His Brother's Eyes
by  Geraldine

 He stood before the cheval mirror in the hacienda's largest bedroom, trying to position the stickpin in the center of his cravat. Each attempt he made was more off the mark than the last. The waterfall of gray silk now resembled a crumpled neckerchief. One more attempt to capture the soft folds with the small gold pin proved to be successful. He gave a tug at his dark waistcoat, acknowledging that the years were catching up. He had put on some weight around his waist.  As his hands fell away from his body, his head raised to meet himself face to face in the long mirror.

Suddenly he didn't see the bedroom around him, nor his no-longer lean figure fancied up in a new tailor-made suit. He saw his own blue eyes staring back at him, timeless, still clear and bright after all these years. He saw past the fine wrinkles, past the crow's feet around his eyes from squinting against the sun, past the creases marking his features like a map on parchment. He saw beyond all that. He saw his brother's eyes. Blue eyes caught and suspended, undiminished by time. He saw them laughing, full of the joys of youth, but when he blinked, he saw them sad, full of pain and disillusionment,

It's been so long, brother. So very long.

For a moment he couldn't focus, couldn't see those blue eyes, he was so blinded by the rush of memories. The feeling of loss hit him hard. As hard as it had hit him ten years ago.


The things you've missed, brother. Seeing your children, and mine, mature and work the ranch. Watching everything around us grow in strength and size. The changes we've made, and all those things that have stayed the same through the generations.

And now you're missing my 25th wedding anniversary. Can you believe it's been 25 years we've been married? Sometimes it seems like just yesterday when you were standing there in the chapel as my best man. Our father was so proud to give her away to me. We seemed destined to tie the family together with marriage.

She knows when I miss you, when the emptiness becomes overwhelming. She comes up behind me, circles my chest with her arms, and reminds me of when I first met you. She lays her head against my neck, and tells the tale of how we arrived together on the stage, not even knowing we were brothers sharing the same ride.

She reminds me of how I couldn't believe you were my brother, how all I could see at first were all the differences between us; our upbringing, our attitudes, our appearances. It didn't take us long to get past all that, did it, brother?

She reminds me of the times you went to the rescue of someone in need, did everything in your power to save this ranch, and worked hard alongside me to make it all a success. How you butted heads with the old man, but finally came to a mid-ground. Well, he left this world soon after you. Seems like he never really got over your going.

But she doesn't really have to remind me of all those times you were there for me, and I for you. I recall just fine. Unquestioning, loyal, deeply bound.

Two things I know for sure; 'til my dying day I'll always regret that I wasn't there to save you from the senseless act of violence that took your life. And that I was  there for you, my brother, right up to your dying day.


He took one last look in the mirror, and smiled at his brother before turning to leave the room. He went downstairs to greet the three generations of his family, the mixture of light and dark heads, and his beautiful, generous wife. This was the end of one century and the start of a new one. He was glad he was here in the best place on earth, surrounded by those he loved.

The memory of his brother would live within him until they met each other face to face again.



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