on a day that could not decide whether it should pour or shine, my brother took a plane far away to never see us again.
‘Never’ even for me seems to be too strong of a word to use, too difficult to handle. ‘Never’ feels like an unreasonable term that does not really pair with family in general. But ‘never’ is a lot more accurate than hoping and wishing on a star that he will come back and say that he’s sorry.
Before I know it, the months will move into a year, following into more and more years till I forget counting. It will become difficult to remember the points in my life that I had a sibling at all. Till my family unknowingly from our own shared trauma of the separation censors every memory that I had from that time to exclude someone that I thought I knew and grew up with.
I didn’t feel much of anything when he left.
Well, maybe except some faint sliver of happiness. The weeks that occurred before, he and I would fight almost every day, only having some moments and lines of decent conversation, of which was usually in the minutes before midnight. I didn’t know anything about who he was in the present day, only the shell that covered his gooey innards remained in my vision. And even then, that too gradually changed. His hair, luscious and curly was transformed into ironed straw that sprung out underneath a pink beanie. The lively and bright colors with images of cars and dinosaurs were morphed into a melancholy tangled web of hooded grey pullovers and vaguely rebellious jeans. The pure love of things that were assumably related to being ‘girly’ became an obsession to prove he was most certainly a man, and never wore a bright sparkly dress.
Most of the time though, he was left to be seen, out with his friends doing God knows what. The worst of days, I would go upstairs after summer school to smell the putrid stench of leftover puke and used underwear filling the air around me. The bathroom was unusable, and reminded me of what people never tell you of getting drunk and partying. It was only later in our typical family gossip where I learned that while I was studying Korean Literature and molding clay into delicate shapes to delight the eye, in those early hours of the morning he was out in Itaewon [E-tey-won] smoking weed, vaping, getting drunk, and starting fights with the police. If my dad didn’t have to leave so early in the morning, we would of never known what he had done behind our backs.
Other times he would walk into the house with a slew of teens, and no indication that he was going to bring them over in the first place. I would wake up to a quiet house. I’d hear the birds chirping outside, and think of all the chores that needed to be done. As I strolled down the stairs, braless, hair in pulled into a loose bun, I would find a bunch of eighteen-year-old boys staring at me up and down. Watching me with those ravenous eyes that I knew all too well. It was embarrassing to say the very least, and no matter how many times I would tell my brother such, he seemed to never listen or never care. Or maybe both. Either way it was a dick thing to do, and he knew it.
Ultimately, the parts that I knew and thought I loved of my brother were breaking at the seams, revealing themselves for the slimy core that oozed out and showing the lies he had tried to hide.
I remembered all of the shitty things he said and did to me when we were much much younger. How I remembered the moments when he would fall down from heights unseen, and I would cry because I loved him so much. And I was worried. Worried that he could of died. There were other times where he fell and I caught him. But anytime I would mention such events to him, he looked at me, dead in the eye, and told me it never happened.
I also remember all the names we called each other. How I feel so shitty to this day for saying that I was happy he wasn’t related by blood. It still stings. I promised myself I would never treat him like that, ever, again. But he never apologized for all the times he would call me “Little Princess” in such a snivy manner, claiming that I was a spoiled brat and anything I wanted, I would get. As if had been given everything in my goddamn life all on golden shining platter.
And there was so much more.
But looking out to the clouds above me, my mind encourages me to stop and realize that the past could never change. Reliving it would only foretell tears, and my eyes already stung in betrayal. Not only for me, but most of all my mom. She gave up her career to help us. She stayed at home to care for everything when the family fell apart. That summer in the city, she was the last one of us to believe that she could help my brother succeed.
When he left, she took the hardest fall of us all.
The house was deathly silent, each step echoing as I waited for the whine of the water boiler to announce I could make coffee. I tended to go out to town most days doing anything I could to fill the void of losing my brother and mother in one swift blow. More times than not, seeing all the happy families and couples ambling about did more damage than it ever did help.
At night she would appear outside of her room, but we would fight. The night would end with one of us shrieking at eachother and running away to our room, even though both of us knew how the other felt.
We both still hurt, but we laugh nowadays to make it feel more normal. She and I have only grown stronger together.
But sometimes, he still texts me.
He tells me: “I miss you.“
And that’s what hurts most of all.