this is what my brother told my father when he called at 4 am after we hadn’t been able to reach him for hours and hours and i couldn’t figure out how he could have scored heroin and died when he had all those bags to lug around and wouldn’t be able to do anything inconspicuously, but still, we hadn’t even been able to tell him his 6:30 am flight number. i got all investigative reporter/mom on him and emailed his girlfriend and got into his phone records and found his girlfriend’s phone number and texted her and then texted HIM what i thought were the kind of non-confrontational messages i would want, like, “call me anytime, even if it’s the middle of the night, i want to give you your plane information. xo.” it was the middle of the night when i told my dad we could each take fifteen of the thirty airport hotels and call them to see if he had gone there and fallen asleep and i was ready to call the airline he had taken earlier in the day to see if he had really gotten on the flight, because maybe this was all an elaborate scheme and he wasn’t even in north carolina. instead i went to bed.
when i woke up this morning my dad was like “the pool is 72 but it will be up to the 90s later!” and i was like “great!” and “is my brother alive?” but i said the last part more gently. not only alive, but the first person through security in charlotte this morning, and safely on the plane. my dad begged me to talk to keith, soon, because “he will listen to you,” then continued to tell me about the beach and the weather and this place where we are going to go for lunch, and for the first time that i ever remember he said, “i need a drink.”
i’m going to go put my bathing suit on.