My brother is the opposite of my sister. We were only fourteen months apart, and from the day I arrived on the scene there was animosity. We have never had the same perspective on life. He was a carefree jokester; I was a serious worrywart. Most of my memories involve us not getting along. He teased, I cried.
Once again, in my perfect world I would have had the best big brother. He would have fought my battles, been a refuge from the storm, and had my best interests at heart. My brother had the opposite view. He would regularly make fun of my many inadequacies. When we were in high school, he liked to tell people that I was a lesbian (not popular at the time), or, better yet, that I had AIDS. He did his brotherly duty and made sure no guy in school would date me.
But despite our conflicts, my brother taught me much. He prepared me for the real world. I learned not to take myself so seriously. He knew how to keep me humble. We compromised to solve our differences and sometimes agreed to disagree. Somehow I always knew he loved me and that his tough exterior was only a facade to protect his tender heart.
He was much like my dad, in that people were naturally drawn to him. He is still charismatic and a carefree jokester, while I remain the serious worrywart. As we aged, we chose different paths and these have led us farther apart. But even now, he is often in my thoughts. The first time I had seen him in many years was for my dad’s funeral. He is a man now, but I see the little boy who shaped my life. His tough exterior is still a façade, and his impact on my life has had far-reaching effects. He is invaluable.