August 10th is Atiyyah’s birthday. He would have been 9. Old Boy and I brought flowers to the cemetery for him. We shouted “Happy Birthday Atiyyah” as we drove out. While we were at the market buying the flowers, Old Boy happened to tell the florist that it was someone’s birthday today. She must have thought it odd that I shushed him. I felt bad doing it—I like to let Old Boy speak freely about his brother. It was more for the florist’s sake, to save her from that awful moment when the bouncy little 6 year old says the bright flowers he and his mom picked out with such care are actually going to be laid atop the grave of his dead brother. I’d rather she think I’m a jerk than ruin her day with thoughts of us spending ours in mourning.
But as time has passed, the days, even the birthdays, aren’t as sad. Sometimes the grief still swallows me, overpowers me, but today I just enjoyed the sunshine.
Still…I wish you were here, buddy. I miss your sweet face.