I once heard that it is important to be close to your siblings because that is probably going to be the longest relationship of your life. Parents die and spouses come later, but siblings can stick around in your life for 80 or more years. Which is FINE BY ME, because my brother is the coolest person on the planet.
Roy is four years older than me, and I think I’ve always been in awe of him. My childhood memories center around a common theme: stumbling through the woods after Roy and his friends, watching movies that Roy thought were cool, playing the games that Roy got excited about. Don’t get me wrong, I had my own nerdy little shy world, but so much of who I am is an effort to imitate his awesomeness.
It must have been unbearable annoying to have a little girl tagging along all the time, but Roy was a wonderful older brother, and we did have a lot in common. From a very early age, we shared a love of RPG computer games like King’s Quest and Final Fantasy. A couple years ago I bought King’s Quest so we could re-play it during Christmas holiday, and we soon had to resort to cheating with internet walkthroughs. How our 7 and 11-year-old selves managed to beat a game that stumped us as adults, I’ll never know. Growing up, Roy mostly played while I watched and suggested actions. When he came back from college and I had the newest Final Fantasy game, it threw my heart into fits of joy when he said, “You play. I’ll watch this time.”
I think I’m a mildly weird person, but I get away with it because Roy is one step weirder. He dyed his hair orange, so when I asked our parents if I could dye mine auburn, it no longer seemed like a big deal. He abandoned our conservative upbringing by drinking alcohol and saying things like, “I don’t think we ought to destroy the environment,” so when I later came to the same conclusions, our parents just shrugged in acceptance.
I don’t want us to be seen through rose-colored glasses, though. Things haven’t always been great between Roy and me. He left for college, and for several years we barely communicated. I remember, during those years, thinking that I might as well be an only child. We were both growing up, becoming individuals, and it seemed like it would be that way forever. But one day, while I was in college, Roy called and said, “I know we haven’t talked much, but I want to be friends. I want to have a relationship with you again.”
That started yet another phase of “Tricia Learns From Roy,” in which my wiser older brother taught me about expressing feelings and admitting vulnerabilities. When I told him about our childhood dog dying via text, he told me that those are the sorts of things that actual phone calls are for. We bonded over shared neuroses, and I felt so much freedom in realizing that there was another person in the world who was just as messed up and awesome as me, because we had the same parents and the same childhood experiences.
It took a few years for us to figure out how to be brother and sister again, but now it is awesome. We play computer games together, and we’ve managed to hang out twice a year or so despite my living in Texas and him in Washington. Our shared love of travel has led us to meet up in New Orleans, take a road trip through the Northwest, and plan on a Mediterranean meeting next year.
I still look up to my older brother. He is one of the most creative people I know with one of the softest hearts. He loves people deeply, he’s introspective and honest, and he’s genuinely fun. We can have silly conversations about YouTube videos and deep conversations about relationship fears. He’s my brother, and I wouldn’t trade him for anyone else.