Hello there. I am Terry and I am a full-time undergraduate based in Singapore. I take photos, write a blog and design websites.

And no, I'm not a teddy bear.

My Litte Brother, No Longer Little

It’s been a long time since I was back at home, so I’ve got to learn how to live with my brother. He has changed, but I’m not sure whether is it for the better or for the worse. I need to learn how to live with those changes, mould myself like a soft clay to ensure that both of us get along well without our childhood’s daily ritual of fights and arguments.

My brother is 16 already, 2 years younger than me. He’s in his adolescent years, which speaks volume about the changes he’s currently, and will be, undergoing. The entire house is filled with hardware of his adolescence, awashed in a sea of testoserone. His PSP lays unnoticed in a messy corner of the bedroom, complemented by stacks of half-read books. His long hair fluttered in the wind, smooth as silk, shining in a silver pool of light under the sun. Mom hated his constant refusal to get his hair “groomed”. His glasses were horribly twisted, like the twisted branches and twigs after being ravaged by hurricane, after he slept on them carelessly almost every other night. His vocabulary expanded, undesirably – the number of vulgarities increased exponentially over the years. He started with only knowing what that four letter F*** word means in primary school, to knowing a spectrum of its paraphrases as well as a huge variety of other words describing people’s private parts in an obscene and offending manner.

He reminds me of my gawky, gauche adolescent years. His voice started to break a few months ago, the transition didn’t go as smooth as expected, just like mine. His laugher was punctuated with high-pitched shrieks, albeit his obvious effort to keep his pitch constant. His speaking pitch contantly wavers, like rolling waves off Cape of Good Hope in the worst months of the year, fluctuating uncontrollably. He tried acting like a man, making every effort to ignore insignificant minute details that bothered him. He experiences frequent temper flares, sparks flew when he clashes with mom. Shouts ensued, following by slamming of the bedroom doors. Wasn’t that my old self? I felt like laughing at him, telling him that he looked extremely irritating like a fishbone lodged in your throat. I found myself resisting the urge to act in such a condescening manner – He’s your brother, or You’ve been through that before and Everyone does that when they’re teenagers.

His growth spurt initially threatened me. I felt that I had an authority over him because I am taller than him, bigger that him, physically. By growing skywards at such an astonishing rate, I can feel my grip over him loosening. I wanted to hold on to him, and realised that I can’t. He’s not my slave, nor my servant – he’s my brother. The same old argument applies. Let things take their own course, and everything will be fine. Finally I relinquished my control over him, chopping off the rusting, crumbling chain, and coexisted with him peacefully since then, so far.

We used to fight when we were young. Sarcasm filled the air, like toxic fumes, choking our lungs. We were so vicious that, I vowed, would seize the any chance of pour acid on each other’s faces and down our throats. We never spared each other of our brunt when we got angry. Loads of insults and words saturated with frustration shot across the room, like music notes dancing on jagged edges of a sharpened saw. Our arguments would slice through the air, piercing the uncanny calmness in the house. My fist crashed into his face, his leg jammed into my waist. We fought over things that you could never ever think of (don’t laugh!) – colour of pillow cases, volume of drink in each other’s glasses, hair length, colour of undergarments and swimming trunks, handwriting, television programmes, favourite colours, favourite singers, bed space, colour of our bedroom curtain, Lego pieces of different colours, pocket money, goodnights to mom and dad, test scores, spelling mistakes, newspaper, magazines, encyclopedias, bicycles, bathing time, type of soap, speed of ceiling fan… and the list goes on.

He is no longer little. When he was still young, I would usurp mom’s power, barked commands through my mouth, aiming at him. I enjoyed the sight of him looking at me with his pitiful eyes. What an asshole I was. Up till today, I still question myself the motive behind being such a devilish brother. I ordered him to run errands mom asked me to. Get mom’s comb, or Retrieve mom’s hairclip. Fetch dad’s measuring tape, or Collect the letters in the mailbox. Water the plants, or Dry the laundry with our domestic helper.

But he’s still the same him inside. Considerate, caring, sociable, talkative, playful and yet rebellous. When he was young, after hearing mommy talking to guests at home, he would walk into the kitchen with his unsteady steps, wobbling. He would fill up a cup with water up to its brim, not knowing that he would spill water all over the floor, a trail of water starting from the kitchen and ending at mommy’s seat at the dining table. He would scramble for medication in the “emergency drawer” in our dry kitchen everytime mom said that she felt sick, or when I cut my hand playing Lego pieces. He got along well with his kindergarten friends, and clumsily telling everyone that “Jason is his bestest friend on earth”. He talked the most in tuiton classes, teachers complaining that he talked more than they did. He mistook hardened dog leavings in the sandpit for rocks, stacked them up into his dream castle until mom came screaming at him. He would ignore mom whenever she scolded him, sometimes defending himself with incoherent and incomprehensible arguments that only made her laugh.

That’s my little brother who’s no longer, little. And yes, I love him more than anything in earth – the irony behind the whole bedlam.

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