Tuesday, January 25, 2011


He enchanted her the very first time she saw him. He was white at first, and beautiful, like she’d never been. And then he began to turn blue, like an Indian God. He had a hole in his heart, but she was infinitely mesmerized. She knew no better at her tender age. 

That is such a blatant lie- childhood being tender. She remembers it as anything but, she was at her cruelest when she was a child. Perhaps the insensitivity had something to do with the mixture of inexperience and optional responsibility. 

He had never been cruel. He did horrible things sometimes, but without horrible intent. He stabbed their dog once, but it was not bloody; he seemed to know not to pull the knife out. A dog everyone knew him to love deeply, a dog who knew him to love her deeply- so much so that she let him stab her without protest: not a growl or a snap. She knew he didn’t want to hurt their dog because he didn’t walk away from the damage he caused when he recognized it.  Lucky he could always fix it effortlessly with his boundless charm. 

She envied him deeply for that. She knew that their father’s words were true and that he was in fact angelic, and utterly pure and good; but she was not yet ready to be told she could never match his perfection. She acted out when she realized that what their father said about him was true. She acted out because this realization came long before she wanted it to and long before she was prepared for it. 

She pinched his dry white skin until it sang red and he whimpered in compliance to her demands. Sometimes she did that just for fun. They fought, hands, legs and anything else their growing bodies sprouted; but he never pinched her. He still hasn’t, not once. His mischief was always innocent, and will always be- the naivety of her nerves was testament to the fact. 

Always innocent, but sometimes dangerous. He loved cars, he’d line them up, crash them into each other, race them, and anything else he could think of: but he loved lining them up more than anything else. She remembers that he wanted to watch real cars line up one day, so he went to the road and sat down in the middle. They lined up for miles, and she wished she could have found him a satellite picture. It was genius. Everyone told her that he didn’t know any better. She thought he knew that they didn’t know any better of him. 

He taught her so much of what he knew, and ever so naturally won her confidence. He was always there to stop Him from hurting her, to squeeze her tears away with the longest of hugs after He did anyway, and he was always willing to do something brilliantly stupid to bring her smile back. He showed her what plain fun was. He made it easy to watch Lion King every single day for years and years, and he made watching flowers run with the gutter water for hours seem amusing. He was her dictionary for hysteric laughter and ecstatic pleasure; she drew off his limitless enthusiasm like a suckling baby and he offered with the generosity of a hearty mother. 

And so she gathered that she was mistaken to think she could mother him. He provided for her heart, with patience and forgiveness, never uttering a word about the past. He also had a healthy disregard for material provision, not the kind most people aspire to, but one which let him accept that what he shared wasn’t his. He brought her up without ever asking for the tribute or respect their parents had, and he still earned it threefold, the only way it could be.

He was always so infallible that it took a movie to make her consider that he might have feelings that one could hurt, or a life one could destroy. She proceeded to cry herself dry after she watched it, hoping that she could drown in her guilt and be exonerated. Somewhere between the crying and the reflecting, it occurred to her that if there was anyone who would let her be forgiven and start afresh, it was him. 

He grew beautifully, even more irresistible than before. He defined roles for himself, and kept himself busy with what he loved for the lack of what loved him. She started afresh, but at a distance. They were both learning new things about who they were. She remembers that he was the first one to know that she was becoming a woman, and he giggled and smiled with her until they were too tired to stay awake. No one really knew when he changed from innocence to not quite that- just that it was hilarious at times, and trying at others.
 But he shared it openly, and sometimes a little too openly; like the day he skinny dipped in the swimming pool and then proceeded to explicitly display what was testament to his manhood. The little girls squealed, the older ones turned away, all the boys taunted, and the scandalized adults chided in disapproval. He smiled, and smiled, and smiled: until the livelier of them all paused to smile with him. 

She moved away slowly, a step at a time. He never failed to notice, but he stopped asking for her when he couldn’t remember the last time together at dinner. He was still always overjoyed to see her, even when no one else was. He seemed to understand that she had to go away, more than their parents ever would. And she kept him in her thoughts and heart, never for a moment doubting that she would return to him, having found what he would never lose. 

She loved him, and he was special. Special because he was him; and not because of his short, stubby fingers, his soon-lost-when-smiling, slanted eyes, his eczema ridden ankles, or the little something extra that’s hidden deep inside the last layers of him: he was special because everyone is, no matter what. 

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