Friday, November 24, 2017

My brother, 21.

21 years ago I sat with my 3-year-old sister in the waiting room of a hospital in Auckland, New Zealand. I would be late going to school if this was going to take a long time, I thought. I fell asleep. Upon waking I panicked, first checking that my sister was still with me. Not knowing how much time had passed, I thought our father had forgotten about us, abandoned us in the hospital while he and my mother had taken our new baby brother home. I proceeded to knock desperately on every door in the maternity ward looking for my parents (I was 6).

Whatever happened next is no longer clear in my memory, but I do know the next few years involved nappy-changing, being mesmerised by how small you were and how you fell asleep in my lap, learning to tell you off effectively, trying to discourage you from throwing things (the side of my forehead will never unlearn the lesson brought about from flying scissors), laughing hysterically at your wit, bewildered at how such a young boy could already be so intelligent and funny. You’ve grown up to be somehow so exceedingly talented at many random things, from ice skating backwards to learning a song on the piano merely by listening to the sound, to skipping stones and being obsessed with wanting to unicycle (unsure how this project is going).

Growing up with a sister with depression, you would sometimes come into my room on a day you somehow knew was a bad one, lie down and just talk to me even if you didn’t understand. You were only 8. It was often the memory of leaving you behind that would prevent me from doing anything incredibly stupid. Your sweet nature remains, and I am lucky you are still unafraid to kiss and hug your sisters goodnight and tell us that you love us.

Your hilarity never fails to send me into belly laughs so deep, I’m surprised I don’t have an 8 pack of abs. Whenever we are all together everything falls into place; I am three parts made whole; and that is how I know for sure, you were always meant to be the final member of our family—the missing piece to complete us. I wish I was there to celebrate all that you are and all that you will be. Happy birthday, mon frère. Until we are reunited again.

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