23yo Alex and her dying 17yo brother, Tyson at the baseball field.
There was no field, only a blanket of snow and a thousand memories dancing in her brother’s eyes. His smile—classically beautiful—was perfection. Absent their mother and sitting in the warmed car nestled to the chain-link fence, Alex and Tyson silently watched the numerous snowflakes falling fat from the sky to cover their world. There was no wind—no biting, bitter agony about the atmosphere. There was only a calming peace that nearly resembled acceptance.
Taking her brother’s hand, she squeezed it lightly. “Tyson Kade Ayers…you have no idea how proud I am to be your sister. You’re my everything.”
“You know…” His words all but trailed. “That statement might get us arrested. Incest…is…frowned upon.”
Chuckling, she kissed his cheek as his eyes remained fixed on the mound. “You were amazing out there, Ty.”
“Were? Let go of my hand, woman. I can go nine innings right now.” His sarcastic, raspy comments—soft and slow—had her teetering—her eyelids nearly spilling her emotions onto the somber scene. Completely aware that this very conversation would be ever etched on her memory all her days, she carefully contemplated her next words…before they left her mouth, a phone was vibrating.
Looking toward the gearshift, a 0000 flashed on the smartphone screen. “That’s my boss with my new schedule—”
“Alex…that’s my phone. That could be Dr. Jones.”
Reaching for the phone in frantic fashion, Alex pressed the green accept button. “Hello.”
“Is Tyson with you?”
“Yes, we’re at the baseball—”
“You’re in town, correct?”
“I need you to come to the hospital, now…nine one, one. It’s happening.”
The female physician’s words seemed more a cruel joke than a potential pardon.
“Alexandra! Tyson, to the hospital, now!”
“Holy shit! We’re on our way!”
Hanging up the phone, she looked to her brother, his skin was a ghostly, pale white—illuminated by the blinding snow behind his beautiful face.
“Alex…” His lip quivered—a sliver of hope cracked through his eyes.
Grabbing either side of his face, she pressed her grinning lips to his forehead. “We’ve got to go now, Baby-Ty.”
“Is this really happening, Alex? Is this…oh my God. Is this really happening?”
His smile—the smile one gives upon learning returning a death sentence might be an option, was beautifully crafted on him.
“Let’s go, Ty.”
“Wait! Alex…just…just wait.”
“Ty, we can’t.”
“What if it doesn’t work? What if…what if I don’t wake up?”
The fear in his eyes was acute—something dreadful only now realized.
“I’ve…I accepted it, Alex. I accepted I’m gonna die. But not today. I need my month…I need my weeks. They can’t…they can’t wave this in my face now…why now?”
“Tyson…I need you to look at me. I know you’re heart’s racing and you’ve got a million worries running through your beautiful head. This could be it, Baby-Ty. This could be your ticket to thirty. You’re talking about months and weeks when—”
“I don’t wanna die today, Alex.” His soft pitched proclamation coupled with the welling tears in his buzzing eyes sent Alex reaching for him. “I don’t wanna die…I don’t…I don’t wanna die.”
Hugging him, she eyed the oxygen tank in the floor board. She instantly replaced the idea of his wake with his return to the pitcher’s mound. “You have been so brave for so long…if you can just be brave today…and if you can’t it’s okay because I’m not going anywhere. No matter what happens I’m not going anywhere, Tyson.
“I’m so scared, Alex.” His fear shook through in their embrace—it seemed every ounce of her brother was saturated in an awful horror. “I can’t be brave, I can’t be strong anymore…” His words left him in a soft, nearly breathless cry.
“I can, Ty.” Pulling away slightly, she kissed his wet cheek. “We have to go.”