He is half times two equals one growing friendship.

October 24, 2009
By , Newington, CT
I was smoldering underneath the sun's heat, compressed in a mini-van loaded with twenty people. I watched a woman, dressed in a drag, scrub down her clothes in a bucket on the side of the street. Through the window, I saw the hardships of poverty cry out to me. Then the van stopped. The front door opened and there he was standing next to my cousin. My skin became suddenly conscious with the cold air blowing in front of me. No words could describe the tension I felt as I sat there staring at him for the longest second. Instead of welcoming him with open arms, I positioned myself to look the other way. I felt embarrassed for giving him such an ignorant, faint-hearted first impression. This was normally not me when it comes to meeting new people. I watched as everyone embraced him as a new member to the family. Then they all turned to me to witness my reaction. How was I suppose to look at him as my brother? A year ago, I didn't even knew he existed. I found out that my father had an affair fourteen years ago when we still lived in the Philippines, but it never occurred to him to foresee the consequences of his infidelity.

When we arrived at the resort, my cousin asked me, "How did you feel when you found out that you had a half-brother?" The nature in me was roaring with fury, but I was more concerned with my mother's injured heart. My eyes reverted to his direction. It occurred to me that he was skinny to the bones. Here was a kid who doesn't see daylight much and walks miles everyday to only buy food he can afford. School is his only haven outside from the secluded world he dwells in. Here I was complaining about the burden of juggling school and social life in my busy schedule. By then, my emotions were altering rapidly, but I only found myself feeling more remorseful than ever.

It was a matter of time that I approach him by myself. I will give him the casual “hello” following a conversation. As I stared at him, I saw the eagerness in his eyes to get to know me. It would be selfish of me to not feel the same way. Indeed, here was an individual searching for a sense of belonging. His biological father abandoned him and his stepfather rejected him. It dawned on me that I would have to look at him as my brother. I faced him again and was completely surprised by his sudden tremor to hide in the corner. The impact of his panic attack awakened me to suddenly realize the courageous individual he truly was. I was moved by his guts to step foot into an unfamiliar world of endless possibilities and reconcile with the people who were once unfavorable of him being born into this world.

When we step into a family, we step into a world of self-discovery, which will inevitably reflect our strengths, weaknesses, and dreams. I looked at him and I saw myself opening up to the never-ending opportunities and challenges awaiting me. I would say to myself, don’t be overwhelmed with fear and timidity - that sort of passive way of approaching the road ahead would lead you to a way that is lost. I am amazed by his triumph over his fears and as a result he now finds himself feeling important in people’s lives. It is hard for me to believe that fourteen years was taken away from us. I told him, “I hate salad.” He replied back, “What! You too? I thought I was the only one.” Friendship was born when I found out that I wasn’t alone when it comes to my uncanny disinterests and interests. Those lost fourteen years with him would soon rekindle into a growing, eternal relationship between a brother and a sister.

When my dad told me that I only have two days to get to know him before we head back to the United States, I felt weak to my knees. The sudden woe kindled me to realize the significant impact he had on me. As we said our goodbyes, the song, “I’m Yours” by Jason Mraz started playing on the radio. The words, “Open up your mind and see like me/ Open up your plans and man you’re free/ ‘Cause our time is short” echoed through my ears like a million chords. Sitting on my bed writing this essay, he inspired me to overcome the challenges that I will soon face through these next years in college and beyond. Now it is my turn as the elder sibling to influence him to make the right decisions in his future.

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Bethani said...
Mar. 25, 2010 at 9:43 pm
great! i love it!
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