the last time i voted in person was actually in a primary as well. i've been voting absentee for a half dozen years, clinging to my parents' address - though it wasn't the one at which i grew up - long long past a time when i would have considered living there. it was a primary in the summer of 2002. it was my brother's first voting experience, and we two piled into our parents' 1957 chevy (a beloved prop in our family that has been in my parents' garage for 28 years now) with them and drove with the windows down and the beach boys up to the elementary school assigned to us. i remember it well because it was a scene from much earlier in our childhood, the brother and i, cruising around with our parents in the same cool car listening to the same band ALL THE TIME always with the windows down. and because it happened either right before or right after (that i don't remember) we all learned our family was about to grow exponentially. i remember thinking about it a couple weeks later though, how precious i found that one last car drive before everything changed, when it was just the four of us, and it was simple. it was so simple. because the adoration those four people in that car had for one another then, and still, is unchanged even as the family itself is not.
it's true that i'm emphatically happy with my life, and with - i can say with absolute confidence - every single decision i've made for myself in the six years since. i know that version of me would be thrilled with this version of me. but on this election day, after voting in this primary, with the heaviness on my shoulders of helplessness brought on by four grave situations simultaneously, the worst of which being my desperate brother lying in a hospital bed two timezones away while they scan his brain and back and stick needles in his spine to see if his damaged body is still well enough to be sent to iraq, where his job will be sticking his torso - and soul, in effect - out the top of a hummer with a machine gun ... today, i cannot think of one thing i wouldn't give to find myself back on that primary day instead of this one. i think i would gladly make all those tough decisions again, i'd even go through the torment of law school again, if doing so would replace the hope and joy i remember in his laugh from that day. but alas, though big sisters are good for things like explaining to brothers voting for the first time the difference between a primary and an election, there are apparently some things that sisters cannot make sense of and some pains that sisters cannot heal.