of things I'd rather not think about.
I am somewhere in Missouri, and even though the sunlight has made the day much more bearable, I harbor this irrational dislike for the state. I cannot put my finger on the way of it, all I know is that my presence in this heartland state is cause for irritation. It is illogical, I know. I cannot explain it. I suppose it is no coincidence that Missouri is not far from misery in pronunciation.
I am driving in between assignments. Par for the course. This drive time affords me a lot of time for contemplation, which is a necessary part of the daily diet for an introvert like me. What makes this different on this particular day is the music I am listening to as I drive.
For the record (pun intended) I have a CD in the car stereo. An oldie and goodie, "Joe's Garage Acts I, II, and III" by Frank Zappa. I have to on CD, and on cassette. A relic from days long gone by. A relic of my brother.
My brother and I could almost sing the entire album from memory. We knew the lyrics. We could see past the surface of it all, the juvenile lyrics and the obsession with sex. We understood there was a deeper commentary going on, sometimes lost in the double entendres and clever words.
But that did not stop the cascades of memories. It did not hold back on the sadness and the pain I felt at rocketing down the highway and knowing there was no way to bring my brother back to this mortal coil. He has been gone over six years now, and the unreality of it all is persistent. He left us almost seven years ago, yet it seems sometimes that it happened just now.
What does it matter? you may ask. To that I say I don't know. Perhaps it does not matter to you. That would not surprise me nor would it pain me. All I know is that I am hurtling down the road and I miss my brother. He was a good man, in spite of the pain.
It occurs to me, in the watery sunlight of a Missouri afternoon, that I miss my brother. Terribly. He is the lost tribe, and I wander the forest in search of him.