Is He Really Even Here?

September 24, 2007
By emily bergum, Grand Junction, CO

I used to think that my brother was just another stupid boy who had cooties. Not to long ago did my view of that change. Well, a while ago I changed my mind on the cooties of course, but his being just another guy has changed.

At a very young age my brother and I got along great, we never fought or argued. As we grew up more we started to bicker regularly. We would argue at the smallest things, for example, if it was my day to vacuum and I hadn’t yet, he would start to tell me to do it before mom got home; I would start telling him he wasn’t mom, and that he couldn’t tell me what to do. We would argue for the next half hour or until one of our parents got home to put us in time out. To me it seemed like he wanted to make me mad, just to get a reaction out of me. At times that is what he wanted. He knew what buttons to push to send me over the edge. I would do the same to him too, sometimes. Little things would set either of us off; he didn’t want to empty the dishwasher, so he’d tell me to empty half. I would start telling him that no, I had homework, there was nothing in it for me, and it was his chore anyways. Just that easily we would have a topic we didn’t agree on and we would start arguing. There where times when I would start crying I got so upset with him. I couldn’t stand him.

It was like this for quite a few years. Then when he started high school everything seemed to change. His social life started to pick up and it seemed like he was always doing something. We still argued a lot, especially his freshman year. We had gotten so bad that my parents could hardly leave us home alone for and hour with out us calling them to resolve a situation. Numerous times were we threatened to have a babysitter watch us while our parents were gone. Come his sophomore year, he got his license and it seemed like he was always gone. He either had a school project, or one of his friends was doing something and wanted him to come. From about that point on he and I started seeing less and less of each other. This meant we bickered less. This also meant that with the less I saw of him the more we drifted. It was almost as if our arguing had been our way of getting to know each other. That’s how I would talk to my brother about something; argue with him to find out his opinion on a subject. Since he was always gone, I didn’t talk to him at all, we started drifting, and there were times when I felt I couldn’t talk to him at all. It was awkward to even talk to my own brother. I felt at times as though he was a total stranger to me. It was weird, really unnatural. Yet there were times I was glad he wasn’t there to argue with me, there were times I was glad he was gone. Even odder, were the times when I actually missed him.

When he hit his junior year, and I my freshman, he and I only really talked in the mornings, ready to go, or which radio station conversations. They could hardly be called conversations; More an exchanging of a few words ever once and a while. The car drives to school or when he drove me to a friend’s house, were filled with either a long awkward silence or the radio blasting until I said good bye. My view of my brother was changing; now, he seemed like some strange guy, just there. Like an old friend that had lost touch and now was showing up and happened to live with me.
My freshman year went on like this for a while, and then I started to see my brother as cool. He had a laid back feel about him. I was envious of him; he didn’t and still doesn’t have to work hard to get things in school. I always saw the good side of him. Towards the end of my freshman year, we started talking more in the morning and he started telling me random things, like how to drive a manual transmission car or how you should drive under different weather conditions. One morning he was quizzing me on the name and artist of the songs that came on the radio. Of course he knew who they were, that too added to my admiration towards him. After our drifting apart, it seemed as though we were sort of getting closer again.
Then over this past summer, it seems he went through a total change in personality and attitude. He started fighting with my parents more and more. He was going through a power struggle with my parents. The constant arguing was really getting on my nerves! I would always hide up in my room while the argued. He was gone even more than he used to be it seemed. There were plenty of times that I was scared he would run away, even a couple nights that I silently cried myself to sleep because of him. I was worried, that was one emotion I thought I would have never felt about my brother while in high school.
Without noticing it, we were drifting more than ever. In the speed it takes to flip on the lights, it felt as though he was a stranger again. I didn’t like it. Not one bit. I knew that he was starting to get into bad stuff, I didn’t know exactly what, but I had ideas. I’d been told things about some of the friends that he hangs out with; stories about what they do on the weekends. Not the best things either. I was scared for my brother now. I was scared that he might mess up really bad, scared that he wouldn’t get by so easily in life as he used to. I really wanted my brother to change, to be that stupid immature boy with cooties again. Something else, just so that he didn’t get himself or somebody else hurt.
He’s been pretty busy lately because he recently got his pilot’s license. I think that is so cool, and I now want to get mine before I graduate high school. I still look up to him like I have in the past but; I also look down on him too, for what he did in the past. He’ll be graduation this spring and be going off to collage next fall. I don’t like to let on but I’m really worried about what he’ll do there. He may not know it but he’s taught me many things through his actions and mistakes, I only hope he learns just as many things through his actions and mistakes before it’s too late.
I’ve often been told that as you get older, you get closer to your siblings. I’m really hoping that this is true. Or at least that I’ll one day be able to talk to him and feel that it’s not like talking to a stranger. Right now, I feel that I’ve lost my brother, emotionally. I miss him. Though I am seeing more of him now, I sometimes wonder if he’s really even here.

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