I wonder if my brother loves me.

He was my best friend growing up in our quiet suburban neighborhood. We played pretend and built our world purely from our pre-technological imagination and the Chinese figurines my parents collected. We would eat dinner together in the kitchen as our mother sat in the living room watching television and I would trick him into leaving the room so I could pile the food I couldn’t finish into his bowl. We would sit on the foot stool in the bathroom just to talk to the other while showering. Times were simpler, things were simpler, we were simpler.

We use to fight a lot; we use to be the bane of each other’s youthful existence. Being young, we learned about selfishness and selflessness, annoyance and tolerance, and everything in between through each other, as siblings should. I feel like the boy I grew up with was lost when I became more aware of and absorbed in the outside world of middle school that didn’t include him. I began to spend less time with him, and more with the girls who were not obligated to my side, for blood was not mutual. We both, then, spent our time at home glued to our computers and gameboys instead of to each other. The inseparability that I had naively thought would last forever ceased to be, and we drifted apart.

This distance grew over time. We talked less and less, and the only time we really did was out of annoyance. But by the time I was mostly over the teenage angst, he delved into his. I moved out and went to college and he began high school. We rarely talked, let alone saw each other.

And now we’re both facing our respective graduations. He got into Berkeley, but alas, I am to miss him again, and there goes another opportunity to be in the same place as he. We’ve become such different people, and I know things about him only on the surface. For example, I know he enjoys computer games, he swims, he’s been coding since middle school. But ask me about what kind of girls he likes, or his thoughts on this most recent presidential election, or what his values are, and I won’t have much to say. I’ve tried to rebuild our relationship but I believe that we are both so used to the distance between us, that my efforts are brushed off and disregarded. This boy who lives across the hall at my home is a stranger to me; How can someone so close to me have escaped through time?

So the fair question to ask also is if I love my brother? Love is such a hard thing to grasp. We’re supposed to love our parents, but a lot of my fellow Asian Americans with strict and traditional parents can agree that love is a little harder to verbalize and outwardly express than it is for our white counterparts. However, I don’t doubt that it is deeply rooted in us. So yes, I do love my brother, even though I don’t think we’ve ever told each other. I know I do because I’ve been struggling with my composure while writing this short cathartic piece, letting my tears overflow onto my face like a fool in the Qualcomm Cafe on campus before my class. I know I do because the thought of losing him to anything brings me weak to my would-be trembling knees. And I know I do because I think about him, and my heart swells knowing he excelled beyond me academically and became the child my mother wanted him to be.

I wonder if he thinks about me.

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