The 12th of October 1982 – Kingsbury, New York

(found under a rock somewhere in the woods somewhere)

Dear Reggie,

I’ve always looked up to you. You know that.

I’ve spent my life looking up to you, fighting against your shadow. Even when it seemed as if I were towering over you, I was always looking up to you.

You handle things so well. I think you know that. You’re always so steady and calm, steady and secure. I’m fascinated by that.

Here I am on my deathbed, waiting for these last few breaths to pass through me. Here I am, after living a life of always going places, always moving. I’m exhausted by it.

You were always so steady, and I was always so insecure. I’m pretty sure you know that.

Reggie, you were always the older one. What a stupid thing to say. I mean, once you were the older one, that’s how it was going to be forever. But because of that, you had to stick around, take over the farm, start a family, raise kids and carry on the last name.

Sometimes I’m ashamed to look back on our childhood and see what you had to do and what I was able to do.

I always wanted to travel. I always wanted to share and enjoy. So I did.

But wherever I went, I felt this fog around me. It was this fear, a fog of fear, and it was always thick enough for me to just about choke on it. It nagged me and nagged me, a fear of stagnancy, a fear of the mediocre. I always kept moving just to keep that fog from getting too thick.

And maybe it paid off. I mean, I went places Reggie. I met wonderful, beautiful people from all over the world. I won acclaim and renown and respect from nearly everyone I met. But I was never certain of it. I don’t think you know that, Reggie. I was never certain.

I still had that fog chasing me, whispering about failure and mediocrity, reminding me of you, grinding through life with a wife and kids and a farm to run. And after every trip, I’d come visit with some souvenirs for you and Helen and Robby and Susan. After every trip, I’d come visit, and you’d always be smiling. You were always happy, at least it seemed. You were so happy and stable and secure. I was always moving, trying to get out of this fog. I was always uncertain.

What I really mean to ask is this.

Do you think I’m any good?

Sincerely,

Heath

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