There are six long years between my brother and me. Growing up we didn't share much except for a Bon Jovi album that I'm pretty sure I stole from him. And stealing does not really count as sharing anyway. I teased him to win favor with my friends and then mostly ignored him when they went home. Once for Christmas I made a scavenger hunt for him to find his present. I purposefully ended the hunt in the attic where I knew he'd be scared to go alone. Another time while I was babysitting him I pretended to call the police and arrange for them to pick him up before our parents got home. I distinctly remember saying, "Oh, he'll NEVER see his parents again?!", while Tom sobbed into the carpet*. I stood smugly by proud of my power to reduce him to a puddle of tears.
I don't recall too many tender moments.
Things are much different now, I promise. Hopefully, I'm less cruel most of the time. Can you forgive me? I mean I love my brother now. Hi, Tom!
So now I've got me a pair of brothers with sixteen months between them. They will have no memories that don't include each other. They will be in school together and at home together. Who knows what will come of them after they leave home for greener pastures but I fantasize that they will share as much love as my brother and I do now. Like my brother and myself they will share parents and opinions about their parents and secrets from their parents. It's hard to imagine exactly how it will unfold. And sometimes it's hard to be patient for those stories. And sometimes it's hard to notice that I'm in the middle of a story like the one where people raise eyebrows and ask me how Henry got those marks and bruises. The answer is Eli, damnit. The big brother knows how to make love hurt. And bite. Just like Def Leppard said.