9/22/2005

my brother, part 3

Back to the story of my little bro...

When my brother was three months old we moved from Texas to California. On the seven day drive he took up most of the car. In the backseat we had a baby car bed which occupied two-thirds of the bench seat. In the front seat a large rear facing carseat sat inbetween my parents. These items symbolized his presence in our family; he was the focus. I remember staring at him as he slept next to me in the back seat. He wore only his diaper as we drove through the desert on Hwy 10. He slept on his stomach; I traced lightly on his soft back, hoping he enjoyed my touch.

We lived in California for 4 years. They were heart-wrenching years of loneliness, isolation, adolescence, and bad clothes. I took comfort in my toddler companion who didn't see lack of style, bad hair, or dorky conversation. During the earthquake of 1989, I was the one who grabbed him as we fled to the hallway of the shaking house.

Christopher had a special way with old people. When we visited my grandpa in the nursing home I crumbled into my dad's arms at the sights and sounds of the ailing, bed-ridden elderly. My brother was three years old and he didn't see these things. He was oblivious to the smells and sadness. He walked the halls with my grandpa; small new hand wrapped in strong old wrinkled fingers. He hummed along in his high-little-boy-voice as my grandpa sang old hymns with his rummbling crackly deep voice. It was an endearing sight.

When Christopher was 4 and I was 15, we moved to Arkansas. A year later he started kindergarden and I made sure my mom bought him cute clothes so he'd fit in. We had more money at this point, so getting him nice things was easier. He named our black stray cat, Apple. He loved to ride in the front seat of the mini-van. Usually I made him sit in the backseat though. He was great at Monopoly at a young age. He had a coin collection. He loved doing outside projects with my dad and saving his money.

When he was eight years old I left for college. While moving into my female-only dorm, men had to yell "Man on the hall" when they entered. We all laughed when his high squeaky voice proclaimed, "Man on the hall!" On my visits home from college I would take Christopher to school in the mornings. On the way, we'd get donuts and eat them quickly as to finish before arriving at the school.

When he was ten I brought lots of friends home from college. We'd spend weekends eating real food, sleeping on floors all over the house, and playing video games, legos, and outside games. He joined in with the big kids and had a blast. My friend Matt told him about cool bands and Christopher immediately spent his money on their CDs.

He was twelve when I graduated from college. Fourteen when I got married. And 18 when Melody came along. Shortly after her birth he called our dear Uncle Jerry and said, "Tell me how to be a good uncle." Jerry's response, "Take her to 7-11 and buy her candy." So far Christopher has been an awesome uncle.

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