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

Siblings: Part One Redux

Posted: 3/4/10 | Written by Jeannie | Labels: ,

After some advice, I've rewritten Part One in first person. Part two will come soon and will wrap up this little jaunt through creative nonfiction. I would love to hear what you think of it.

Siblings: Part One Redux
My brother paints me a picture. I hang it on my refrigerator. He is 30. I am 27. It’s funny how relationships change over time. Especially the differences between siblings, the longer we tend to be around them, dynamic changes are sure to ensue.

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

Our relationship changed the first time we partied together.

It’s the last weekend before moving away to college. My co-workers decide a keg is in order. Mike offers up the usual party spot, a friend’s home in the middle of nowhere. I head to the impromptu party, driving the dark foggy streets of Bakersfield. I hate the fog. You can’t drive fast in the fog. Why have a Mustang if you can’t drive fast. With the fog, I have a hard time finding the house. It should have been easy, with all the cars that line the street and the people funneling into one spot. ‘Hell,’ I think, ‘I’m not going to find a parking spot. Screw it I’ll park in the driveway.’ Getting out, the fog has cleared. I should realize there will be a problem. The guy two doors down has a phone to his ear and I can hear him say, “there is a possible party in progress on Warrington, yes I’ll hold.”

There are about 400 people in the backyard. Some I know, some I don’t. Most are from a fraternity at CSUB which I partied with on a semi regular basis. Finding Mike and his group of friends I say my hellos.

“Jeannie, when are your friends going to show up.” He asks. I look around as people interrupt our conversation by saying hi.

“Um, what do you mean? These are my friends.” I say holding out my hand to the crowd. Mike just sits back. He didn’t know his little sister was so popular.

Flashlights shine into the crowd. Yep, the neighbor called the cops. I’m the only one underage. Thankfully though, cops like me. I leave with only a ticket, my car’s butt stuck into the sidewalk. People split. One party turns into two. Co-workers in a church parking lot while my brother and I head to another friend’s apartment.

“Crap, Jay Rod has the keg.” I say to Mike.

“Jesus is out of town.”

“What? Why? He’s always good for a party.” Jesus, not as in the son of God, but our very own miracle worker made alcohol magically appear when he invited.

“Alright everyone,” Mike turns to the much smaller crowd. “Ante up.” Everyone pitches in, five bucks, ten bucks, two bucks, whatever we have. Into the capable hands of my brother, dressed in his signature black fedora, matching Dickies jacket, pants and shirt he heads out.


“I’m surprised you didn’t get pulled over.” I say as he shrugs. His toothpick hangs from the corner of his mouth. He is the guy you avoid in the market because it’s so bright he obviously needs to wear his sunglasses at night. Shorter than me, his personality is taller than anyone in the room. One of the reasons I love him so much. He is the only person I feel safe around.

“It’s time for Jungle Juice!” He announces as we climb the steps to the apartment. Arms full of alcohol and juice. Mike decides then and there, it’s get Jeannie drunk night. I suppose it’s one of those rituals which friends go through, to see if you are worthy of staying in the clan. Mike is inducting me into his clan. The night moves on with a dizzying speed. Drinking games, video games, and music all entwine into a drunken stupor.

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

I know he smokes pot. Everyone in this town does. Really pot never bothered me that much. After smoking one in the backyard with your dad, it becomes passé. I even understand it. He deserves freedom from life every so often. Living in the home we grew up in, it is almost a right. However, I watch him as the white line disappears and immediately I think, ‘oh shit.’


“Mike we have to talk.” I say with my best friend standing behind me for moral support. She had witnessed it too. He motions us to sit at the dining table. “Last night, you did a line of coke. I want you to promise me you won’t do it again.”

“Fuck, no I didn’t.” He crosses his arms and leans back. Looking to my friend she nods, confirming that she watched him as well. “I would remember doing something like that.” He leans forward.

“If you don’t even remember doing it, there’s a bigger problem.”

“I would never do coke. There’s no fucking way.”

“Michael,” I pause. I never use his first name. “We watched you. I saw you cut it, snort it, and enjoy it. You can’t tell me that you didn’t. Promise me.”

“Shit. Jeannie, I swear I will never do it again.” He says. He’s serious, the first time he listens to me. Truly listening to what I say. And it happens, he dips his head, our relationship goes past siblings and heads into a true brother and sister relationship.

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