I believe in brothers, the only people on this whole crowded earth formed by the same landscape that shaped me. The only ones who get it, the shorthand, the jokes, the exasperations, the sorrows. No translation required.
And they show up, no questions asked. One incomprehensible phone call to my brother Brett brought him in minutes. He bundled me up, borrowed a car, and drove me across the state to another brother. They sat with me for days while I cried and licked my wounds from a broken romance, never indicating for a second they had anything else to do.
When our mother died, only my brothers knew what it meant. Only they understood the crumbling of our family — more than a death, but the recasting of history and the end of the future as we knew it.
I believe in their goodness, their nobility, their generosity, their unfailing ability to make me laugh until I cry.
After I had trimmed the hair on all my dolls’ heads, I turned my scissors to my four-year-old brother Graham. Later, I watched like a coward while our mother doled out his punishment. He never said a word, never ratted me out.
When I went off to college, my only older brother bought me my first grown-up nightgown, so I would always feel pretty.
And tomorrow, I set out on the most terrifying experience of my life, the removal of a brain tumor the size of a baseball. And my brothers are beside me, offering comfort, heating pads, pillows, snacks and, most importantly, their belief that all will be well in the end.
Others come into our lives and love us, trying their best to get up to speed. But brothers carry your history in their blood. That which gives you life and breath gives them life and breath. Your shameful impulses are theirs, sprung from the same ground, and so they forgive you. The grace of brothers carries more weight than anyone else’s because nothing can be hidden from brothers.
And yet they love you all the same.
I believe in Gary, Graham, Forrest, Trevor, and Brett. I believe in brothers.
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