Saturday, 5 March 2016

My first playmate

You were my first playmate. My best friend.

I don’t know how it would have felt to have my own Barbie doll as a kid but I sure loved playing with beyblades and racing cars – because it was with you.

You; the one whom I threatened to drown whenever we went for a swim (I would never have done that by the way – just in case you still don’t know!). You; the one whose face I left fingernail marks on when my fingers were itching for revenge. You; the one who made me fume with rage whenever I was caned for hitting you. You; the one whom I stood up for when the little boy at the playground insulted you (I even remember cursing at his mum when she reprimanded both of us!) You; the one who kept on revealing my embarrassing moments in front of my cell group friends. You; the one who made me regret chasing you out of cell group, thinking that you made bad company because of what I did. You; the one who made me worry like never before when you walked out of our villa, into the night, after you fought with Praise. (We were on a holiday in Malacca, and mum and dad were out buying dinner for us. You were less than 12.) You; the one who cried and said sorry for being a mean brother after I got hit by a car. You; the one who made me tear up when I heard that you got a tattoo (yes I did) because I hated the mere idea that you might some day regret.

You were my chief accomplice.

I remember our supermarket missions, stealthily dropping snacks into the trolley but never succeeding at making mum pay for it at the counter. I remember taking turns to play Maple Story (okay fine, I probably hogged the computer most of the time) while helping each other keep watch for mum to return home, signaling that it was time to force-shut the computer and run back to our rooms. I remember talking about all-things-random at bedtime and pretending to be fast asleep the moment dad entered the bedroom. I remember being each other’s dummies, as we practised throwing the kicks and punches of aspiring street fighters (which always ended up as actual fist fights).

I was always the bully. You were that small little boy that always got pinned down by me.

But as you grew, it took me a little more energy to keep you down.

And you grew. It was becoming a challenge.

And grew. I knew I could no longer win.

Yet, I never lost, either. Even when I gave my all in attacking you, I know you always held back – you’d never hurt your sister.

And then you grew so big to the point that fighting became a laughing matter.

Somehow, as we stopped fighting, stopped arguing, stopped “hating” each other, our conversations, too, became shorter and shorter.

You were spending more time outside with your friends, and so was I. As time went by, we gradually matured as individuals, shaped by our own experiences. You probably tried to be in mine (as all younger siblings try to do) but I kept you out. And I, shamefully, didn’t seek to be in yours when it was your turn.

It was only when I heard the stories of what you’ve been through (after emerging from them) that I came to realise how much I’ve missed out from your life.

On your 19th birthday today, I want to tell you that I’m sorry that I wasn’t there for you during the most trying period of your life – I was preoccupied with my own. Now that we’re already becoming adults, I can only hope that our baby sisters (who in actual fact, are no longer babies) will remain as the best friends that they are today.

I’m sorry that I always take you – and the family – for granted. I don’t remember ever saying this but I love you very much, my brother, my first playmate! 

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