My little brother. He's been my side-kick my entire life. We'd get in so much trouble when we were little...fighting like cats and dogs. But we have always been best friends through it all. We'd pretend to be pirates, cowboys, space cadets and pioneers. We'd climb tall mountains (hills in our backyard) and swim to the bottom of the ocean (snorkeled in the lake) and take armies by surprise (smacked a bully up on a playground). In highschool we'd stare at bonfires till the wee hours and dare each other to jump over it. We'd roll around in our p.o.s. cars, listening to songs on repeat. And we'd cheer for each other at our sporting events (he basketball, me volleyball).

We'd write journals back and forth in college and help each other our with our art (honest critiques are wonderful). We'd call each other when we needed advice. We'd call each other just to say we had to pee...

Tomorrow night he leaves for Japan. He's a marine, you know...patriotically helping our country. And he's stationed over there for 6 months. I keep telling myself that it is much better than the middle east. I don't think I could sleep at night if he were there.

But I won't be there if he needs me. And I can't call him if I need to talk.

And that makes me very sad.

Tom, you take care of yourself. I'm going to miss you.