"At times I think my coffee and tea addictions truly drive my artistic energy. It’s a small sacrifice for the greater good."

Writing Prompt: Siblings

Posted: 2/21/10 | Written by Jeannie | Labels: ,

Part One

My brother painted me a picture. I hung it on my refrigerator. This would not be a peculiar statement if it wasn’t for the fact that my brother is 30. I am 27. Yet it’s funny how relationships change over time. The difference between siblings, the difference between friends, and the difference between casual encounters are all so peculiar the longer we tend to be around them. And now my brother’s watercolor, which may be childish—hangs on my refrigerator, proudly.

When we were young, there were many times that I hated him. I hated when he tried to burn my hair in high school. The times when tried to curl my hair with combs, and especially when I heard the words, “trust me I’m your brother.” However, as we grew up he was my closest sibling. There were two other older brothers, one deceased now and the other twice my age. However, Mike became the confidant within our family. Over many years, we have had long talks about life and the pursuit there of.

The first time our relationship changed happened actually the first time we partied together. If partying is what you would call it. It was my last weekend before moving away to college and my co-workers decided I needed a keg party. That party ended up being split. One party became two parties when the cops showed up and broke apart the original one. Most of my co-workers dispersed and reconvened in a church parking lot. Brilliant I know, but let’s face it when the nerds at RadioShack want to get drunk, they find a way. My brother and I on the other hand headed out to a friend’s apartment. Oddly enough, their parents lived next door to the first party. What can I say, it’s a small town.

Unfortunately my co-workers had the keg and Jesus was nowhere to be found. No not Jesus as in the son of God, but our very own miracle worker. When our Jesus showed up alcohol magically appeared. He was a saint. However, even saints have to take a night off—so we all pitched in five bucks, ten bucks, two bucks, whatever we had. In the capable hands of my brother, dressed in his signature black fedora, matching Dickies jacket, pants and shirt he headed out in the white Cadillac he loved so much.

I’m still amazed he didn’t get pulled over that night. He always had a toothpick in his mouth and sunglasses on. Yes he was that guy the one you avoided in the market because it was obviously so bright he had to wear his sunglasses, at night. Shorter than me, his personality was taller than anyone in the room. This is partially why I think I loved him so much; he was and is to this day the only person I’ve ever felt safe around. Though, with as much alcohol as he carried in the trunk that night, it would be hard, even for him to talk his way out of going to jail.

Jungle Juice, that name should say it all. The contents of the Cadillac trunk, which just so happens fit 12 full grown bodies—don’t ask—ended up being the makings of a great Jungle Juice. However, I didn’t know that my brother had secretly announced that it was ‘get Jeannie drunk’ night. Trust me, they did. I suppose it’s one of those rituals that friends have to go through. You know, to see if you are worthy of staying in the clan. Apparently I made it because the next conversation I with my brother—whom never really listened to my advice—was had with a heavy heart.

You grow up and sober up quickly when you watch your brother do a line of coke.

I’d always known he smoked pot on more than the regular occasion. Everyone in this town did. Really, that never bothered me so much, after all smoking one in the back yard with your dad, well— after that it becomes kind of passé. My brother deserved the freedom from life every so often. When living in the house we grew up in, it was almost a right. However, I watched him do that line of coke and immediately thought, ‘oh shit.’

The worst part was when my best girl friend and I confronted him the next day; she had seen it too. He said no, he would never do that. There was no way in hell he would do that. But we just looked at him. That was the first time our relationship went past siblings and headed directly into a true brother and sister relationship. I can remember him dipping his head and trying to remember what happened that night. I tried to console him; I suppose console is the best word to use when you show someone a mirror of themselves as they start to descend down a path that is rickety.

That night he promised me he would never do hard drugs. The next day, being only 18 I moved to LA. Our relationship changed again, that story however, is for another day.

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