In memory of my brother. Another birthday in which there is no cake.
The boy in the photo above is my brother Tom. My mother named him Thomas, but we all called him Tommy. At seventeen he dubbed himself Tomas (pronounced toe-mas, accent on the second syllable). He took to wearing sunglasses and being quietly mysterious. It was the first of many personas he would try on for size while looking for how he fit in the world.
It wasn’t easy for him, figuring it out. He had a handicap from the start: Youngest of seven; born colicky, and needing a lot of soothing in a busy, boisterous family. He was often lost in the fray.
At two he fell through the heating vent in the bedroom floor, bumped accidentally by another brother as they jumped on my parents’ bed. He landed in the dining room below, barely missing the table. Astonishingly, other than…
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