he was born in africa, a premature baby and we did everything together like sitting in buckets of water in the sun and hunting for lizards and playing in our cardboard-box change table
and when we returned from the mission field, to canada and its snow, we made forts in the white and sand castles in the summer and he let me dress him in hand-made costumes and parade him about town on halloween
but then i began to wear Exclamation perfume and Northern Reflections clothing and weigh myself after every meal, and i stopped playing and started sitting on my bed and planning my meals, and i didn’t think about him most of the time except when he said things to make me angry, things about the way i looked and i didn’t understand but now i do, that the little boy inside of him was crying out to understand why
and he spent most of his time in his bedroom playing Legos and one day he drew a picture with crayons, a picture i never saw, a picture he told me about later, and in it, i was a wrecking ball, rolling across the family, flattening them to the ground
and i didn’t know, didn’t see, until the day i was in the hospital and mum gave me a mug that said “i love you beary much” and i didn’t want the mug and i told her that in a very angry voice, and he was standing, listening outside the door, this little nine-year-old boy, hands shoved into his pockets, and i didn’t know–
he’d been the one to buy it for me. if i had only known, oh, i would take it back a thousand times–but nothing can erase the way i broke my brother’s heart that day.