The Compass

My sister-in-law sent me a box of my brother’s things. She included his watch, his camera and his compass. He kept in its original box including the instruction booklet. The compass was from his back packing days. At the beginning of High School he started to get very into hiking and rock climbing and went on a lot of Wilderness Expeditions with Outward Bound. These were long trips to faraway places. One summer he even climbed a glacier. Like any young person he enjoyed getting out of our apartment and being away from the family. It seemed like he was never home after that and always traveling somewhere. He followed the Dead for a while and then after High School came college starts and stops and then he was a punk and used to go into NYC for the music and the drugs. As the younger sibling stuck at home I always felt that he was leaving me behind. He was. After getting a taste of the bigger world he never really wanted to be at home again and spent the rest of his life trying to escape Skank Ave.

My sister-in-law told me that she was sending me a box but I totally forgot about it. I was very puzzled when I got the note at home to pick up an insured package at the post office. When the clerk brought the box out and I saw the handwriting on it I knew what it was. It’s strange but her handwriting looks so similar to my brother’s. When I see it I have to remember that it is not from Mike. I found myself hugging the little box on the way back to the car and bursting into tears as I was buckling my seat belt. She’s been talking about sending me this stuff for a while but now that I have it I can’t help but feel sad. I’m not going to be receiving anything else from my brother again.

He took the compass with him wherever he went, whenever he traveled. It’s funny that someone who really needed a compass in life, had a good compass yet still got so very lost.

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