I dreamed of you last night. You were younger than you were when you died. Not by a lot though. You were like you were before you got sick. You were being silly and a little bit of a sarcastic trouble maker. You were teasing your brothers at dinner. They were the age they are now though. Not the age that they were when you died, or the age you were in the dream.
You noticed. You turned to me, a laugh still on your voice, and asked me: Why am I only 12 years old? Why aren’t I older, like I should be?
Why am I only 12? Why am I sometimes 5 years old, or a baby, or 10, or 16? Why?
I smiled at you and said simply that it’s because you’re dead.
You are whatever age you are in our minds when we are thinking of you, when we dream of you and remember you.
Sometimes you are 16 and at the end of your life, angry and sad and unreachable. Other times you are that little boy who held my hand and sang silly songs as he walked beside me grinning as I laughed at you. Sometimes you are even what you never will be, the young boy grown into a man.
You looked at me and suddenly you were 16 again. Dressed like you were when I said goodbye for what I didn’t know was the last time. You shrugged, like you did a lot back then, and you smirked and said that it makes sense. Since you’re dead.