He was Yin and I was Yang. Since we were kids, it’s always been that way. Just a whole 15 months apart, my older brother and I have always been polar opposites. He, my father’s right hand, at his side pretty much from the very beginning. Me, always preferring the warmth of my mother’s comfort.
When apa would ask who wants to come to work with me today?, or ama would insist he take one of us with him to teach us the “real value of hard work,” he’d jump at the opportunity, I’d run and hide so I wouldn’t have to go. The few times we did end up going together, Chuy was all energy and will – what do I do now apa? show me how to do it, let me try – I, on the other hand, was more hands off. Sitting on the wayside mostly, trying to stay cool, away from the sun, playing with whatever rocks and sticks I could find.
At home with mom, I had all the freedom in the world to make-believe and play in my imaginary world outside. We were in the country so nature was my playground.
Over the years, though, we did begin to bond a lot more. Probably more than anything because we were accomplices – I’d say there weren’t more than a handful of travesuras that he did without me, or I did without him. We worked well together. He was the mastermind. I was the sidekick. Like Batman and Robin, Fred Flinstone and Barney Rubble, Shaggy and Scooby-Doo, or any other of the cartoon characters we grew up with. Despite our differences our shared mischievousness brought us together.
Chuy taught me how to shoplift, how to skip, how to play cool, how to look hard, and how not to let anybody punk me. Though I struggled with the latter through most of my middle school years anyway. People knew he was my brother and I knew if it came down to it he’d always be willing to stick up for me, so we were cool. Until we hit our teenage years. Then once again he was the cool one… me just the nerdy younger brother. “To each his own,” we thought, hardly ever meddling in the other’s business, except for when it came to girls.
That was the universal language we both spoke. The one we could stay up hours talking about, joking about… him giving me tips on how to win over my crushes, although they hardly ever worked. Chuy was always a lot smoother with the ladies than I was.
Outside of that, he’d take me to school and bring me back home in his low-rider-looking Chevy every day, but that was that. He had his own friends. I had mine. Still, every once in a while, usually late at night in the summers, when it was particularly humid and hot, he’d come in and say hey, you want to go to Dairy Queen? To which I’d reply yeah. We’d get in that car, which also had hydraulics – it was a shiny maroon color with custom rims and very low-riding tires that every once in a while he’d jump up and down for our amusement, and ride all the way to the fast food ice cream spot a good 15 minutes away from our house. We’d order a couple of banana splits and just sit there talking about everything and anything.
I learned more about my brother in those conversations than during any other of our convivencias throughout the years. In that low-rider I came to respect him, to admire him, and to look up to him.
I think, even if just a little, he learned to do the same for me.
Oh that’s so cute!! I think we should all try to be close to each other and respect each other. I love both of you so much.
Yes, you’re right! Nothing more important than staying together as a family. It was so much fun growing up so close together… all seven of us 🙂
1. I feel el antojo of a Dairy Queen now! Ack!
2. Siblings rock the world.
I feel the same way about “mi Sisterna”. She has become my accomplice, my best friend, my support and guidance in so many ways.
Ya me hicites chillar Juan! Gonna go call her. We miss each other so much that that´s why we started blogging together.
Hey! Would your bro be up to guest blogging here? It would be so interesting to hear his side of the story as well. I´m sure it would be full of love and admiration for you, his HERMANO.
Great post Compadrito!
smiles. at times we may have tried to kill each other growing up but i love my bro and sis…
Interesting & funny to know….
Lots of good memories growing up. Sue, I don’t think my brother would be to particularly fond of that idea, but yes, it would be a lot of fun, I agree, to read his take 🙂
Brian, you’re right! Even though we couldn’t stand each other sometimes as kids, as adults we can’t deny the fact that we are brothers. As they say, blood is always thicker than water.
And The Kids, thanks for the comment!
Love this, Juan. Reminds me of the relationship I had growing up with my little sister, (we’re 2 yrs apart.) We went through a phase as teenagers where we also went our separate ways for the most part – it was hard to find common ground, we had our own friends and didn’t hang out like we used to. We used to bond over random runs to McDonald’s or 7-11, things like that – just like your trips to DQ… I’m thankful that we eventually made it through that phase where we were sort of distant. As adults, she is one of the few people I know I can tell anything. We have over 20 years of “inside jokes” between us, so when we get together, sometimes it’s like we speak our own language. That is the best thing about siblings – to express so much with just a couple words like, ‘Remember ____?’ — LOL. Thanks for the memories and smile this morning!
This post made me smile! What a happy memory that must be for you. You described it so well, I felt like I was there watching the whole thing!
Thank you Victory! Makes me happy that you could connect with this piece. Te quiero 🙂