As kids, my brother and I were very close. He was my best friend, the only one I played with since we didn’t live in a neighborhood, and there were no other kids on our road. For years our house was surrounded by nothing but open fields on each side, the closest house visible as a pale green dot. That eventually changed, when apartments were built in one of those fields, but in those early days, it was us, our dog Star, and wide open space. We spent our days outside, building a tree house (like Dixie and her brother) fashioned a fort out of cement cylinders and some wood from behind the garage, explored the woods and tributary, picked blackberries, rode our bikes, and generally goofed off. Summer time especially, was our time. Growing up, I looked up to my big brother like a hero. He knew how to fix my bike, he drew a funny picture on my cast when I broke my arm, and he was always by my side, like a protector.
Dixie’s brother, AJ, is older by two years, making him thirteen. Their relationship is a lot like the one I had with my brother. I found this picture which is close enough to how I pictured him in my head. Yes, my own brother is blonde haired and blue eyed too.
CHAPTER TWENTY THREE
AJ was back on good terms with Uncle Ray.
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