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I Am Not My Brother This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   When my brother was eighteen, he left his father in the Dominican Republic to join our family in East New York. From the moment he arrived, there were problems.

I was only ten years old at the time, but I can still hear the arguments that erupted between my mother and him just about every morning at 4 a.m. That was when my brother usually returned home. He seemed to be spending all his time drinking and smoking weed with his new friends. During the day he worked in a sewing factory.

After a year, my mother kicked my brother out of the house. She was tired of him coming home drunk or high every morning. So my brother took all his belongings and left. He moved to the Lower East Side and, within a few days, he was dealing drugs.

A month later, my mother received a phone call from the police. My brother had been caught selling cocaine. An undercover cop asked him for some cocaine and just as the deal was completed, the cop arrested him.

My brother was sentenced to three years in prison. While he was serving his time at Rikers Island, his partner was killed. If my brother hadn't been in prison, he might have been murdered too.

Now my brother is back in the Dominican Republic. He's no longer hanging out or dealing drugs. But everything's changed for me as well. My mother is afraid that I am going to be just like my brother. She doesn't let me hang out with anyone she hasn't met. She doesn't want me going to parties or staying out late at night.

What my mother doesn't realize is that I have learned from my brother's mistakes. I am not my brother. c


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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