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Cristo Alexander

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It was raining outside, but not a hard, driving rain, more like a slight drizzle. A light breeze teased the ends of my hair and clouds adorned the sky like leaves in the fall. There were a few puddles scattered here and there in the long stretch of gravel road before me. Mud marked the edges of the once-green lawn and threatened to swallow the rhododendron bushes whole. Was summer really so long ago? It seemed like just yesterday the birds were out and the flowers were in full bloom. I can still hear the buzz of bumblebees that run rampant in the summer months here.

A small squeal of delight brought me back to reality as a smiling little boy popped up in the window in front of me. I opened the door and was almost instantly attacked by an eighteen month little boy with a grin the size of Texas on his face. “Up,” he requested, stretching his plump arms as high as they would go. I picked him up, admiring his dark hair and brown eyes. His cheeks were rosy with the excitement and his eyes glistened at the sight of his sister. Of course he missed me, the rare weekend visits were only a moment long.

He wore a blue and green striped shirt with dark khaki pants. The stripes went horizontally across his skinny frame making him appear wider than he really was. The pants drew attention to his dark features so his eyes seemed to shine brighter that day. His face was covered with the day’s lunch, but he didn’t seem to mind. A huge grin inhabited his face for the majority of the day. He walked but struggled at it. Each step he took was deliberate and took some time, as he seemed to stop and plan each move. The process went something like: Step, pause, step, pause, step, pause. This process went on for a million years before he gave up and sat down.

No sooner had he sat down than he got right back up on his feet. The look on his face revealed all. The smile that had taken residence on his face had been replaced by a look of determination. His eyes squinted, his mouth tightened, and he started walking again. I just sat there and watched my brother from a stool nearby. I knew he had a persistent attitude and would keep on going until he got it right. Every step he took improved as the planning time started to shrink. The smile came back to his face as he realized that he could walk.

I moved to the floor and sat in front of him. His head cocked to the side with a look of confusion as if he were saying, “What are you doing sissy?” I held out my arms and a look of understanding spread across his face. He walked the few steps and fell into my arms. I scooped him up and held him high in the air. I counted slowly to three. A short laugh erupted each time I said a number. At three I swung him down as he laughed. That motion was repeated until I was sweating from the effort and my arms would barely move. My little brother remained attached to me however, and I continued to carry him around.

This service was not free of cost though. I looked at him, blew a couple of fake kisses and said, “Kissy.” He leaned forward and gave me a kiss. “I love you boy,” was my response. He gave me a hug, squeezing my shoulders with his pudgy fingers. He lay that way with his head atop my shoulder for some time. I just pivoted slowly in a half-circle. A small yawn escaped and I knew it wouldn’t be much longer before he was asleep. A sure-fire way to get him to sleep was to whisper in his ear. I had done it since he was born, so to him it was a comforting ritual. I started whispering random things about him and sleep into his ear. I could hear his breathing even out as his body went limp. I tried to lay him down on the couch, but he woke up. So instead I grabbed the remote to the T.V. and lay him on my chest.

We sat like that for a good hour. He slept on top of me while I watched a movie on the television. At a commercial I stopped and looked down at my little brother. He was so handsome. There was just a peaceful air about him as he slept. His mouth was parted slightly and his chest rose and fell with each loud, quivering breath. I looked at his eyes. They were lightly closed and his thick eyelashes were lines of molasses atop a smooth, brown sugar face. His light brown hair was damp with sweat and had been tossed in a million directions. He literally had bed head. I combed my fingers through his fine hair trying to smooth it. My efforts were worth little however because he turned over shortly after and messed it all up again. I smiled at this handsome little boy I was proud to call my brother.
Finally he started to stir and I saw an eye open. Although he was obviously awake, neither of us moved. After what seemed like an eternity, he rolled off of me with a little assistance. He walked up to the T.V. and made a sound that meant he wanted me to change the channel. With some difficulty I found “Go Diego Go!” and turned the channel to that. He had been in the process of walking back to me, but when he heard his favorite show on he stopped dead in his tracks. He turned to face the T.V. and stood there, unmoving. I walked up to him and sat him down so he wouldn’t fall over. This was his routine. A few times a day the channel would be changed to one of his shows and he would stand like a statue until it was over. Rarely he would dance along to the music or squeal when Diego did something amazing. I just sat back and watched, chuckling to myself.
As the show came to an end he walked away slowly, almost as if he thought that at any moment Diego would come back onto the T.V. When he was sure that the program was over he made his way into the kitchen and started playing with the pots and pans. After a good five minutes of searching, he found what he had been looking for: The strainer. He seemed to think that he was invisible if the strainer was atop his head. We usually played along with this little game of his. I helped with this by shouting, “Oh no! Where’s Cristo?” He threw off his “invisibility hat” and squealed to let me know where he was. I took a fake sigh of relief, “Oh! Thank goodness! There you are!” This game went on for a good ten minutes until he became bored with the whole situation.
Sadly, now it was time for me to go. I picked up my little brother and gave him a kiss. “I love you boy, and I’ll miss you,” I told him. This was always the hardest part of my visits. I hated having to leave. My mother held him up to the window so he could watch me leave. I tried stalling for as long I could, but you can’t avoid the inevitable. He started to cry as I opened the door. I waved goodbye, and stepped out into the rain.





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