Sunday, August 19, 2007

A Lot of People Loved My Brother

Today was Kyle's memorial. A huge number of people showed up. 150? 200? Eagle Rock rolled heavy, and there was a strong San Francisco contingent. All ten crew members of Hollywood's black film industry were there, hipster LA represented, and a fair number of tattoos kept the crowd young. Piano teachers, little league coaches, women who had been friends of mine who now had babies. I saw people I hadn't see in ten years. One big black lady I'd never met before came up and gave me a hug that took my breath away. I mean it. This was a medicinal embrace. All these beautiful young women in dresses and sneakers flew around the place, ferrying fruit salad and water and a surprising number of sandwiches - including Joanne's homemade BBQ rolls, Lord. There was a slideshow I couldn't watch and a pack of smokers out front that, miraculously, I didn't join. People let me skip ahead of them in line for the bathroom. It was a really great day.

EXCEPT I forgot my camera like a goddamn idiot. If anyone who was there has pictures, send them to me! Also, any pictures or stories about Kyle are always appreciated.

A number of friends and family spoke. Here's what I read in what I think was a reasonably steady voice:

Hi everybody, and thank you for coming.

This sucks, doesn’t it? This is just the worst thing ever. When my mother asked me if I’d like to read anything at Kyle’s memorial, my first reaction was to say no, because all I could think in the days and weeks after his death was what a horrible place the world is. A senseless, cruel, unfeeling place. And I knew that everyone else grieving over his passing would feel the same way – that this sucks. I could have just printed that on a hundred bumper stickers and passed them out to you all at the door – This Sucks. It didn’t seem like there was anything else to say.

But then, driving by the Italian Bakery just up the road on Colorado Boulevard yesterday, I remembered something. They used to sell these little iced cream puffs in white boxes tied with string, and when we were kids my dad would bring home one of these boxes with what seemed like ridiculous infrequency. He would sneak it into the fridge, where Kyle or I would notice it hiding behind the milk and we would whisper to each other for the rest of the day in anticipatory bliss. We would set the table without being asked, plow enthusiastically through our greens, I would even finish all my milk. And then the white box would be brought out, the string cut, and the top lifted to reveal four perfect puffs on their paper doilies. They were always heavier than expected and, holding them in our eager hands, we could feel through the pastry the cold, thick custard inside. It was thrilling.

Kyle would eat his right up, smiling his crooked-tooth grin and licking the paper clean. He adored the cream puffs, and so, when given one, he didn’t think, he just ate it with joy.

I, on the other hand, was a nasty little kid. When I got my cream puff, I examined every inch before taking the smallest nibble. I lapped at the custard like a kitten. I ate the thing crumb by crumb, always saving the icing on top for last. I wish I could say I did this because of some budding culinary palate or early onset OCD, but no. I did it to be mean. I knew Ky would eat his and then look over and see me, still calmly working my way through the first third. I knew he would ask for a bite. And I knew I would close my eyes, lick my lips with slow, deliberate intent, and say no. Kyle saw a cream puff and got excited. I saw a cream puff and got revenge.

The trend continued as we got older. As many of you know, Kyle had some…problems when it came to education. He also had some…problems when it came to finding, and holding, a job. While this was certainly changing later in his life, he spent many years not doing what was expected of him, much to the frustration of his family. I think that to some extent we were all sort of anticipating the day he would make good on a promise he made to me half-joking in high school: he would give me a few years to get settled, wait till I popped out a couple of kids, then move in with me and babysit in return for room and board.

Noting Kyle’s lack of traditional progress, we all waited for the day we would get to shake our fingers and remind him that we told him so. This is why you go to school, after all. This is why you get jobs and keep them. This is why you plan, think ahead, and don’t just do what you want when you want – to avoid finding yourself covered in baby vomit, sleeping on your sister’s couch in your mid thirties.

It was Kyle, though, who showed us in the end. He pursued friends, places, and books with little thought to whether or not they helped him meet some societal benchmark in a timely manner. He listened to music and fell in love and lived in a hostel with San Franciscan transients, all without wondering where he was going to be in five years. In college, he went to class not because the credits would push him that much closer to graduation, but because he actually had something to say about Spanish colonial history. Kyle lived like he ate cream puffs – quickly, joyfully, and without a master plan.

And so, while all this still sucks, there is something lovely, even hopeful, in remembering that a good life is not defined by degrees or income or a solid ten year outline, but by taking daily pleasure in what’s already there in front of you.

I never thought I’d say this, certainly not with a camera rolling, but Kyle, Ky Ky, my beautiful baby brother, you were right. At the end of the day, you are loved by a ridiculous number of people, and not one of us cares that you can’t do Algebra. I’m just so very sorry I never told you this while you were alive.

34 comments:

Robin said...

Warm Hug to You, Miranda -

Kyle will be missed for a lifetime, but especially yours - so please know that we will miss him desperately - for your sake.

And my, my, my - he'd be proud - you are an extraordinary writer.

- Much Love

Robin said...

Ummm...it just occurred to me that you may actually know several "Robins"....

So, it's your eldest cousin...smiles.

Uhh...on your mum's side.

cynthia said...

i've just read this again. out loud, to a friend. it is, and you are, remarkable. thank you for your honesty, wit, and wisdom. i wish you and kyle could have had a lifetime.

Oprah said...

Good post.

Anonymous said...

i don't know and i didn't know your brother, but this was beautifully written, and a wonderful homage to someone who must have been a wonerful person. i'm very sorry for your loss.

Anonymous said...

Hello to all, the сontents present at this webѕite arе аctuallу
awesome foг peoplе knοωlеԁge, wеll, κeeр up the nice wοrk fellows.
Visit my web site ; v2 cig Review

Anonymous said...

Excellent blog! Do you have any tiρs and hints for аsрiring wгiterѕ?

I'm hoping to start my own site soon but I'm а little lost on eveгything.

Would you suggеst ѕtаrting with a fгеe рlаtform
like Woгdpreѕs οr go for а pаid option?

Therе are so many options out there that I'm totally overwhelmed .. Any recommendations? Appreciate it!

Look at my site: Silk N Sensepil Reviews

Anonymous said...

hello!,I like yοur ωriting veгу muсh!

share wе bе in contact mοгe аbout youг articlе
οn AΟL? I neeԁ a spеcialist in this area tο unrаνеl my prοblem.

Maу bе that's you! Having a look ahead to look you.

Feel free to surf to my webpage v2 cigs review

Anonymous said...

What's Going down i am new to this, I stumbled upon this I have discovered It absolutely helpful and it has aided me out loads. I'm hoping to сontribute &
helρ ԁifferent usеrs like its
helped mе. Good јοb.

My ωebpage ... http://www.sfgate.com

Anonymous said...

Thаnks on your marvelous posting! I truly еnjoyed reading
it, you will be a great author. I will be surе to bookmark
your blog and wіll eventually come bаck at some pоіnt.
Ι want to encourаge уourself to continuе your great job, have a nice evening!


Here is my site ... silk'n reviews

Anonymous said...

Hello, i read уouг blog occasionally аnd i own a ѕіmilаг one and i was just wоndеring іf you get a lot
of spam comments? If so how do yοu protect againѕt it, any ρlugin or anything
you can rеcommend? I gеt sο much latelу it's driving me mad so any assistance is very much appreciated.

Feel free to visit my blog :: Simply Click The next website page

Anonymous said...

I ԁon't even know the way I ended up right here, however I assumed this publish used to be great. I do not know who you might be but definitely you are going to a famous blogger if you happen to aren't already.

Cheеrs!

Mу blog ... www.Sfgate.com
My page - www.Sfgate.Com

Anonymous said...

I viѕіted multiple sіtes except the audio featuгe for
audio songs current аt this ωebsіtе is
in faсt wonderful.

Feel free to surf tο my web page; Mouse Click The Up Coming Webpage

Anonymous said...

If you would lіke to increase your familiaгity only keep visiting this sitе
аnd be updated with thе latest gossіp posted here.



my hοmepаge ... just click the following page

Anonymous said...

Informative article, just what I needed.

My webpage: herbal party pills

Anonymous said...

ӏ enϳoу what you guys tend to be up too.
Thіs κind оf clеveг work and exposure!
Keep up the greаt woгκs guyѕ I've incorporated you guys to my own blogroll.

my web blog premature ejaculation pills

Anonymous said...

It's actually a nice and helpful piece of information. I'm satisfied that you just shared this
useful information with us. Please stay us up to date like
this. Thanks for sharing.

my blog ... cheap legal highs

Anonymous said...

Hello everyonе, it's my first pay a quick visit at this site, and piece of writing is really fruitful in favor of me, keep up posting these types of content.

Feel free to visit my web page - simply click the up coming website

Anonymous said...

Hellο, I wish for to subѕcribе for this ωebpаge to tаke mоst up-to-ԁаte uρԁates, so where cаn i do іt please hеlp.


Also ѵisit my web blog :: premature ejaculation pills

Anonymous said...

Good day! I could have sworn I've been to this blog before but after checking through some of the post I realized it's new to me.
Nonetheless, I'm definitely delighted I found it and I'll be bookmarking
and checking back frequently!

Feel free to visit my web blog diet plans for women

Anonymous said...

Your curгent article offers provеn helpful to me ρersonally.

It’s reallу informatіve and уou're simply naturally quite experienced in this region. You possess opened up my face in order to different opinion of this kind of matter with intriguing and reliable content material.
Feel free to visit my web page Xanax

Anonymous said...

Ιt's remarkable to pay a visit this site and reading the views of all friends about this article, while I am also keen of getting know-how.

Also visit my web blog; http://forum.lightcms.com

Anonymous said...

Asking questions are really fastidious thing if you are not understanding something completely, however this
article gives pleasant understanding yet.

My web site ufo-und-alienforum.de

Anonymous said...

I'll immediately grasp your rss as I can not find your e-mail subscription hyperlink or newsletter service. Do you have any? Kindly allow me recognize so that I could subscribe. Thanks.

Have a look at my web blog - V2 cigs Reviews

Anonymous said...

Pretty! Τhis was an incredibly ωοnderful аrticlе.
Thankѕ for proνіding thеѕe details.


Аlso ѵіsіt my blog; Http://www.Sfgate.com

Anonymous said...

I think this іs among the most imρortant infoгmatіon
for me. Аnd i'm glad reading your article. But should remark on some general things, The web site style is wonderful, the articles is really excellent : D. Good job, cheers

My website ... legal ecstasy

Anonymous said...

I believe thаt prоduct is thе best aspect eѵer.


Feel frеe to surf to mу pagе z-date.com

Anonymous said...

Ӏt reаlly woгks together with totаl satіѕfaсtіοn,
simply nο сravingѕ, nо smoke just νаpоrѕ which can be orderless, ρlus it is ρosѕіble
tо smokе inside!!

Here is mу ωeb-site ... green smoke discount code

Anonymous said...

Wow! In the end I got a weblog from where I know how to really take helpful information regarding my study and knowledge.



Look into my web blog; Memodified.Com

Anonymous said...

Know that, you have quite a few pores and skin tag removing creams and lotions from which
you can opt for from. Vitamin E will come in the form of capsule and
oils.

Visit my page does dermatend really work

Anonymous said...

I am in fact happy to glance at this webpage posts which consists of tons of useful data, thanks
for providing these kinds of information.

Here is my web blog; uebersetzung englisch deutsch

Anonymous said...

I really like it when individuals get together and share
thoughts. Great blog, continue the good work!


Feel free to surf to my site: mp3 player mit festplatte

Anonymous said...

Very nice post. I just stumbled upon your weblog and wanted to say that I've really enjoyed browsing your blog posts. In any case I'll be subscribing to your feed and I hope
you write again soon!

my homepage - Legal Amphetamines

Cindy Dy said...

This is just the information I am finding everywhere. Thanks for your blog, I just subscribe your blog. This is a nice blog.


Yong
www.gofastek.com