I don’t know how long it’s been since my brother’s gone. I don’t count the days. I don’t count the months. I was there when we went up that mountain, to lay him to rest, but it might as well happened in someone else’s lifetime.
I think of the little things he spent his time with. Little, insignificant things with little, insignificant people. I know what he would say. “I know what you think of them, but I love them.” He had too much love to give. An overabundance of love. Every little thing he vested in the most personal, sentimental significance, and that was what drew those tiny people like insects to him. Finally, there was a man who recognised their value! As little as it was! And he loved them… Weak, terrible, broken wastes of life who, though living, though breathing, though hurt, could never muster the strength to overcome their pain to wrest from living air the life they wanted to live. He was not like them. He survived, and thrived, and was even quite devious, as flat-stoned an idiot as he was, and could even be, in the best of circumstances, quite vicious. That was why Ansel loved him. That was why we all loved him.
But in the end he shrunk himself too close to the little people, knelt too far and brought himself down too low. I don’t blame them for wanting him to be closer. They were weak. Of course they wanted a big, strong man to shelter them. I blame him. He should have known better.
Years ago I would’ve cried—did cry when Ant tried to commit suicide. These days I would tell her, “You have to be stronger.” I would tell her that because that is the truth and because I know she is strong enough to do that. And she is.
He spent so much time with little people, some of them even quite kind, I must admit. Maybe they remember him fondly.
But to hell with their remembrances. To live on in memory is one thing, to live on in legacy is entirely different, and entirely useful.