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Pictures of my Brother and I
Click. The sound I heard so much when I was a child; click, click, click. It was the sound of a camera flashing, saving memories into a picture. Some people take the sound of a flashing camera for granted. They forget that it is not just a picture that it is being taken, it’s a memory. To me, a memory is a way to remember something that’s been long forgotten. I used to be one someone who took memories for granted. I never realized what I was enjoying would never come back again, that my happiness would vanish, just like dust, into thin air. I now realize I should have taken more pictures of my childhood. Well, since I’m probably still a child, let’s say my younger childhood. The time when my parents were there to care for me, the time when Nana was still alive, the time where I had hope for a better tomorrow, and of course, the time when I still had trust in my best and only friend, my brother.
I was born into a very rich family. My mom and dad had always been part of the upper class society. When I was little, I admit, I was somewhat of a spoiled brat. I got everything that I wanted, when I wanted it. It was exciting, but after a while it just gets boring. What was more fun than anything was to be able to play with my big brother. I loved my brother more than anything. Unlike me, he didn’t need lots of toys to have fun. Actually, he used to show me how to have fun with simple things. My parents never understood how he was able to do that, but nonetheless, they let him continue with his wishes. At least for a little while.
I love this picture. It’s one of me running happily down the stairs into my brother’s arms. He is hugging me very tightly. I still remember what had happened on this day. It was the beginning of the end.
I remember waking up very cheerful and heard him calling from down the stairs, “Are you awake yet, Mira? Come on, come on downstairs. I found this really cool thing to play with.” I raced down the stairs, pushing past the maids who were all chanting together “Good Morning Miss.” I would just nod my head and keep on running. My brother would be waiting at the bottom of the stairs for me.
“Morning Frogie.” I smiled when he called out my nickname. My brother used to call me ‘Frogie’ because I was so full of energy. To him it seemed like I was hopping around like a frog.
“Morning Jakey,”I replied. No matter how many times my brother had told me to call him by his real name “Jake”, I would still call him “Jakey”.
“Come on Frogie look what I found.” He held out a pile of papers in his hand. I scratched my head.
“What’re we supposed to do with a pile of papers?” I asked inquisitively.
“Make paper animals, of course.” Jake winked at me. A smile exploded onto my face. We ran back upstairs to my brother’s bedroom. The maids had already made the bed. As soon as we saw that, we started to jump on the bed madly. I loved doing this. Jumping I felt like a real frog. After jumping for another ten minutes, we finally gave up out of exhaustion. Then we got back to our paper animal making task. My brother showed me how to fold the paper so the animal shape came out. While we were folding the paper I noticed there was something printed it. I tried to read it, but my brother folded the paper before I could. We spent the next few hours making a paper animal zoo.
I heard Iridessa’s voice from downstairs.Iridessa was our main maid. She was extremely kind and kept saying sorry repeatedly. She was a very timid person. “Miss Mira, Master Jake! Come down stairs for breakfast, please.” Jake and I left our animal zoo just the way it was. There were still a few papers we hadn’t used. I wanted to read what they said, but Jake just grabbed my hand and darted down the stairs. As soon as we reached the dining room there were two maids waiting for us. I sat down and grabbed my food. I started to gnaw like a gopher. Jake looked at me in a confused expression. Embarrassed, I stopped and slumped my shoulders and put my food back onto my plate, reaching for a knife and fork.
“What’re you doing? This is how you eat it,” Jake declared. He reached down to his food and did the exact same thing I did while chewing loudly. I laughed and did what he was doing too. Both of the maids looked disgusted, Jake and I had never really been well-mannered. We had been to etiquette classes, but we never learned from them.
Iridessa walked into the room. “Good Morning Miss Mira, Good Morning Master Jake. How are you doing?” I managed to grumble something out between bites, but most of it was incomprehensible.
“Hey Iridessa, could you tell the chef to put some more sugar and syrup on the pancakes next time?” Jake asked. Iridessa went red with embarrassment.
“I’m sorry, so sorry. I didn’t mean to forget to tell him. I’m so stupid! Sorry, sorry, Sor-” Jake nodded and cut her off.
“It’s okay Iridessa.Not your fault. Nobody’s going to die over it. Right Frogie?” I nodded while my cheeks were inflated with fluffy bits of pancake. Jake laughed seeing how peculiar I looked. There was suddenly a loud yell from upstairs. I recognized the voice, it was my dad’s. At that time dad was home, but mom was away somewhere else. They use to trade off each time to see who got to go for their trip, dinner, meeting, etc. I jumped out of my chair, as did Jake, and ran upstairs. I was able to trace dad’s voice to Jake’s bedroom. Once I got inside, I saw dad looking furious and Jake’s paper animals unraveled from their shape. Jake appeared behind me looking just as bewildered as I was.
“What’s the matter Dad?” Jake asked innocently. My dad turned slowly toward the both of us. Jake and I gulped nervously.
“What’s the matter is that you just ripped up one the most important papers in the whole house!” Dad was fuming by now. I could practically see steam coming out of his ears.
“What are these papers for Daddy?” I asked quietly, trying to look innocent too.
“These papers are the ones I needed for my business meeting and deal to be made in Venice next week!”
“I just found these lying around in your office.’ Jake murmrred, hoping dad wouldn’t hear. Unfortunately he did.
“Exactly, there were in my office for a reason.Ugh I’m so tired of you and you idiotic arts and crafts.” My dad grabbed the papers and walked out of the room. I felt really bad about what we had done. I looked up at Jake. He didn’t seem to have even been affected by Dad’s tantrum.
Later that evening, I was walking to my brother’s room to wish him goodnight. As I walked past my dad’s office, I heard him yell at someone. I leaned in to be able to see what was happening. My dad seemed to be on the phone talking to someone. That person was most probably mom. “See I’m telling you Ari, Jake is not turning out how I expected. You know what happened this afternoon.” Yup, it was mom he was talking to, but why about Jake? My dad paused to hear what my mom was saying on the other line. “I know he’s growing up, but this is not the right way. He needs to be more serious and mannerly. He lives in a high-class society.” Another pause. “Well then fine, but he can’t be kept here. I don’t want his sister to end up like him too.” Pause. “You really think that’ll work?” I started to move away from the door and walked back into the hallway. I didn’t want to hear anymore.
I forgot to say goodnight to Jake. Once I reached my bedroom, I layed down quietly in my bed and thought about what Dad had said. I shook off the thought thinking it was merely nothing. Little did I know, that conversation meant the end of my brother and my friendship.
This picture is one my most beloved; It’s of me in my favorite dress up gown and my brother giving me flowers. This picture was taken about a week after the dreaded conversation. I had completely forgotten about that whole thing, until Joe walked into the room abruptly. Joe was one of the bodyguards. He was a huge man, and always acted tough in front of others, but Jake and I knew his secret. On the inside Joe was basically a big teddy bear. Believe it or not, Joe was the only person in the whole mansion that would have a tea party with me. My brother refused to, the maids were too busy, and my parents were hardly a reliable option. They were answering phone calls every five minutes.
“Master Jake please come downstairs. Your father wants to talk to you.”
Jake flapped his hand in the air and said “Five more minutes. Let Mira’s fashion show finish first.”
“I’m done, you can go Jakey,” I said helpingly. Jake frowned in my direction and got up to leave with Joe, letting his shoulders droop as he walked out of the door. I wanted to go with them, but Joe motioned for me to stay here. I sat down with my arms across my chest. “Not fair,”I declared. Heading out of the door, Joe smiled at my childishness. Wondering what they were going to talk about, I decided that spying is my only option. I was short, even for a six year old. I followed them quietly and hid behind furniture along the way. Once we got to the living room, I crouched down behind the couch and tried to see as much as I could. Looking up I saw mom was with dad too. I didn’t know she had come back from her trip.
Mom stood up and stated “Jake, dear, your father and I have seen how you have been acting lately and-”
Jake cut mom off “So?” Dad started to get a bit angry.
“So? We’re sending you to boarding school.” Dad declared. Jake looked like someone had just blown a fuse in his head. I was started to get the feeling one was being lighted in my head too.
“What? No way I’m going to boarding school! It’s for losers,” Jake replied.
Mom stood up, “And that attitude’s exactly the reason we’re sending you there,” said mom.
“That’s not fair.What about Mira?” Jake asked.
Dad answered “What about her? We don’t want you to be a bad influence.” Jake gave a near-death glare, and stomped out of the room. I couldn’t believe what I heard. “Why?” was the only word sitting in my head, looking off into the distance? That night Jake had a long talk with me. He was unaware that I knew about the boarding school. He sat down at my bedside.
“Hey Frogie, there’s something I have to tell you.”
“What?” I asked, trying to act along.
“You promise you won’t be too sad about it?” I nodded my head, my lips started to tremble. “Okay, tomorrow I’m leaving for my new…boarding school.” I hadn’t known he was leaving tomorrow. My heart started to quiver and I burst into tears. My brother gave me a big hug. I clung to his shirt and let all my tears fall out. After a while, I was able to pull myself together, long enough for my brother to give me one last smile, and then leave for the door. Little did I know that was the last time I’d ever see the happy, loving side of my brother.
This picture shudders sad memories through me. Not that there was anything other than sad memories in my life anymore. This picture is the one of the day my brother left. Everyone’s hugging him and crying. I’m not in this picture, because on that morning I forgot to wake up early enough to say goodbye. I never got a chance to say goodbye to him. Everyone else did. What hurt the most wasn’t the fact that I didn’t get to say goodbye, but that my brother couldn’t even wake me up or tell someone else to tell me that he said goodbye. I don’t think he even wanted to say goodbye. Something had changed in him, something that was lost and could never be found.
This picture was taken a year after Jake had left. In this picture I’m just slumping my head onto my windowsill looking out into the distance. On a rainy day that was the best thing to do if you wanted to wash your heartache away. But the ache never left you no matter how hard you tried.
Jake only called every two months, and when he did call, it was only when Dad was home. Ever since I had turned seven, my parents said I was old enough to stay behind while they both went on their travels. They didn’t trade off anymore. I got very bored every day; there was no one to play with. Joe had gone with Jake to check up on him and Iridessa was too busy anyway. There was one glimpse of hope though, it was Nana. Nana wasn’t even my real grandmother, she had just watched over Jake and I when we were little. When Nana began her job here, her hair was a brownish-gray. Now it’s completely white. Nana was a very tiny, fragile woman. It looked as if you even touched her she would shatter into a million pieces. Nana used to be like a set of parents to Jake and I when we were little. Sometimes I felt that the only person who could feel the same pain I had was Nana. It was raining heavily on the day this picture was taken. Nana had sensed I wanted to be alone and had closed my room door to give me some alone time. She was one of the sweetest people I had ever known, and also probably the last.
Four years have gone by. Time flies doesn’t it? It’s been a total of five years since Jake left for boarding school. In these five years he hasn’t even come to visit once. Not for Christmas, or Thanksgiving, or anyone’s birthday. The picture is of how my brother looked when he came to visit. Now I’m the age Jake was when he left for boarding school, 11. I don’t feel eleven, I feel two. Isn’t that what one plus one is? This picture is definition of lie. I hate it more than anything. The day this was taken was the day Jake was coming home. Five years and no visits. Though now he finally came to visit .At that time I thought he had come because he missed his old life. I now know it was just because he wanted to pick up some of the things he had forgotten to take when he first left. Once everyone got the news that my brother was coming, they all started preparing for his arrival. Nana had constantly asked me all day “Do you want to help get ready for your brother coming?’ I always answered no. I was too busy in my room planning how to spend each and every precious moment with my brother. Everything seemed to be going perfectly. When there was finally a ring at the doorbell, I raced out of my bed and jumped down the stairs.
“He’s here! He’s here!” I thought excitedly. Iridessa grinned in my direction once I had gotten down the stairs. She took a deep breath and then opened the door. Two people walked through the door. One of them I recognized, it was Joe. The other one had to be my brother, but he didn’t look anything like when he had left. “Where was his shaggy, matted jet black hair and blue eyes? What happened to his sneakers and his jacket? What happened to his smile?” I thought. The person I saw in the door way was a young man with his hair combed back and was wearing a suit. He looked like a lawyer to me. “J-Jake?” I stuttered out.
He turned towards me. I froze. “Hello Mira. How are you?” I realized he was talking to me.
“F-f-fine.” He made a half smile. His blue eyes didn’t look warm and welcoming anymore, they looked icy and cold. I wanted to run up to him and give him a hug, or tell him how much I missed him. But I couldn’t force myself to go up there and hug him. I couldn’t hug a stranger. There were lots of things that made me hate that picture, but the one that made me the angriest is the fact that I had been lied to. On that day I was told my brother was coming to visit. The person who stepped through the front door at that heart-stopping moment wasn’t my brother. It was someone else. Someone I didn’t know. Someone I didn’t want to know.
In this picture I see two things - me lying angrily on my bed and Nana looking as if she were going to cry.
The only day Jake stayed with us, we hardly talked. Everyone begged him to stay longer, but he said he was too busy. When everyone was lining up to say goodbye to him, I didn’t come downstairs. Nana had noticed that and peeked into my room where I was laying on my bed and staring up at the ceiling, frowning. “Aren’t you going to say bye to your brother.”
“Well why not dear?”
“That’s not my brother. It’s some jerk that has completely nothing to do with my brother.”
“You’re angry, aren’t you?”
“Does it look like it?” I snapped. I didn’t like to get mad at Nana, but she was the only one who could put up with me without going mad. Nana frowned but didn’t say anything. She stepped out of my room quietly and closed the door behind her. At that point I didn’t really care if she stayed or not. I was so hurt and annoyed that I didn’t care if Nana left and never came back. But then again you never really value someone, until they’re gone.
In this picture you can see me lying on a hospital bed’s side and crying. Crying like there’s no tomorrow.
I hadn’t seen Nana at all since the day Jake left. That was two weeks ago. I was getting really worried, but hadn’t been brave enough to ask anyone if the knew anything. When I finally gathered the courage, I decided to ask Iridessa. She was in the living room dusting the various knickknacks Dad had collected over the years. “Iridessa, Can I ask you something?”
“Sure, Miss Mira.”
“Where’s Nana been gone to?”
“Where’s Nana?” Iridessa froze.
“Uh.S-s-sorry I d-don’t know,” she stuttered out. Iridessa was not good at lying.
“Iridessa I know you’re not telling me what you know.”
“T-that’s not true.”
“Yeah, it is.”
“F-fine. I’m s-s-orry I couldn’t tell you.Anyway, Nana is at…the hospital.”
“Well, the E.R. to be exact.” My world came to a screeching halt. I thought of asking Iridessa how all this happened, but I didn’t care. I had to go right now to see Nana. After some persuading, Iridessa and I finally snuck out of the house to go see Nana. Once we got to the hospital, Irirdessa pretty much did all the work in finding Nana’s room. I just looked around to see if Nana was anywhere near. Iridessa tapped me on the shoulder and motioned to follow her. When we got to Nana’s room, all I saw was a frail, old, white-haired woman.
“Nana!” I yelled and ran to her bedside.
“Huh? Mira, what are you doing here dear?”
“Iridessa told me that you were at the hospital. What’s wrong with you?”
“Oh nothing. You should go back now, thank you for coming to see me though. Don’t worry I’ll be fine.”
“Okay. But we’ll be back soon with others. I promise.” I said while walking out the door with Iridessa.I wasn’t able to keep that promise. All the rest of the staff was too busy to come see Nana, but they sent their best regards. Mom and Dad were going to be in Paris for another month, so I didn’t even bother asking them. I thought of calling Jake though, I knew he loved Nana just as much as I did. I gathered the courage to call him and finally dialed the number on the phone. He didn’t even pick up or call back when I left a message.
The next morning, Nana died. She had said not to worry about her problem, but she never told us that she had a brain tumor. I wanted to tear this picture up and throw it away, but that’s the problem. The thing is no matter how much you hate looking at something you can’t force yourself to throw it away. You just keeping looking at it, looking at it and wondering why what happened did.
It had been months since Nana left this world. I woke up really late that day. My parents had called the day before and told me that they were leaving for a tour of the world. “Like it’s going to be any different than before,” I thought. I stepped out of my room and headed down the stairs for breakfast, expecting to be woken upon by voices saying good morning. But there was none. I looked around and realized no one was upstairs. I headed down and it was empty as well. “What’s going on?” I thought. I searched the whole house, but it was deserted. I decided to run outside and see if anyone was in the garden.
I opened the front door and ran out side barefoot. I looked all across he garden, but still nothing. I decided to go back inside and call mom and dad. Maybe they knew what was going on here. Just as I was about to reach for the phone I heard a knock on the door. I opened the door hoping it was one of the maids. But it wasn’t. In the doorway stood a black haired boy with sneakers and a jacket, and best of all warm and welcoming blue eyes. I ran up to him, it was my brother! “Hey Frogie,” Jake said. I thought I must be dreaming but I wasn’t Jake, the old Jake, was standing right in front of me. I hugged him tightly while tears of joy raced down my cheeks.
“Hey Jakey.”I replied. This picture I will treasure forever.
To this day I still don’t know who took those pictures. I just woke up this morning to find a package filled with these pictures. There was no return address or anything. I had no clue who or where it was from. I may have not taken these pictures, but they are still very special to me. Sometimes the best picture you can take is not with a camera, but with the heart. Click, click, click.