I don’t remember not knowing the Eugenides’ kids. Kallie and I would put on plays, pretend we were animals and prance around the yard naying and meowing while the boys, Zane and Brenner, our big brothers, would be off mischieving—developing some plan to steal our toy or separate us in the woods. But come dinner time we’d all hang out together, eat burgers, laugh, talk to our parents and then immediately get back to playing until two of us had to go home or we begged our parents to please let them stay over! We’ll be quiet tonight, we PROMISE!
Years passed. Kallie and I discovered boys, school and moving apart got in the way of backyard theater. Brenner and Zane learned guitar, Kallie and I started writing, painting, drawing… Summers in Connecticut continued, but Brenner drove and Kallie and I begged for rides—we slowly grew up.
Before I knew it 6 years had passed and I hadn’t talked to or seen Brenner. Him and I always had a lot in common, a love for NYC, music, art—crazy big curly hair. I was in the city and made my way to Brooklyn to see my old friend, have a slice of pizza and catch up. It was so cool to see a childhood friend as an adult, meet his band and see the tiny apartment they all lived in together. He was living the Brooklyn dream.
A year later I was back in the city for work and anxious to get a new tattoo—who better to ask then my tattoo’d friend Brenner. He gave me some suggestions via text and asked me where I was. I was in the middle of SoHo working—an hour later Brenner pushed through the tourist jungle to come hang with me while I worked. That’s the guy he had turned into, friendships are important and well, I don’t remember a time not knowing him and I guess he doesn’t remember a time not knowing me. Making the effort to come see me in one of the most annoying parts of the city was something a great friend does.
Zane and I talked and reminisced about Brenner the other night. We both decided we’re tired of crying and we think that if he can see us he’d probably laugh and say something like “Come on guys, get on, listen to some sweet music and enjoy. Stop your crying.”
Brenner died on Wednesday. And though I’m crying as I write this, I’m also talking to his sister and remembering all the stupid stuff we four used to do as kids. I’m remembering him for the kick ass soul he was and the cool person he became. Yes, I’m sad, yes I’m still going to cry about it but I’m also thinking about how damn lucky I am to have known him, to have had another big brother in my life. I can’t change what happened so I’m going to remember what we had—that can’t be taken away.