Eldest is done with high school every day by 12:30. On Wednesdays, Youngest gets out a tad after 1 p.m. So Wednesday is their day of confluence. Youngest annoys the bejesus out of Eldest. He has for years upon years. Because, each of them, is who he is.
Today, when Eldest said he was going to go grab a burger and maybe Youngest would want to go with him, a memory started tap-tap-tapping me.
I am four years younger than my oldest brother, the protector of his two youngest siblings. He is the one I would run to, screaming for him to save me from my older brother. And he would step in. Because he was the oldest child, the one the parents lean on to always -- always -- do the right thing. And so he did.
As I begin to formulate the post, my two boys have arrived home, now, and Youngest is talking Eldest's ear off. Eldest brings me my receipt, and I say, "Did he behave?" "Oh, yeah," he says. "We played a trivia game on our way home."
I have nothing to do with my oldest brother now. I haven't for years upon years. It's the culmination of a colossal shift in his belief system. Not as bad as being a member of Scientology, but close enough. Je-cough-cough-hova. Cough cough. Honestly? It might as well be ISIS. [Fuck you, it might as well be.]
I won't be around when they reach the true ages of maturity. I will neither know nor care what becomes of their relationship. In this moment, I am beyond satisfied that my boys are my boys, and that they will make their way. Which isn't to say that I don't hear the niggling of long-ago memories and hope that they make their own way without losing the way of the other.
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