I never told you the whole story.
Do you remember when I was 13 and you were 10? I was in the 7th grade and I was with the big kids on the other side of campus. One day, I gave you a stern warning. “Never come over to my side of the campus. Never.”
I guess you just forgot that day or you just really wanted to give me the soda in your hand. Did you buy it for me?
I remember seeing you from really far away. I was with my friends and I saw that you had a Coke, my favorite and probably for me. Before I had a chance to wave you away, you held it up for me to see. It was for me, after all.
But as soon as I saw you, do you remember what I did? I bet you do. I yelled at you to “Get away!” Get away from me! I pointed my hands toward your side of the school. Go Away!
You twirled around like a top, clutching the Coke to your chest. You scampered away before my friends could see you and I could see by the way you held your head down, that you were broken-hearted. You ran away before my friends could see you. Do you remember?
In the five minutes that followed, I was thinking about you. I could tell you were crying alone somewhere and the thought of it made me leave my friends to go find you. And I was right. You were crying on the bench, remember? The Coke you bought me was seated next to you.
I’m sure I made you cry before, but I think this was the first time I ever hurt you…I didn’t really know what to say. So do you remember what I did? I sat next to you and drank the Coke you bought me. I didn’t know what to say, so I just sort of mumbled that you weren’t allowed to be on my side of the school. You nodded your head and understood that I was sorry, even though I didn’t say it. That’s all a 13-year old brother could manage at the time, so I left it at that. I don’t know why I remembered this tonight, but I felt you deserved an explanation.
I was never embarrassed of you. The reason I didn’t want you on my side of the school was because my friends were horrible little boys going through puberty. They said vile things, ugly things about girls…swear words not suited for your ears. In a way, I wanted to protect you from that. I never wanted you to hear these sorts of things. And maybe, I didn’t want you to think that your older brother was like them, because I wasn’t. They were my friends, and I laughed along because I wanted to be liked, but I never said those things. Never.
Still, it’s really no excuse and I never said sorry. I’ll say it now. Sorry. Probably to this day you might think I chased you away because I was ashamed of you. Well, I thought you ought to know…
I was never ashamed of you.