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Let Me Listen To Your Brain | IAmJoshBrown
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Let Me Listen To Your Brain

blinds

Let Me Listen To Your Brain

“Are you tired?”
“Yes.”
“Are you tired?”
“No.”
“Why not?”
“Because I’m not tired.”
“You’re yawning. You must be a little tired.”
“A little bit.”

It was dark in his room but there was a little light yet left outside trickling through the blinds. Just enough that he could make out the silhouette of his face smashed into the pillow as he laid on his side.

“Let me listen to your brain.”

Smiling, he asked, “Why would you do that?”

He got off his pillow and onto his knees and put his ear to his dad’s head. He was close enough that he could smell the chocolate milk on his breath.

“Yeah. You’re a little bit tired. I can hear your brain.”

It never ceased to amaze him how smart and observant and peculiar his child was.

“Lay back down. It’s way past your bedtime.”

The nights before he had to take him back were always the hardest and the longest. Part of him wanted to stay up all night with him so he could soak in every last second of it. The other part wanted to put him to bed as early and as quickly as possible so as to get back to the business of distracting himself from the pain.

Before they went to bed every night, he would lay with him on his pillow and recount the day. He’d ask him to tell him his favorite parts. What he liked the best. What he wanted to do tomorrow. What did he want to do different. What was he happy he did. What did he wish he did. Tonight he pulled out his phone and showed him pictures from the weekend.

The one with the sunglasses on and the funny face.

“I look like a cool dude.”

The one with the corn hole board.

“I’m not very good.”
“Yes you are. Your arms are small and you still got lots of points. You’re getting better and better every day just like with baseball.”

The one with him and his new baby brother at Taqueria Del Sol. The one where his arm reached out and touched his dad’s shoulder and he smiled because he wanted to and not because he had to.

“I like that picture.”
“I’m going to print it for you and send it to your mom’s house so you can put it in your bedroom by your bed and you can always look at it when you want to.”
“I’m going to tell my mom to go to Taqueria Del Sol and to get Josh and mom to take a picture so it can look like this.”

Fuck.

Is that a compliment that he wants to recreate this with his mom and her fiancé that liked NASCAR?

Or is he thinking something isn’t legit unless he does it with them?

Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.

“I think it’d be a good idea if you had this picture with me and your brother and one with your mom and Josh and one with whoever you want to have by your bed.”

Lies.

“Go to sleep dude. We have to get up early. I love you. You’re the bestest. Smartest. Fastest. Funniest. Sweetest. Strongest. Boy I know. And I love you because of all those things and I’d love if you if were none of those things.”

He grabbed his blanket and rolled over and when he did his elbow hit him on the bridge of his nose.

The tears as they always did started small. A single dramatic solitary tear always came first. It trickled out of his left eye and rolled heavy across his cheek bone, through his sideburns, underneath the lobe of his ear and towards his pillow. Like a thousand pound ball being forced downward when it didn’t want to.

The tear, it crept.

His heart, beat heavy.

It was always the same dilemma as before.

Suck it up and move on and block it out and don’t think about it and distract himself.

Or.

Fill like shit and force himself to think about everything.

Eleven more days until he saw him again. What would he say or do or think or be a part of in those eleven days that he was going to miss.

A laugh. A facial expression. A question. An answer. A hug.

It wasn’t fair.

He could see his breathing slowing as he drifted into sleep. His was growing faster.

Eleven more days.

Eleven more days.

Eleven more days.

It was dark now.