There are only two of us. That should make us two peas in a pod, right? The best of friends, right? Except we aren't. And we never were. Not even from the start. We've been polar opposites ever since birth. You came just two and a half years before me, yet you were never someone I could look up to. Oh, if only I could tell you how badly I wanted to.
You used to tell people we weren't related; they’d think I was adopted. In school, you avoided me like I was a plague. You come and go, but you’re still always around me. At every angle and every corner of my life. Nobody gets it. I don’t even think we do. It goes like this: I know you, but you don’t know me. You keep the heat on in your car, even when it's ninety degrees outside. And you like to drive with one hand sitting on the cupholder, even with no drink inside. You never tuck your shirt in-for fear of wrinkling it-until you’ve gotten where you’re going, even though you didn’t iron it beforehand. You absolutely bleed orange and could eat breakfast every meal of your life.
You happily watch Pirates of the Carribbean over and over again. If there is a sport, you want to play it. All of your favorites swirl inside my mind. You’re my brother, of course I know you. I see you. Yet you don't know mine. Or anything about me. My birthday passed, and you forgot entirely. You didn’t say two words to me the entire week, but you hadn’t spoken to me in months. I shouldn’t have been shocked.
You yell and scream at me, like I mean nothing to you. You phase me out altogether, and then make it my fault. I never asked for this. I didn't want a broken heart. "Siblings by chance, friends by choice.” That was our intention. Right? Some days it seems like it was everyone else’s, except for ours.
Our blood runs deep. Our parents are the same. When times are tough, shouldn’t we have each other? Where can we turn? Who do we run to? We’ve been forced to build bonds outside of each other because of who we are. But sometimes, I have no one. You failed me.
I want to paint a different picture. I don’t want to see things this way. I want you to care and fight for me. Maybe just once, you might think of me. Have you ever thought of me? Not because someone asked about me or because mom or dad made you or because you had to give me ride somewhere, but because you simply wondered how I was or what I was up to one day.
I can’t tell you how often I think of you. You are my brother; I will always care deeply for you.
Here, I lay my words. Here, I give a new hope to the rest of us. The peas not in their pods. Those who find themselves to be night and day. The endless cycles of never getting along. Maybe one of the pair is like you, not giving a single care for what is happening on the other side, living your life just as you please, without a care for anyone except you. And then, maybe the other is like me, looking for peace, and striving to spread joy.
We may never get a close bond, and our memories might all have a sour twist tied in their somewhere, but whoever said we couldn’t write a new ending for ourselves?
- - - - -
“Katie, who was that back there?” Tate asks. He walks over to his silver Avalon. He doesn’t make a move to unlock it, he simply stands there.
“Nobody,” I reply.
“I’m serious, what was that?” He pesters.
“It was nothing,” I admit. It really was nothing. I’ll make sure it’s nothing. Mean girls are everywhere.
“It didn’t look like nothing,” Tate says. He crosses his arms and leans on the trunk of the car.
“I promise. I can take care of myself,” I say, sighing. You’d think he’d get tired of being an overprotective big brother at some point, but apparently not.
“I know you can. Just know I’m always here for you. Even if I give you some noogies along the way.” He pulls me over, rubbing his knuckles on my head, giving me one.
“Tate!” We both laugh as he finally unlocks the car. He drives to and from school everyday. We load up and head home.
“How was practice?” We both ask at the same time.
“You first,” I ask. Tate’s our high school’s starting quarterback. He’s led the football team to victory every Friday night, and is about to do it in the state championships.
“Same as usual. Okay, no. Really great. The boys are stoked for the game. Energy is high, and it’s paying off,” he replies. He’s grinning ear to ear.
“Sounds like we’ll be getting a win this Friday!” I say. Tate likes to win, even though he’d never admit it. He’s a natural born leader.
“How about you guys? We’ve gotta have that halftime show,” He says.
“Practice was great. We had our best run through today. This year’s band show is my favorite,” I reply.
“Katie, you say that every year,” Tate teases.
“I can’t help it! They’re all my favorites!” I exclaim.
Once we reach our house, we head inside. It’s just past six, and our mom, Annie, is making dinner.
“Hey kids! Dinner’s almost ready. How was everything?” she asks.
“This year’s band show is Katie’s favorite,” Tate says.
“And Tate will be leading the team to yet another victory this Friday,” I say. We don’t always answer for each other, but today is special. It’s a good day.
“Another favorite I see? And more Friday night victories? I just can’t keep up with you two!” Mom laughs.
“What would you do without us?” Tate asks
“I don’t know. I really don’t know. I love you guys,” she says.
“We love you,” I reply. Tate nods in agreement. We head off to our rooms to get some homework done before dinner. I stop by his room before heading into mine. He looks up from where he stands at his desk.
“You okay?” He asks.
“Same time tomorrow?” I joke. He smiles.
“You’ve got that right,” He replies.