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Estrangement

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My brother (whom I call Weiner for no paticular reason) and I saw Terminator last week. Weiner screamed (rather theatrically, I might add) and covered his eyes every half hour. We saw Speed a few nights ago, on Thursday, to the same effect.

Weiner has a passion for action movies. We'll go to the local Videorado and he'll rush to some DVD with a dusty, bloodied hero on the cover, pressing it to his chest and shaking his head vigorously when I mention that in Die Hard a few characters lose some limbs and Bruce Willis bungees with a firehose. Wouldn't he prefer Finding Nemo? No? How about Bridge to Terabithia?

But of course he'll already be running towards the register.

We'll walk home, he swinging a plastic bag with our DVD's inside, holding dad's hand when we cross the street. Usually it is late twilight when we walk by this path from the video rental store to our apartment and the distinction between night and day becomes more and more apparent. My father gets edgier as the sky darkens - our concrete strip of suburbia is not the safest of places to hang around in pitch darkness and, though we live on a decently safe area, my parents are frightfully paranoid people.

Weiner enjoys it though. Fear runs easily through his veins, but the danger associated with evening does not fully register with him. He's a people watcher, like me. Maybe more observant, his child eyes seeing more than mine can, unclouded by pretenses and sterotypes. He doesn't feel shame, not yet, from pointing at pigeons, or teenagers smoking on sidewalks. He's unabashed, giggling when something seems funny, face drooping in opposite scenarios. He doesn't feel restrained, not embarrased when people, animals, hold his stare. It feels normal to him.

Watching him, I can't help but think what the world is through his eyes. What would he do if confronted by this, or this? What would he say? What is he thinking now, seeing a thousand different things at once? What does he feel?

It's not hard to tell, not now. I'll look at him, he will smile, giving up his thoughts freely. Sentiments will not be witheld. He will speak if I ask him too, tell me about his day, the girl he likes, if I wish it.

I know it won't last - how could it? Someday he will be ashamed by his ideas, his secret dreams. He will not speak of them to our mother, our father. Or me. He will not call me his best friend, will not hug me spontaneously. Will become attached to things I do not understand, share secret jokes with people I do not like. Will drift. Slowly. Solemnly. But surely.

I know I'm getting too sentimental now, too sisterly, too annoyingly possesive. Secretly, I know I would hate this, hate being clung to by an older sibling. And yet these feelings come, despite my struggles. I'll see him run down the pavement, plastic bag in hand, disappearing from sight. A knot will curl in my stomach, tight. He will stop. He will turn back, assure himself that I am following.

I am.





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