We went through some crazy shit growing up, half of it we got ourselves into, half of it we didn’t have a choice. I look back and I honestly wonder how we both survived – especially after you set my leg on fire at that party, and also stabbed me with the fork when we were 7-9 camping… and when you poured 1kg of ground coffee on me when I was 3 years old… you asshole.
It is never easy seeing someone in your family come to harm. I have the hardest time explaining it to people when they ask me where you are, or why you haven’t replied to them in almost a month. I know you never read my writing anyway, brother; but if you ever catch yourself changing your ways and taking the time to read this, know that I love you and I am always here.
I wrote a poem about us growing up when I found out what had happened. When I spoke to mum on the phone, I didn’t know what to say and to tell the truth because I was angry at everyone involved and besides that, I didn’t know how to react at the time (I was busy moving internationally… not a great excuse I am sorry). I remember the phone conversation we had before everything went haywire on you. I am sorry I wasn’t there more; and in my few moments that I keep to be alone before I fall asleep, I think about you and hope you’re getting better. I am not writing this for people who follow me now, I am not writing it for the attention it may bring; I simply don’t know where else to put it and the only way I relate to this existence is by painstakingly creatively expressing myself now. They say “a photo speaks a thousand words” but I have more than a thousand for you. I know you looked up to me because I always had people around me in the blur of our lives growing up, and maybe because of that, I seemed happier in your eyes – even though I was not – or possibly even more successful? or maybe even popular? or some stupid ideal society thinks matters even when it really doesn’t? I am unsure why, but I knew you did even though you never admitted it.
It may have seemed like I was the one leading the way at the time, even though I was copying you. We had a great time together when we both got out of our old neighbourhood – like when we would joke that I was the bigger younger brother, when we used to walk early in the morning through the city streets to get a coffee before everyone else woke up, way back when you had that semi-decent apartment in the middle of the city, with that weird trash pit that leads to the skylight – the one with the elevator that smelt like Asian food and alcohol. I remember when we used to go out for drinks with the girls, we would stand to face the corner of the elevator, and when strangers would walk in, we would proceed to make loud/uncomfortable noises that were similar to a dog howling at someone playing the clarinet. They would look so concerned at us, as if we were crazy at the time – because we were and still are I presume – those were good times, I always look back at those times as some of the best parts of my life mainly because I felt awesome that YOU, wanted to spend time with ME.
The point I am trying to make is – I was the one who looked up to YOU, not the other way around. Even if you were not always as successful as I was at the time with your endeavours, you never gave up on our friendship or on me – even when we stopped hanging out with everyone, even when I stopped drinking and partying, even when we would disagree or I would tell your girlfriend to shut up for being rude… you never gave up on me and that’s why I never gave up in life. I miss you man, that’s all I have to say.
I know people will read this and not understand, that is okay – today it is not about me or them or fame, it is simply about that fact I don’t know how else to tell you that I appreciated you even when you didn’t appreciate yourself. I always had your back and if I was there those nights it would’ve been different and I am sorry for not being there for you when you needed me. I am sorry I left and I know it made you feel so alone because I too felt alone leaving you behind. I used to tell myself that the next time I saw you we’d get a beer and laugh about it, maybe even have our lives finally sorted out, maybe have girlfriends who got along, maybe have good friends who were there for you and I, maybe our families would be happy and safe, that you and I could sit together as men of men, who lived for themselves and the ones they loved just as a man should.
Don’t forget: we both knew you were a better man than I was, and because of that, that is the only reason I am the man I am today.
Thank you brother.
“THICK AS THIEVES”
thick as thieves,
quick as light,
through the darkness
and the night;
while water runs,
brothers never leave
– a poem by Oscar J. Wood to his brother Max Mackenzie Marmo
Accompanied by a few photos from Amsterdam, I hope you enjoy the photos too!
links to past post.