Sometimes while editing this book, it gets really hard to not totally hate my brother. And I do mean, "hate." I've always felt like siblings can bring out some of our strongest emotions, and Alex made me feel them all like no one else.
In today's pages he wrote this little moment where, after locking himself out of and then breaking back into his own apartment, he stops and makes himself a drink before walking outside to let the woman he is with back in, even though it's the middle of February and she's freezing. This is exactly the kind of selfish, senseless stuff Alex did all of the time. He'd unplug the computer when I was using it just because he wanted a turn. He once broke my bike because I wouldn't give it to his girlfriend (why would I give my own bike away?). He constantly stole my car and drove out all the gasoline I had just put in, without refilling the tank, of course. He did so many infuriating things, both minor and major, that I used to lay awake at night after our epic fights and imagine all the ways I could kill him.
Oh, don't give me that. If you've never pictured punching your sibling in the face so hard he flies back 10 feet into the air and cracks the wall behind him with his big, stupid head, or imagined him stranded on a deserted island, surviving on a diet of raw sea cucumbers while you cruise by in a fancy yacht and give him a wave between bites of deep dish pizza, or fantasized about the day the hospital finally realizes the mistake they made all those years ago and delivers your real, wonderful brother, who then beats up the imposter who made your life miserable for all those years, you were either lucky, or an only child (so again, lucky). Most siblings have yelled, "I'M GOING TO KILL YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!" to each other at one point or another (if not several times in a day), and while I think it's mostly chalked up as an angry exaggeration by adults; a childish exclamation over petty slights, thefts, and betrayals, I have to wonder how many siblings actually would kill each other if we lived in a Game of Thrones type of world. I mean, hell, if there were no real laws, no school, and my only job was survival, I'd put up with some snot-nosed brother stealing my share of the food I grew myself for about five minutes before I'd sic my pet wolf on him (in this world I have a pet wolf who obeys all my commands and is my very best and loyal friend).
Alex wasn't always so goddamn rage inducing, though. That didn't start until we were teenagers. When we were kids, he was annoying, sure, but also really funny, sweet, weird, and nerdy. He used to get just as excited for my birthday as he did for his. He raised tadpoles and let them go in the creek behind our house so they could be free and "meet girl frogs." He'd let our baby brother mess up his entire room and not get mad. He finished every swimming race he ever swam with a smile on his face, even though he always finished dead last. He was a pain in the ass, sure, but he was a pain-in-the-ass I liked having around. When I remember that Alex, that snaggle-toothed dweeb in a Shaq jersey who always had something gross like lice or ringworm, I soften. Even during our tumultuous teen years, I'd see a flash of eight year old Alex in sixteen year old Alex's face, and I'd put down the vacuum cleaner I was about to pummel him with. No matter how much I wanted him to pay for everything he stole from me as a adult, I knew that somewhere deep down was the boy who gave me everything as a kid.
Lice and ringworm included.
About a month ago, my friend’s grandfather died. He was in his eighties and had been ill, so his end was not a surprise, but she was sti...