i have just one brother, seven years my junior. before him, i was bunso. i was king. then he arrived, all fair compared to my ulikba complexion. we didnt even look remotely alike. he looked like so chinese. and people were fawning over him. while i was the pinoy na pinoy - tanned malay skin with big eyes.
he was really an adorable baby. and i enjoyed playing with him until he got to the 'terrible twos' phase. that's when i realized i wasn't bunso (youngest) anymore. and he was getting the attention and the toys. i resented that. but i couldn't do anything about it. and pretty soon, i was entering puberty. and i had more important things to take care of (boys).
by that time, he became the pesky kid who would always pester all of us older than him. he turned out to be quite an artist, too. an illustrator. so he would busy himself drawing and drawing. then he'd follow us around, trying to insert himself in our conversations. poor kid. we'd shoo him away.
i guess he started feeling that rejection. and when he was looking for a kuya to look up to, i wasn't there anymore. (i was pre-occupied with being ate!) and as he entered puberty, he became more of a loner, more of an artist.
then we all grew up. he got married and started a family. he continued to struggle with his career. and when he was compared to his kuya cc, he felt inferior.
all that pent up resentment came out on the eve of my birthday a few years back. his wife picked a fight with me over household stuff. and he quickly joined in and sided with her. one huge, hurtful fight. awful things he said. and he wrote. never mind that it was my birthday the following day. yes, those words cut deep within me.
but in time, we patched things up. when they migrated to new zealand, i made sure that i would be able to help them financially.
they continue to struggle down there. and he has been under a lot of stress lately. his two growing boys are so dear to me. and sometimes, when i hear his eldest talk to me, yearning to come back to manila, i just well up.
despite all the differences growing up, we are closer than ever. he is my only brother. and even if he tells me how much he envies my success, i always tell him that his crowning glory is his family - his wife and two handsome sons. that is something i will never have. and all he has to do is take care of them and make sure they are raised properly.
love evens things out between us.
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