For the birthday boy

This year Shawn turns 14, much to my family’s astonishment. Additionally to my resignation he’s finally catching up to me in height. This will come to complicate my usual rebuttal of “Well I’m still bigger than you,” whenever I want to indicate that the conversation is over, and that makes me a little wistful.

I hate him. He digs right into every single pet peeve I have. He contradicts every word that comes out of my mouth. He breaks my belongings and humiliates me whenever he gets the chance to. He knows how to reduce me to an incoherent mass of fury, and he can be treacherously manipulative. He specializes in loopholes to pinky promises and will pick fights for the sheer pleasure of watching me lash back.

These are also the reasons why I love him. Sometimes it’s embarrassing how close we are compared to other sibling pairs I know of. He is the singular most hilarious person I know. People tend to focus in on his “cuteness” at first impression, but what makes him great is his vivacity and his earnest approach in this life.

He’s the reason I put down the blade and he is my conscience in human form. I want to be here for him now, and I want to be there to see who he becomes.

(Also he’ll eventually need me to be his biographer in order to record all his exploits.)

This is the only person I know who’d carve a heart out of solid stone for me. He’s the only person with the guts to take me by the shoulders and yell that I’m being pathetic. I always say I’m my own worst critic when it comes to my writing. The truth is when I write, I always consider Shawn to be my audience, because he knows what my best and worst look like. It is ridiculous how many times before publishing another post or wrapping up a narrative or wording a particularly difficult sentence I have wailed for my brother to read through my work and tear it apart when others will dismiss the words as good enough. When it comes to anything or anyone (except, of course, himself) “good enough” doesn’t cut it. He calls out my moments of hypocrisy and takes on the role of patient mentor when I succumb to immaturity. I learn from his candidness and his observant nature. His asthma and sickliness makes him one of the weakest people I know, but his resilience and courage makes him one of the strongest as well.

Honestly, 98% of the qualities I respect in a man are reflected in him.

This is my present for Shawn. 


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