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an excerpt by Mark Wisniewski


It was my older brother and only sibling, Trevor, who, in August of 1982, drove me and all I cared to own to Iowa City, where the university, I believed, would turn me into a broadcast journalist. Three pairs of jeans, a laundry basket full of socks and underwear and rumpled white oxfords, and a boom box with a phantom antenna were what I took from his silver Fiat’s trunk to the dorm lobby, where they sat near a ficus while I drew glances from potential classmates by jogging back to the Fiat, its engine again running, Trevor doing his best to parent me. We said good-bye through his open driver’s door window, and I shook his hand, my way of telling him he need do no more: he was eager to be rid of this duty and leave the Midwest forever, I sensed in that way family knows things about family it will never discuss. And I was, I’ll admit now, rooting for him to indulge that eagerness, though I also harbored some of the curiosity I’d felt around him for years, about whether we loved each other as much as brothers should, about whether we were even able to love, given what we’d been through.

Then he handed me a thick hardback, The Complete Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway.