..which is kind of weird, to be honest. To me, he’s still that 18/19-year-old boy fumbling with the settings on my DSLR. Occasionally, he’s the annoying 8-year-old who takes all my stuff without my permission. And sometimes, he’s the toddler that I love SOOOO much, my parents have to pry his feeble body from my suffocating hug.
Whenever someone asks me how old my brother is, I actually pause to count back 2 years from my own age – which my brain has very kindly chosen to remember as 21-turning-22. But no, i’m actually 22-turning-23. My brother is an all accomplished chef-to-be/future entrepreneur in everyone’s eyes, an ex-Food Editor, been published overseas, graduated with a stinkin’ high GPA and is well on his way to being an Officer in approximately 1 year. And I’m just kind of…here, wondering how the hell that all happened.
I sit alone at home with the last bit of Brie cheese that has gone stale, cracker crumbs on my Macbook as I write this down. My brother turns 21 today and he’s somewhere in the jungle while my mom is taking a well-deserved holiday in Taiwan. What can I say? Happy birthday little brother!! The house is always a little lonelier when you’re not around. And it’s a little strange to think that you’ve been away a lot actually – for the 7 months (or was it longer?) on your internship in Los Angeles, before hopping around the region for a bit and then enlisting for the army.
Remember when you were about to enter the departure gates – and I’d sworn to you that I was going to be a hot mess – before I started SOBBING into your shoulder? I’d miss you so much. And several months later, being in San Francisco and calling you, calling you on that damn American number trying to find you in a grimy BART station and suddenly recognising your face. Me squealing “Joeeeey!!!!!”, and running into a big, welcoming hug with tears in my eyes. Priceless. You were my best Christmas present that year.
Some people admire our bond while some are rather perplexed by it – brothers and sisters often fight, and siblings in general are well…amicable really. But they don’t know how I’ve always been the protective bigger sister while you grew up, before you started protecting me against the demons I couldn’t fight. They don’t know that when it’s the two of us, we can break barriers and knock down walls that anyone puts up for us – and one day, we’ll find a way to turn our dreams into a hustling and eventually, thriving business.
Happy birthday little brother. I’ll have you know, I laughed at your Facebook caption when I read it. In my eyes, you’ve hit “successful” a long time ago, and I’ll say it again and again, even before you open the doors to your first food venture. Mom will (hopefully) be beaming with pride and I’ll be right there beside you, snipping that red ribbon for the cheesy “Huat ah!” photograph.