believing in big bro

2 Aug

You hear it, you say it, you ponder what it means. But you can’t quite believe it, not yet. Not that you want to believe it.

You try to think of the bright side (or the side that you hope, you pray, you wish will turn out to be bright) rather than focus on reality, stark, cold and naked.

Your big brother, the one you love; the one you look up to; the one you ask for advice on clothing and hair and boys and school and why am I such an incapable, antisocial, ugly, self-pitying person; the big brother who once peed on you in the kitchen when you were both younger and the one who became your sole source of music in high school; the brother who in childhood made up an imaginary amusement park where you both jump on the bed; the brother who was sent away for a while for what he did to you that nobody talks about; the brother who used to fake punch you and then you’d cry because he had to do his homework and couldn’t play with you; the big brother who sometimes told you a little bit about his life and his girlfriend(s?) and who mostly didn’t; the big brother who swore he never drank or smoke (but what about those pictures on Facebook?); the brother who you defended against your parents (and the world if necessary) for the wrong girlfriend, the bad grades, the depression, the never-found-a-job, the more bad grades–THAT brother:

He failed out of Princeton.
He failed. You believed in him and he failed. You didn’t apply to Princeton because he was there, that was HIS school (not anymore…). Now he will be coming to your school this fall, just as you start your own Freshman year.

Focus on the (hopefully) bright side: you can visit him and get an in with his cute roommate. You can hang out with him and his friends as well as your own. He might, maybe, possibly, eventually learn to be happy at your school.
But maybe he won’t. You envision him struggling with an inner critic, this one worst than the last. But this time you won’t catch it in time. This time it’ll be too late. You can already hear the phone call from the hospital, they’re sorry and they did their best but–
Your fears are real, but too early. And yet, you fear it nonetheless. It isn’t the first time you’ve feared that thing. It won’t be the last, either.

You hear it, you say it, you ponder what it means. But you can’t quite believe it, not yet. Not that you want to believe it.

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