The last time I saw my brother, Jeremy, was more than five years ago. My mother had died and we were settling the bill after the post-funeral lunch. He and I went our separate ways that day, and an address and phone number change a short time later and he was gone. He has never been the most communicative brother in the world, but five years was a long time to be gone. Friends and relatives began searching for him a few years ago, and some had even considered hiring a private investigator to hunt him down. There was no trace of him at any of his previous addresses, his employer offered us no information, he had contacted no one who was previously in his life, and there was no sign of him online.
He was a ghost.
About two years ago I admitted to my wife that I had started to assume that Jeremy was dead. He had probably moved south or west and died in an accident of some kind. Unaware of who his next-of-kin were, the authorities did not know who to call, and so his death went unnoticed.
I had resigned myself to this fact when Jeremy reappeared on Thursday night, about fifteen minutes before I was to take the stage at the 92nd Street Y in New York City. I was there to tell a story for The Story Collider, a science-based storytelling organization. I was eating dinner in the café with my father-in-law and grandmother-in-law when he appeared over my shoulder and said, “Don’t I know you?”
It made the telling of my story quite a challenge. I found myself standing on stage, unable to think about anything save the brother who I thought I was dead but was now sitting in the audience, waiting to hear me tell a story from high school that he knew well.
The means by which Jeremy reappeared in my life is unbelievable, and I am in the process of writing a piece about it for hopeful placement in the New York Times or a similar publication. So you’ll have to wait to hear the rest of the story. The details as to how and why he chose that venue, on that particular night, to make his reappearance, but needless to say, I am happy that he has returned and am hoping that he will stick around this time.