My Brother the Drunk
As he walked past me, I glanced up at him timidly. I looked into his eyes, realizing they were exactly like mine. Quickly I shifted my gaze to the floor, not wanting to make eye contact. It wasn't always this awkward between us, but something had changed.
My brother stood tall a few feet in front of me. He was almost towering, and I felt myself become very nervous. With his head held high, he walked over to me. He asked how I was doing; I told him that I was fine. My brother flipped his head back in a cocky manner, as if to emphasize his ear-length hair. I secretly rolled my eyes. Making small talk, I asked him how school was going. He replied that it was great and that all his teachers loved him. He also commented on how he might be playing baseball for his college again this year. I smiled and said that that was wonderful. He didn't bother to ask how school was going for me. Feeling strange, I told him that I had to run. We said our goodbyes and he began to leave. As he left, I noticed the way he walked. It wasn't a normal walk. It was a walk that commanded everyone's attention. It was a steady stride. With his shoulders back and head up, I could tell that everyone at the grocery store was watching him. Unfortunately, so could he.
As children, my brother and I were very close. Well, as close as a brother and sister can be. We played together all of the time, and he always tucked me into bed at night. Sometimes, when I was scared of the dark, he would take all of my stuffed animals and surround me with them. In elementary school, he was very protective of me. He always made sure that no one was bothering me.
We had our fights, though. My brother was never wrong. Anything we disagreed about was my fault. I guess as a child, it really didn't bother me. Whenever we played games he was a sore loser and a poor winner. I was the baby of the family so he got mad when I got more attention. He picked on me when we played with my cousins, and then I would tell on him and he would get in trouble. But we would always forget about our fights, and soon we would be getting along.
When I was in seventh grade my brother decided to go into the Navy. It was very hard on my family because we were so close. At night, I could hear my parents talking about it. My brother was determined to go, no matter what.
The summer before my eighth-grade year, he left. We took him up to Rockford, where he would be bussed to Chicago for boot camp. My parents cried and cried. It was very difficult to see him go.
In the years that followed I wrote my brother all the time. I would tell him how school was going and what I was up to. I remember crying when he would answer my letters. He told me about his meeting new...