My brother Corey is ten years younger than me. When he was little, he was very close to me, preferring to hang out with me and my friends rather than kids his own age. Even once I moved out into my own place, I’d invite him to all of my parties and he’d dress up in my boots and skirts and twirl around for all of my friends to either laugh uproariously or gawk in horror.
He came to my twenty-fifth birthday party, which was really just a small gathering around a platter of Jello shots. Unbeknownst to me, Corey was slipping shots up his sleeve and sneaking off to have his own private spiked gelatin feast. He ended up crashing at my place and when my mom picked him up the next morning, she called me and yelled, "Corey threw up in the car on the way home. It must be all that vegetarian shit you feed him!"
Corey and I had the kind of symbiotic relationship that make us choose the same obscure answers during riveting rounds of Scattergories.
But then in high school he became too popular with the girls to bother with his big sister and her stupid life. He has his own friends, his own parties to attend, his own car to drive.
Having Chooch pulled us even further apart. It took Corey a long time to warm up to him. He used to hold him like he was a ticking bomb and he didn’t come to his first birthday party.
A few months ago, Corey started texting me regularly. He attended my last two game nights (and even brought a girl to the last one!) and admitted to developing a taste for the Cure.
Initially, Christina was supposed to go see the Cure with me next month in Philadelphia, but Corey expressed interest. Christina was understanding when I asked her if Corey could go in her place, and Corey was thrilled. I’m going to tell my mom we’re sleeping in the car at a truck stop, maybe scare her into securing us a hotel room.
Corey and I have never road-tripped together. In fact, we haven’t spent more than a few hours together at a time since I moved out ten years ago. I’m really hoping it will be one of those bonding experiences that people make movies about (hopefully no one will die though) and that he won’t be too embarrassed when I act like an asshole, because it’s like Tourette’s: I just can’t help it. I haven’t told him yet about the car-jackings and kidney-thieving I have lined up for that weekend, though.
Then last night, he texted me and asked me to help him decorate for his graduation party and that I can invite some of my friends, too. To me, this means: Even though I still think you’re a crazy assed weirdo, I am not as embarrassed of you as I once was; besides, I really need help draping streamers.