my little brother

October 19, 2010
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When my younger brother, Ibrahim, was a toddler, he used to call me dad (instead of Eyad) and we used to laugh about it. But as we grew up, 7 years apart, this joke started to become a reality. Ibrahim copied me in every possible way, and has an unshakable faith in me. For the longest time I considered him my best friend. I took care of him, taught him, and confided in him. I care about him so much that I don’t want to disappoint him. I know he is watching my every move, so I am watching my every move. I know he is copying every word I say, so I am careful with what I say. If I ignore my work, he ignores his and if I cut corners, he follows suit. I want to be proud of him so I need to be proud of me.
Last summer, I asked my father if I could help around the office. He said he has “a project” for me. I had to scan some 1000 old charts into the new electronic system. What was supposed to be a simple job turned out to be so intense, I was 110 percent consumed by the process. The computer would randomly freeze and the scanner would arbitrarily jam. I had to repeat scanning some sections several times. By the end of the first day, my back was frozen like an old tree, my eyes were burning like someone poured acid in them and my head was about to explode. No matter how hard I worked, I could not finish more than 10 charts per day. This meant I may just finish on the last day of summer. I could not believe that I was going to spend every day of the summer like this. “
Dad, do we have to scan everything?”
“Yes, everything.”
But some papers were literally empty. Some were almost blank with “NO SHOW” across the page. Some were Medication Lists and no medication listed. After one week of this never ending pain, I decided that I needed to do something to become more efficient. I started to disregard the pages that are “not important”. Things moved faster and I could finish almost twenty charts per day. I could take a deep breath now, knowing that I would finish few weeks before the school starts again. One month now has passed and I am half way done. One day my dad was helping me clean up when he noticed that some papers were not scanned.
“Why these documents are not scanned Eyad?”
I could never lie to my father. “They are empty.”
“What? Why? Who told you that? Eyad, these are legal documents. Every piece of paper is a legal document.” my father was now screaming. He asked how many charts I did not properly scan, and I told him that I did not know. There was no way to know which one I scanned and which one I did not. Now my father was holding his head as if he were going to pass out.
“Who told you to think? All you had to do is to scan.”
I was dizzy. I could not hear or think any more. I knew how disappointed he was and I knew I had no defense. I wished I never accepted to scan in the first place. We got home and he told the whole family what I did. All I could hear is people repeating: Oh my God, oh my God. I rushed to my room, weeping. No one wanted to understand how difficult scanning was. No one wanted to listen. I was never going back to the office again. Ibrahim, came to the room and sat silently across from me. He was sad, and deeply disappointed. I explained to him what happened. He listened patiently, then he said at the end:
“How can you fix it?“
“I can’t, no one can.”
“ So what are we going to do?”
“ I don’t know. He needs to get someone else. He needs to hire someone else”. He looked at me and screamed, in his scratchy voice: “But if you can’t do it, no one else can” it took me a while to understand. Ibrahim does not only think that I am as good as everyone else, he thinks that I am better than everyone else. “If I can’t do it, no one else can”. The last thing I want is to disappoint these incent eyes. I don’t know how I slept that night. It was the most dramatic day in my life. The next morning, I got up early and was dressed and waiting in the family room before my father got up.
“Where are you going?” My father asked. “What else are you going to do?” I knew what he meant, but I replied assertively:
“I am going to fix it.” I could see a glimpse of satisfaction going through his mind. We talked no more. I got to the office and erased all the files I created and started scanning all over again, working diligently, carefully and silently. By the end of summer, I was only half done with the charts, but whatever I scanned this time, was perfect. I felt a great deal of satisfaction and accomplishment, and my whole family was proud of me.
Now every time I feel down I will remember: “if you can’t do it, no one else can”. I have big dreams in this life. My father will always be my guiding star. I will do my best to please him. But no matter what happens, I know I could never disappoint my little brother.

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