like characters from sesame street, my brother and i posed in granny sweaters that smelled like mothballs.

those are innocent eyes staring back at us, pleading their older selves to stay true to their roots.

those are genuine smiles stretched in joy, imploring their older selves to stay warm.

this was the beginning of the 21st century, fixated between the dangers ahead and the love behind.

this portrait.

my brother and i.