A BROTHER LIKE YOU | Brandon Grill


Your co-workers found you lying on the

Ground, “the tweak passed out,” they told us. You said

You were tired after drinking all night. I asked

Why you drank before work, and instead of answering

You recited some lines from your favorite movies.

Three minutes went by, and you went through the

Independence Day script, doing every voice.

Your Will Smith impersonation was unreal, and when

I asked how much you practiced it you told me

You’ve only seen the movie twice. You

Rocked back and forth in your seat,

and kept trying to hug me. It made putting on

Your seatbelt very difficult, but the joyousness

Of your giggle makes it worth it. Few others

Let you hug them, I presumed. You asked me

If the nurses would be pretty and if they would

Comb your hair. My partner whispers in

My ear that I shouldn’t let you push me

Around, but I don’t get the sense that you’re

Trying to take advantage of me. “Sometimes,

I just want to stop thinking over and over and

Over so I drink. My social worker won’t comb

My hair,” you tell me. I ask you about your

Living conditions, and you tell me you hate

Being at home. I ask you what medications

You take, and you tell me you don’t take them

Unless someone combs your hair. You put your

Arm around my shoulders as we walk into

The emergency room, and tell me you wish

You had a brother like me growing up.

“Nobody in the home laughs at my voices

Like you do.”

Brandon Grill is working towards his MS in Narrative Medicine at Columbia University. He works as an EMT at Lenox Hill Hospital and sits on the executive board of the Central Park Medical Unit, a nonprofit volunteer ambulance service. His passion for improving communication between patients and clinicians has drawn him towards Narrative Medicine, and he hopes to attend medical school in the near future.