Brothers | Inquirer Opinion
YoungBlood

Brothers

/ 04:10 AM October 12, 2022

In my 17 years of existence, I have embodied several roles as an individual. I’ve been an obedient son to my parents, a diligent student to my teachers, a loyal friend to my peers, and a law-abiding citizen of this nation. Yet, there is one role that I am doubtful of, and I think I never was: being a brother to Macky.

Despite us being boys, living under the same roof, and sharing the same blood, genes, and last name, my younger brother and I are polar opposites in almost everything.

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He is handsome, unlike me. Perhaps to compensate for this deficiency and insecurity, I’ve been the studious and book-smart one, while he’s been the irresponsible and lazy (but street-smart) type. He has decent abs that he can proudly show off. Me? Let’s just say that I’ve been trying hard to hold my tummy in, in futile attempts to hide my flabs in pictures, even if I am the non-drinker between us.

I am, in other words, the “positive” and he’s the “negative,” or vice versa. I always feel like there’s this huge, insurmountable barrier separating us. We are two parallel lines that can never meet at the same point, despite being on the same plane.

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Not a week would pass without him getting on my nerves, or us being at each other’s throats. You know, over toys that we sometimes refused to share. Over who has gotten more than his fair share of chocolates or chips. Or who is doing more household chores.

I don’t recall either of us ever crying—big boys, after all, don’t cry, and because whoever does, loses—but our constant bickering involves lots of hitting, shoving, kicking, doors being slammed and, sometimes, even flying monoblocks (which we, thankfully, successfully catch). We call each other names (I prefer this since physical contact could be deadly) and at the peak of my fury, all I could see in front of me is a devil mocking me. I’m pretty sure though that he sees the same thing.

It’s funny to admit that I, most of the time, am forced to concede. Because the war would rage on forever if I don’t; he’s someone who always wants to have the last hit—and say.

Truth be told, I am getting tired of it. Sometimes I wish I lived elsewhere. That way, I won’t get to see him or hear his voice anymore. I even thought it would have been better if both of us never existed.

After (purposely) losing our usual squabbles and while still nursing a bruised ego, I would tell myself that I’ve had enough, I’d be ignoring him completely, I’d never forgive him, and we’re better off this way.

But it doesn’t take too long before I find myself talking to him once again as if nothing happened. No room for grudges and pride. No apology, drama, or formal reconciliation required. Just like that, we’re okay once more.

Until our next war.

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I am three years older and several inches taller than my brother, but it always feels like it’s the other way around, if not we’re of the same height and age.

I am three years older than him, but he rarely—much less promptly—obeys me, and by the time he would, I have already done the work myself.

I am three years older than him, but I never receive the respect I thought I deserve. I realize, however, that I also never gave him the respect and love he deserves in the first place. Truly, respect should not be imposed but earned.

Too many times, Mom served as our mediator, and too many times she did tell me that I, being older—the one who knows, and should know better—should take the high road and give way. My mother is right. But it’s a privilege that I don’t want to be abused, and a sorry excuse that would be used to tell me I’m wrong all the time.

Still, there are a lot of things to be thankful for our siblings whom we share good memories with, despite their annoying presence. Like the afternoon drawing sessions I used to spend with him, the Tamiya cars, Beyblade, and toy robots we played, Teletubbies and anime shows we watched, and the cool Japanese anime songs we sang together, even if we don’t understand them. Those days, he would willingly play Pokemon Silver to level grind my Typhlosion for me until it reaches 100 whenever I’m busy at school. And, most importantly, the time I, then a toddler, ran into our bedroom after Mom had given birth to him, and eagerly touched and kissed him on the cheek upon seeing him for the first time.

Macky and I may have more differences than similarities, but deep inside our hearts, I know that there is an invisible thread that links us together that no barrier can ever surmount. That even when the whole world turns its back on us, I am confident that we will always have each other’s back no matter what.

I love my brother, and I know that somewhere in his heart, he loves me, too.

My conscience tells me I’ve never been the best—not even the good—brother I should be. I know I never was. But I guess it’s never too late to try. One day, I hope I will be.

EJ, 17, hopes that his brother will finally finish reading this. Both standing at 5’7 1/2’’, they get along much better now, mostly bonding over NBA and PBA games, PS4, Mobile Legends, shared sneakers, and, sometimes, bottles of Smirnoff.

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