At the airport, my family and I wait patiently at the gate for the flight. My little brother presses his nose against the window and stares in awe at the immense flying machines. He runs from window to window, excitedly exclaiming about the different types of planes. Suddenly, one leaves a nearby gate, and his eyes are so wide and bright that I can see the reflection of the 747 taking off in those eyes filled with wonder. Even minutes after it vanishes into the thick clouds, my brother still presses his forehead against the window, wondering how anything could be so powerful and fly so high.
Soon after our vacation, fall arrives and it’s time for school. I’m a junior, with piles of textbooks, papers and heaps of AP guides on my desk. My brother, in kindergarten, has his desk covered with Dr. Seuss books, construction paper, and dozens of “Zoo Phonics for Kids.” All evening, I bang my head in anguish over calculus; my brother, on the other hand, struggles to loop his eights or curve his fives on lined paper. We do this side by side, both frustrated at our seemingly impenetrable tasks.
We are 12 years apart. I was born Sunday, January 23; he was born Sunday, July 23. He is 4'5"; I am 5'4". He drinks Swiss Miss; I drink Starbucks. People think that our ages would make us completely different.
Even though I play with computers and he plays with Thomas the Tank engines, we have one thing in common - we are curious and wonder incessantly about the world. We strive to learn, to reflect and think about the vast knowledge in the world. We always ask questions, no matter how random or trivial they may be. Our eyes gleam with the same questioning attitude, the same awe in which we can never stop exploring the wonderment of the world.
We both struggle through our mountains - my brother with adding numbers greater than 10 and I with finding the dimensional area of a convex. He stumbles over the words in Green Eggs and Ham; I struggle to comprehend Tolstoy. But whatever the feat, no matter how large or how intimidating, we somehow learn to overcome them. We both persevere, and most of all, we never stop wondering. We both have a voracious appetite for learning that can never be satisfied.
A year later, I find myself at the airport, waiting to visit a college. I press my forehead against the window, listening to the hum of the buzzing engines of airplanes. I wonder, in amazement, how an airplane can fly, and how it can suddenly ascend miles in the air and disappear behind the billowing clouds.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.