The answer to that question hurts my heart, which is why I haven’t written this much sooner.
Let me back up. Way way back.
I only have one sibling. My brother AJ is 18 months older than me, and we were raised like twins. For most of our lives, we’ve done everything together. We built pillow forts late at night from when we were little until the week before he left. We watched the Helm’s Deep battle 18 times in a row once. We talked about everything. We graduated together. We had the same friends and the same inside jokes.
My brother is one of my best friends. He was always there for me, whether I needed a hug, help with something, or someone to listen to me chatter, cry, or rant.
In March, AJ shipped out to Marine boot camp in San Diego. I’m not good with change, and goodbyes. I miss him desperately. Everyone keeps saying “Oh, he’ll be home in June! It’s not so much longer. It’s not a big deal!” Well, they’re not that blunt, but that’s the jist. They’re right, he’s home in June, but only for about a week. After that, he’s back to San Diego, then to Virginia, then to God knows where. For the next 5 years, minimum.
5 years is a long time.
On Easter, I repeatedly almost corrected my mom on how many place settings I should set out, because AJ isn’t here and it threw off my count. Almost every night, I expect him to walk into my room, give me a hug, and ask if I want to talk. But he never does.
The truth is, my brother isn’t coming home. Not really. He’s not coming home to me, and our relationship will never be like it was. Once boot camp is over, I’ll get to see him again, but things will never be the way they were. I’m trying to come to terms with the fact that if I get married in the next 5 years, there’s a good chance he won’t be there. He won’t be here to celebrate with me when I graduate college. One season of our life is over, and I wasn’t ready.
…A small fact that keeps me going: 42 days until I get a hug.
Bonus silly picture, from a couple years ago. Horrid phone quality, I know, but that’s not the point.
Introducing: Batchman and Hatwoman! Underrated and over-costumed super heroes, decked out in finery from a friend’s basement. And kitchen.