A Random Story: Knock on wood…
I clearly remember the day I received the news. My father and step mother, your parents, got into a car accident. It was your first birthday and they wanted to come home earlier to celebrate. They told me the you cried the entire night and only went to sleep after tiring yourself out from all that crying. You were only a baby and you didn’t understand why you were crying, they said. But I knew that you knew. Even if you didn’t understand it at the time, you knew that they weren’t coming back.
I never got the chance to see them one last time, because they held the mass and funeral service a few days before I arrived. They wanted to delay the burial until I got back, but I didn’t want them to; partly for respect of the dead and partly because I could not have stood to see them in their caskets. I didn’t want to see the shades of blue, purple, and black desperately hidden in a thick layer of make-up. I didn’t want to see their seemingly sleeping figure, all dressed in white, and lying inside a wooden box. I didn’t want that as my last memory of them. I wanted to remember them when they were happy and alive. I wanted to remember them as they were; the day I last saw them, sending me off to study abroad. You were still in her womb back then. I promised you the I’d return to you in time. I never imagined that I’d be coming home to you in such circumstances.
I arrived at the airport a week later. I was greeted by my grandmother in tears and brought me to my childhood home. That was when I held you for the first time. You were so small and vulnerable to the world, but in my hold I knew that it was then, more than ever, my responsibility to keep you safe and raise you up as our father and your mother would have wanted to. At that moment, I lost myself and cried for the first time. I held back every single tear before that moment. That night, you made no fuss and slept soundly in my arms. That was your first peaceful night of rest after days of crying yourself to sleep.
There was never a day after that that I wouldn’t be there to take care of you. Before, I was a selfish child that mostly thought about myself and my future. But every night that I tucked you in your crib was a reminder from then on, I was responsible not only for my future, but your future as well.
Then after, I never missed an important day in your life. Every birthday. Every graduation. You could not imagine how proud I was when you graduated college. And at the day of your wedding and you chose me as your best man, I gave myself a big pat on the back, because I knew that then that I did a good job with you. Our parents would have been so proud of you that day.
And on this day which I never hoped to live long enough to see. To send you off with more than all the love I gave to you everyday of your life. From the day I first held you; to the day you breath you last; to the day that it’ll be my turn to succumb to fate. I promise that we’ll see each other again, and we’ll finally be one complete family. You, me, our father, and our mothers— together again. As I promised you even before you were born, I’m making that same promise now.
I love you, baby brother.
And as I write this story, I knock on wood; that the events stated herein should never happen; that my baby brother grow up with his mother and father and care for them until they grow old. But know that he’ll still have his ever loving older brother. Half by blood, full in love and in spirit.