To My Brother

January 24, 2010
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The man who inspired this is not my brother. He is not even my family (though he may be related through Noah) but what is family but a term for those who are our home when home becomes a strange place? Despite our lack of blood-relation, he is more of a family to me than any have been ever; he is closer to me and knows more about me than any living human. That is why he is my brother.
I love no other as much as I love my brother. No, not even myself. “No greater love has one than this: that he lay down his life for his friends”. I would kill and be killed for this man; I would walk across a bed of hot coals at 2 AM in the morning so he can satisfy his Coca-Cola craving. That is why he is my brother.
Now there are friends, then there are close friends, then best friends, then there is this. I hope and pray that I am not the only who gets to have this, because in many ways I believe this brotherhood is a nutritional need in the same way that food and water are. One can say I feel a sapped emptiness when I am away from my brother for too long. That is why he is my brother.
Now each of these levels of friendship has their criteria and their responsibilities. It’s not necessarily a rubric or a chart one can check off and then rest assured that they are friends. It is an unwritten code of conduct, which one feels and knows to be true; they even differ with closeness and gender. With each level the criteria and responsibilities change: they ebb and flow as one gets to know the other, solidifying more and more as time passes, and if nothing is to come of the situation then the rules slacken and become fluid until they rush away between one’s fingers and that is the end of it.
Now it is an unarguable fact that once a body reaches the level of brotherhood (or sisterhood or siblinghood, there is no restraint according to gender) the bond is so solid that even time of “growing apart” cannot fully break the rules (one rule being to not grow apart). Even after years of partition and going separate ways you can always find the brother on Facebook, or in a coffee shop on a road trip and it will be awkward and glorious just like it once was when your age was awkward and glorious. Though the memories are subject to change without notice they are memories just the same. As brothers, you have built up a history as solid as the history textbooks you threw out the window together (okay. Maybe that’s just something my brother and I would do)
Now who your brother is, is a colossal decision that comes with deceiving ease. (Not sure what to do with this sentence but I like it)
Having a friend is a huge responsibility, and one must be ready to give as well as to take, one must be willing to pay attention as the friendship increases, and adapt as necessary. Love is a labor. You must be willing to work and slave away. Humans are stressful and if you take on the duty you must be there from dusk to dawn. All humans will reach a midnight in their lives, as a brother you have agreed to be there when that midnight comes and bring the morning. You must love, though it break every bone in your body, and I promise, it will. All this is a thousand times more true in brotherhood.
Life is an uphill battle wrought with pain and suffering. Often you will hurt your friend, but therein lies one of the major rules that makes a friend a brother. When you hurt a friend, often there is separation and when it is healed it usually heals awkwardly and it is often less painful to just end the whole situation. But when one hurts a brother, there is bedrock that can not be broken, a foundation from which anything can be rebuilt. Severely few offenses can drill into this bedrock, mind you, they exist, so one must watch one’s self, but the pangs are few and far between.
Now it is a whole new story when others hurt us. One of the greatest blessings of brotherhood is the benefit of a crutch when you break your leg. As brothers you are comrades. When the world wages war on your soul, you know who to call. He is your reinforcement, your confidant. You share scars. The one you got hopping the fence a week ago, the one you got wrestling with your dog, the one you got falling off your bike, the one you got when your dad got drunk and you hid in the attic, the one you got when that girl threw away your heart. When everyone hates you there are three that will not: Your God, your dog, and your brother. Without your brother winter takes a new chunk of your flesh and you are left without a respite. No matter what happens in life, how low you go, wherever you fall, you are a king when you have your brother.
Not everything is serious, but the foundation is as real and serious as the human need for it. Brotherhood isn’t just for when life is a brutal skull bashing, it isn’t just a job. Its fun, it is a game. We take the world with how we think it is, trash what they tell us, truth may be hidden but it screams from the rubble to be found. So what if they are aged and wise? They are also cowards. We are the next America, as long as they do battle with us, they fight a country just as alive, just as vital as they once were. They fight their own country, we ask them to teach us, lead us, love us, pass the torch on and end this Uncivil War. We talk about our world, where it is, where we are going, what we are going to do to it. We will conquer it all together.
My brother and I like to sneak about. We run around in the dead of past curfew, jumping the black, avoiding ourselves, cheating death, embracing our souls, all by the light of the night. Ours is a youthful brotherhood. Yet, we are growing, as we age, we become more subdued. We plan our futures, for real this time, he’s gonna be a cop, I’m still a little up in the air, probably the military. Yet…there is still a wild fire. We can never die. We are invincible, we are transcendent. Maybe we’ll room up together! Yeah that’s right, then be a cop duo… ha! We laugh and we laugh, though age causes us to subside.
We are always brothers, always will be. In a heartbeat a knife pulled on my brother will be met with my own. In a heartbeat I would run three miles at midnight through the freezing rain to get Denny’s night owl special, just because I know that when we come back we’ll be to fat to hop our fence and the inside joke will last a century.
I love my brother and always will. I can not explain it, I can only exalt it. There are aspects, there are criteria, but really you just feel it. You know it. One look, one word and there is an understanding (that, by the way, is the basis of the inside joke), it is in the air you raise your fists in. I love my brother. For a time now we have been separated and the feelings lie dormant (they must hibernate in order to not rage in pain). I know, though, that the second I see him. We will be family once again.
That is why he is my brother
I love you Colin.

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