In life there are important people. Some are gained along the way, like my fiancée or the many fabulous people I’ve met in Prague and at university. Some fall into your life because of school or where you lived and they stick there, like my mate Sam or my friend Dan B. Some you were literally born from and of. And then there are the people you were born before and after. Today’s bonus entry is about the final category.
Coming into the world three years before me, my brother is someone I respect. He has seniority. He carries himself with a great amount of authority. He likes things his way. As kids we didn’t see eye to eye on every issue so that led to some scraps. He generally got the better of me but I was happy with a few of the good punches I landed. And the time I put soap on his toothbrush because he was annoying me. Still, for all the fighting, which I actually really enjoyed, and some of the insults we traded, we always cared for each other.
He always pushed me as a child and into my teenage years. He challenged me. If he couldn’t beat a level on the PlayStation then I read the instructions and had great fun getting past it. I think I had more patience. We often worked together on the different levels and used the 2 player mode a lot. He was generally player 1, seniority wins out. It might seem shallow to spend so much time focusing on video games, but they were a large part of childhood and our relationship.
We hung out with each other a lot, skateboarding up the flowerbeds at the end of the street, in Scouts, stick fighting. It was a good childhood. We were almost always together. He was what made it a good childhood.
See my great fear is loneliness. I hate being by myself for long periods of time. A bit is fine and I don’t even need to talk to people, but having other people in the room is good. Any time we weren’t in school or seeing our friends we were together. For 17 years we were near inseparable.
Time fucks us all. We grew up and he started working as a chef. I was in high school and then university and we didn’t get to see each other much. I love how he always made time for me, though. Every week we had a pint together at the Bank Hotel. I regret that I didn’t reach out more at the time and he had to do more of the heavy lifting as far as organising this went.
Eventually he got tired of the chef life. Long hours, angry people, hot kitchens, low pay as he was salaried and the hours almost always outpaced what he was paid for. He did something brave. He took a chance and jacked his job in to go and see what Barcelona had to offer. While there he made a bunch of friends, ended up sleeping on the floor of one of them, and eventually fell in love with her. They now live on the other side of the planet.
So I don’t see him much these days. We’re bad at Skype and I think we both hate it a bit. It hurts that he’s away and seeing him is rare, but I’m glad he’s following his path in life and that he’s made good choices.
If there’s one other thing that can be said about him it’s that he is the best damn brother someone could hope for. He made me a better person, I grew tougher, funnier, and more confident because of him. He doesn’t always show it but he cares a shitton about people . He flew across the world for my mum’s big celebration recently, just because he knew it’d be a good thing.
So that’s my brother in a nutshell. He cares, he makes jokes, he knows what he wants and he goes for it. He’s also got some annoying self-defence technique that I always seem to fall for and need to find some way of disarming before I next see him.
I love my brother.
And have a good birthday, ya old bastard.