20 Years in 847 Words
2000: I was practicing wrestling moves on my brother, breaking the springs in my bed. I was eight years olds; he — seven.
2000: I broke his leg playing football. I’ve never heard a scream so loud and tears so genuine. He got payback on me. He was in a body cast, so I had to place a pan under his butt so he could poop. Guess who had to clean the pan?
2001: We were at our mom’s work office playing tag. I tag him and look behind me, thinking he’d be chasing me. But no. He was standstill at the beginning of a hallway. He anxiously exclaims, “Bryce, get mom.” “Why?” I ask. “I just pooped my pants.” From that day forward, I nicknamed him “Poops”.
2002: While sleeping, I peed my pants. I was in 5th grade, which is a tad old to be wetting the bed. My nickname: “Peeps”.
2002: My brother has always been on the shorter and thinner end of the spectrum; me — the opposite. I’ve always been one of, if not, the tallest and “widest”. I heard a kid was bullying my brother. I found a shoe in the bathroom, put it in the toilet, and threw it at the bully, and continued to charge him. That was the last time someone bullied him.
2003: For Christmas, we got numerous video games. That night, we bickered and bonded, playing each game until the sun rose.
2003–2004: The first time we didn’t go to school with each other. The freedom, I thought, would have brought relief but wasn’t. I found myself hoping to see him on my middle school campus. I’ll never admit this to him, but I was excited for my mom and me to pick him up from elementary school.
2004–2005: We were homeschooled. Instead of doing our homework, we’d play video games and indoor sports. We’d roll up socks and use a two-liter soda bottle to play baseball in the house. We never broke anything, but our mom caught us when she found the socks behind the living room couch.
2006: We had our first kiss at the same time. We were at 24 Hour Fitness with girls that liked us. We didn’t know how they felt because we were homeschooled — basically, aliens from another planet — and couldn’t read body language. He was in the sauna, and I, in the pool, when the girls made their move. The pool and sauna were feet from each other. While walking home, we shared we had our first kiss — a milestone that could’ve only occurred between two inseparable brothers.
2006: While at our grandparents, we got into one of our most heated arguments. I pushed him into the front door, breaking the glass in the middle of the door. We were freaking out to the brink of tears because we knew our grandpa — a war veteran — would yell and punish us. So we lied and said my brother tripped and fell into the door. We didn’t tell my grandparents the truth until a couple of years ago.
2007–2010: During high school, we grew apart. We started having different interests and friend groups. We began to fight and argue more than ever. I chased him around the house with a baseball bat after he stole my clothes. Yes, I overreacted, but he was always stealing my stuff! He eventually moved out of my dad’s and back with my mom. For the first time in seventeen years, we didn’t share the same bedroom.
2012: The distance apart made our bond closer. I’d go over to his apartment, and we’d pretend we were kids again, playing video games until the crack of dawn, eating Domino’s pizza and drinking soda beyond the point of satiety, and reminiscing about our childhood.
2013: He broke up with his first love — a girl he dated for six years and planned to marry. To alleviate his pain, I’d talk on the phone with him for hours, and I’d go over to his apartment because he didn’t want to be alone.
2014–2019: Due to work and school, we didn’t hang out much, but when we did, it felt like reuniting with a lifelong partner. We have a connection that feels like we’re in a bubble — invisible, but its presence felt. We know what the other is thinking and feeling. We have similar responses and reactions and sense of humor.
2020: One night in May, he randomly texts me to call him. I call, and immediately he asks, “guess what?” “What?” I respond. “You’re going to be an uncle!” We talked for a little, but I had to get off the phone because I had a cocktail of emotions. I’ve never felt happy, sad, and excited at once. I was writing before the call but couldn’t continue because I was on the verge of tears while simultaneously giddy like the first time I kissed the girl I liked more than the others.
October 2nd, 2020: My Nephew — Greyson Kevin Godfrey, was born.
I’m An Uncle
“How sad and bad and mad it was — but then, how it was sweet” — Robert Browning
There were times I wanted to kill my brother. Like when he’d steal my socks, face wash, or taddle on me for no reason.
But there’s no one I would have rather grown up with. He had more sympathy for me than I had for myself. He’d sense my pain and always tried to make me feel better. He’d brag about me like I was his favorite athlete or musician (he still does this).
Twenty years ago, my brother and I were kids doing what kids do: fighting, arguing, playing, laughing, teasing, hitting, screaming, yelling, and making our parents mad.
Today, my baby brother has a baby.
Some moments and milestones force us to reflect. Becoming an uncle has made me realize that my brother and I have a bond that’s incomparable and that I love him more than anyone in this world.
Dream Chasers is my email list for those who imagine a future different than their present.