M: Hello? Frank?
F: I missed my ear.
M: You missed your ear?
F: Yeah, I’m wearing a headset, and I missed my ear.
M: Oh. So, what have you been up to?
F: Just working a lot.
M: You’ve been busy.
M: So, I’ve been making a list of all the R-rated horror movies we saw when we were kids.
M: Just because. I want to see if you can remember any others. I have Nightmare on Elm Street. Friday the 13th. The Howling. The Omen. And The Exorcist. What else?
F: Hmm, I didn’t see Child’s Play until I was older.
M: How about vampire movies?
F: Not until I was older.
M: How about the Chuckie movies?
F: That was Child’s Play.
M: Oh. How about Misery?
F: We saw that on television.
M: How about The Good Son?
F: That wasn’t really horror. Just scary.
M: I was scared of MacCaulay Culkin.
M: [thinking of a scene where something comes out of a toilet]
F: We saw Ghoulies.
M: Wait, is that where that thing comes out of the toilet?
F: Ha! Yeah. And then there was green splatter on the wall. And there was this couple that was kissing that got their mouths stuck together because they both wore braces. I thought, “Oh man! That would be the worst.”
M: I remember that kissing scene. What about those Halloween movies with that Mike Myers character. I fell asleep during one of them.
F: That’s right.
M: What about Children of the Corn?
F: I thought I was older.
M: It was on HBO. There was Malachi.
M: And that fire or whatever it was chasing them through the cornfields. So scary. Did we see all the Friday the 13ths?
F: One through six.
M: Really? What about Nightmare on Elm Street? Four? Five?
F: The first three.
M: Oh. Oops.
F: At the end of The Exorcist, I thought that the priest was Joseph Smith. It looked like him. I thought it was strange.
M: [trying not to laugh too loudly] Ha! That’s too funny!
F: [static on the line]
F: [khook …khook]
F: [khook …] Yeah?
M: You’re breaking up. All I hear are strange syllables, and I don’t understand you.
F: That’s how I talk now.
M: Heh. Hey, I’ll call you later when the line’s clearer and when you’re not at work.
M: Okay, I’ll talk to you soon.
F: Okay. Bye.
Today I started making a list of all the R-rated movies I have ever seen. For some reason I listed the horror movies first, then my thoughts turned to how many of those movies Frank and I saw when we were kids. I love trying to remember things with him. Sometimes our memories hold similar forms; other times I have to wonder if we were actually in the same room when a particular event took place. Another part of that conversation was my asking him if he remembered us renting Point Break and watching it AFTER CHURCH. This was when the call was breaking up, but I could tell he was doing a Keanu Reeves impression. You do not want to miss Frank with his Keanu Reeves impression.
Those movies transfixed us. I was between 9 and 14 years old for those horror flicks, making Frank between 3 and 8. We spent a lot of time together with all sorts of movies. When it was bedtime we’d lie on my bed, staring up into the fuzzy darkness and play games of who could name the most models of cars, or the most animals. The most whatever. I remember letting him name more sometimes. We played together a lot. We’d have farting contests just with each other, but I have to say that kind of thing wasn’t exactly discouraged within my family. Sure it was inappropriate in front of other people, but it was perfectly acceptable in our home. Just the other day on the phone I told my mom that I farted. And she told me to do it again. By “the other day,” I mean yesterday. This is not a childhood memory.
So families find different ways to bond. The way some siblings’ relationships form is sometimes a mystery. Those movies probably weren’t the best or most wholesome medium, but the time we spent together I would not trade or take back for anything. That time is what makes me miss my little brother, and that time is why we can relive memories and build upon them. The conversations we have now are merely extensions of our talks as kids. They’ll keep extending, and they’ll naturally never end. I couldn’t imagine if they did. Now that would be the worst.