You were hurt that I didn’t come home and I didn’t call. As I pushed my bike up the muddy yard under a yellow-green sky amidst thunder cracks and warm heavy rain, I already knew I messed up. Of course, you would be worried. It didn’t make much sense to explain why my friend and I were laying down in the wet grass with metal contraptions gawking at lightning in the distance. That is the kind of stupid thing people with a death wish do.
Once I made it inside, you said “She is making you one. We were worried.” My sister was at the kitchen table painting glue on the back of a paper snowflake, ready to adhere it to a cardboard box adorned with various other beautiful images clipped from magazines. She was on the verge of tears but also didn’t have much interest in what my excuse was for being absent.
She didn’t hear you. She didn’t see you. She just wanted to make something you would love. Sure, it was for me, but also it was for you. Most things are. I haven’t been much interested in making anything at all since you passed away. If you aren’t here to see it, it doesn’t matter. But lately, you are here, and you do see, in a sense. I wish we could glue paper on boxes together. I wish I showed more appreciation for your art. I am sorry I didn’t come home, sooner.