This is how it works
This is for when we first lifted our faces to the sky and swallowed the snow that winter day. Small and bundled, red noses and cheeks. I once made you go first on the sleigh, and watched you freefall into a snow covered tree. I used to finish your sentences, with my words, what I thought you should mean. I still do that sometimes. I still lecture you, not because you're smaller than me now, but because I can't get my words out just right.
Funny. I've never had any trouble getting my words out. But words are stickiest when they are meant to cover the ones closest to us. I don't always know what to say to your shag mop hair and freckles and big blueberry eyes. We are so alike, yet so different and so set about. Fire and Ice. Fire and Fire. We have the same determined drive you know. We have the same confidence, sarcastic, often cocky but more self assured than anything. We are both as stubborn as our father, as willed as the oceans crashing around us. We assume a cape of quiet and wear it as a shield till we break out in booming voices.
I was always the parrot costume squawking at you in your white lion costume. I sang "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" in that talent show and you pretended to snore on stage, in your zipped up lion fur. We always were performers. Sometimes I yell at you to get my way and then play my I'm tired, I had a bad day, you started it card and come out as shrew to get my way again. I'll yell at you again, when you try to open my door tonight. Tonight for the millionth time, knock on my door..
Can I come in?
I..I'm bored..I have a question or I..nevermind
Why? Because the White Lion never got over his Parrot. And we all know a parrot doesn't like to be disturbed, she needs her space. She needs an entire tree canopy to herself and she doesn't understand the white lion. When she was younger she used to hold his hand and they would skip down the street, when he was scared he crawled into her blue and yellow bed. We made plays, I forced you to play all the strange parts and kept the monologues to myself. If I was the proud Pilgrim, you just had to be the dancing Indian. If I were the space invader, you were the bad alien.
We had this two twin bears with heart stitched overalls. We created a world named Heartland, made them a house and created complex stories about them. I used to lay on the bottom bunk with our little brother and tell you stories about Odie and Codie, two dogs that were always in scrapes. I did voices and motions and kicked and hollered till you screamed in laughter. I told you all about camp, about the treasure hunts and rivers. We built fairy houses and I believed much longer than you did. I still believe. And you don't.
Now you tell me I'm weird, that I am really really strange. Granted. I tell you you're needy, you're annoying. Granted.
But then who isn't?
And no matter what I call you, no matter how many times I kick you out of my room, lecture you, steal your favorite belt, yell at your spelling or tell you to go away, no matter how many times you are embarrassed that I still dance to music in supermarket aisles, that you tell me I'm weird or say I'm being mean or take change from my change jar, beg me to play Halo or scream at my dog...
You will always be my little white lion boy. You will always be my baby brother. And though you may never ever see this, I will always love you.
Because that is how this works.