As my brother skated around the rink, I was appreciative of the many times we had had together. I looked at him as though I may have had a crush on him. I adore him. I was melancholy, too, as this would be one of the last times we would be out together for a while - and one of our first times we had been out together as "adults."
He was just barely 18 and I almost 23. Five years stood between us, but we had a bond that somehow kept the feelings we shared intact, even through the most utterly frustrating situations.
There were so many times that I wished I could do things for him - but couldn't. And then there were the many times his letters went unanswered while I did "my thing" at college. I rued those actions now. It may not have changed things, but I couldn't help but wonder if it may have let us depart closer.
I wanted him to talk to me, but how could I expect it from him when I, too, kept my own secrets in my "secret" life and my relation to him as sister was distant?
"Are you ready?" he said to me, as Michael Jackson's "Dirty Diana" ended and the next song began. I had let him skate on his own It was the least I could do, considering the effort he put forth in trying to help me get my wheels in gear.
No matter how much I wanted to fall, he wouldn't let me. I only fell once - when I attempted a solo. I didn't try a solo again. I wanted so much to be able to skate before the night was over, to make sure all his hard work was not for naught. but it was not to be.
I got madder and madder at myself as I tried harder and harder as he said louder and firmer, "left, right, left, right - keep the motion. You're doing just fine." He, I thought, seemed impressed, as only a brother could be. I looked at him. Why hadn't we done this before? I was going to miss him.
I wondered what I'd be like when I knew for sure when he'd be leaving. I already knew that I couldn't expect letters my college past haunted me. Also the whole scene was all too familiar. It was reminiscent of my first departure almost five years before. I, of course, would miss everyone, but I had to dig in. My life was college and classes and I had to adjust to being away.
It was nothing new, exactly. I had gone to boarding school. But boarding school had been much closer. But I did what I had to do, much like him. He is doing what he has to do. I can't help but fel like this has more of a finality to it, though, as the rest of his life begins now. His "college" is his career. "It" tells him where to go, and he willingly follows.
Of course I never really thought about how I'd feel if I ever left New York and worked in another state because that was me (But I have a sneaking suspicion I am still around because of my family).
As we rounded the corner I squealed, "Why are these corners so difficult to navigate?"
We stopped and he gave me another lesson. We then stopped to get something to drink. He paid for mine. There was so much I wanted to say, but there were no words. I loved him, and I could only hope that he knew that.
"So when you goin'?"
"Don't know yet."
"When are you gonna know?"
"I'll talk to the travel agent tomorrow."
I only knew it would be too soon. He seemed very anxious to leave. If only I knew I could expect to hear from him regularly, or see him at Christmas I think I'd feel better. But he was too free spirited to even know his own plans.
I kept thinking about how much I loved him even through his stubbornness and his narrow mindedness. He was still strong and he had made a place for himself in my life. He loved the military and gave his all, and it seemed to love him back. He respected and listened to the commanders, and felt he had pull. I was so proud of him, but only mothers say that, and even then it's corny. But I was. I am.
From a troubled little boy is a young man (who has hopefully dealt with his troubles) who I'm sure girls look at and adore. Of course, I could be biased - but I'm sure I'm not so subjective that I can't see his real looks. He is looking for an old fashioned type of girl. If he finds her, he'll be lucky. But what he really needs is to fall in love with a girl who will gently, lovingly, sarcastically put him in his place.
He has such a loving heart. I can remember our grandmother saying so. She always adored him, and did everything she felt she could for him. He may not have always felt that to be true, or even felt it at all (as my vantage point was different) but she loved him with all her strength.
I always knew my brother would do well. I didn't know how, and I was afraid for him - but now there is absolutely nothing to fear.
His strong arms led me around the floor one last time. As we rounded the end, my legs pulled apart and we almost both came tumbling down. But his strength, remarkable, kept me up and going.
It was finally time to go. I didn't want to. It would be the last time, but it was late.
At my mom's house I sat in the car, wanting him to stay. He, of course, was in a hurry. I hugged him and told him I loved him. It had been a while since I had done that. I meant it from the corners of my heart; just like he had meant it from his heart of letters past. He said he knew that I did, that from me, he believed it.
That mysterious bond was there.
I always hope this is not the end, but as I sit here, I cry. I can't help but think it is. He, of course, must live his life, as I must live mine. But it should be me, and not him, making those moves and decisions. I guess it's just difficult to believe, and finally accept he has his membership in adulthood. He is a man. He is "legal." He can do as he pleases.
From time to time I have wondered if he's scared, if perhaps he is not as sure of himself as he appears or thinks himself to be. He has reduced all of his belongings to one trunk. Doesn't that bother him? He, nonchalant, says no. I want to give him something to take with him, but it must be small and something he can keep in his trunk.
My thought only it to tell him how much I care and to share my thoughts with him.
He is my brother. And I love him.