For my sixteenth birthday he handed me a lovely box, neatly wrapped and with a card. He was four years older, I had hardly expected a gift, much less something with a bow. With everyone curiously watching I tore off the paper and screamed when I saw what was inside.
It went on like this for years. Eventually we became related, and then unrelated, and now distantly unrelated but still connected. He offered me a Long Island Iced Tea, I spit it across the table. He had tan arms, I was speckled with freckles. He rolled his eyes, I made fun of his glasses. He heckled boys, ridiculed my hair and badgered my girl friends. I offered to take him shopping, certain that he wasn't serious, going out in public in those shirts. Impossible to embarrass, he always made fun of himself before I had the chance, or worse yet, reveled in the very things I found ridiculous. Thankfully he provided ample material for both scenarios.
We grew up. We conspired against the others, made each other laugh, and found our commonality. He got new glasses, I gave up any hope for tan arms. His kids went to high school, mine were born. We grew apart, we found our way back. Five hundred miles apart, I think of him whenever I wake up with a pimple.
To think, all I ever wanted was an older brother, and a tube of Clearasil for my sixteenth birthday.