I can still remember that summer. It was a night in August, and for August it was chilly. The smell of stale liqour hung in the air which was already thick with smoke from cigarettes. I was eleven and my brother fifteen. He was my idol and let me tag along with him and his friends. I was naive, and at the time, thought it was because he generally wanted me to come along. The harsh reality is that I was his pawn, dragged along so that I wouldn't rat.
It was some stupid party and everyone was smoking and drinking. Some of them drank themselves sick. Normally this wasn't my brother's scene; he was there for her. He was like a lamb being led to the slaughter. A puppet. He would do anything to please her. I watched my brother change into a stranger before my eyes.
He went off with her and I followed. They started drinking, she looked over in my direction, and then told my brother to have me drink some. My brother laughed, handed me the bottle, and I took a sip. I remember it burning my throat and she laughed at me. But then you came into the room. You took the bottle from my hand and slapped my brother in the head, swearing under your breath. Took my hand and led me outside onto the porch. Away from the party, the noise, and whatever disaster I might have faced otherwise.
"What the hell are you doing here Az?"
"I dunno'," I shrugged, "he told me to come along."
"I don't know what he was thinking bringing you here! Is he out of his mind?"
"Do you think he loves her?"
"My brother. Do you think he loves her?"
"Hush you. Geeze, your drunk."
We sat down on the porch looking out at the midnight sky. You turned to me and laughed. I was feeling the effects of whatever it was I drank. I just wanted to lay down. Lay down and sleep. You took me in your arms and started humming. And I was just drifting off to the sound of your voice singing softly.
"Do you think he loves her?" I asked again.
"Of course he does, he kissed her didn't he?"
"That doesn't mean he has to love her."
"Yeah, your right. But I think he does. Wouldn't be at this stupid party if he didn't"
"I guess...You know, no one is ever going to love me."
"What? Cut that out babydoll. Why do you say that?
"Because it's true. I'm broken...I don't think I even have a heart. I can never be
"Nonsense. I love you."
"But thats different. Plus I don't think I could ever love someone back."
"You love me, don't you?"
"Yes, but..." And then you kissed me.
"There. Now stop worrying about it. Best not let this slip to your brother or I'm
dead. Best friend or not. Kay?"
I just nodded and then drifted off to sleep.
Funny, I think I may have loved you that summer. Maybe I was too young to understand what love was, but I think I loved you. Think you may have even loved me too. Not the same kind of love as you see with a couple or with soul mates, but I do believe it was love. Whatever it was, it was special. Special enough that I never forgot that summer. Never forgot you. Never forgot that feeling; that may or may not have been love.