My Brother’s Keeper

People used to crave the delivery of what is now deemed “snail mail.” In the current tense, people generally abhor receiving mailed letters because it’s either a bill or a traffic violation (like I received yesterday – bah).

But on those rare occasions, you receive a letter or a card with real handwriting. With real words that flow like poetry and move you to tears. The power of words is incredible and sometimes the fact that it was not done via email, Tweeter, Facebook, instant message, Skype, etc. moves you to remember that simplicity, amongst all the fascinating technology of this world, is beautiful, too.

Today I had a rare occasion.

Below is the letter I received from my younger brother. It was typed on a typewriter, the one that he hulls into the grove in front of our parent’s house and writes at on a desk that was placed there by our father. It overlooks the lagoon and lingers under eucalyptus trees.

Raquel,

Remember a long time ago when you sent me a letter on bright yellow paper that was handwritten and basically expressed how much you freakin’ love me? Well, this is on white paper, and typewritten, but I promise you the song will remain the same.

I miss you alot since you live up in San Francisco and I know there was a period of time where our relationship grew so far apart we didn’t even know each other anymore. I’d say this was about after high school when you went off to college and discovered your own path and journey in this life. But let it be known from the highest misty mountain tops that I am proud and happy to call you Mi Hermana Mayor. You’re the best Big Sis a lil bro could ask for. And I know you love me and I know you know I love you too and I guess it’d be pretty obvious to say that’s a beautiful thing?

So I’ll just say I’m very glad we’ve been able to reconnect these past couple years. You’re such a good human being and you’ve blossomed into such a brilliant and beautiful woman-inside and out-and now that I’ve tucked a small taste of real world experience under my belt (no pun intended) I can recognize how rare it is to know such a wonderful, vibrant, and amazing woman.

You rock, Rocky. Knocking those Apollos out in the 12th round, sweating and bleeding, like it was nothing. I wouldn’t want to step into the ring with you. You’ve got Madre’s dragon spirit when it comes to kicking ass and taking names and I know in the grand scheme of things you’ll be a great success because your heart is in the right place.

[…]

But at the risk of sounding boring or cliche, I will now retire before I start repeating myself via fistfuls of gibberish and gobbledy-gook. Just know that I will always love you Raquel and that no matter what happens, no matter what they throw at you, I will always be your little brother and I will always be there for you.

In this life and the next,

-Shane

My brother is a unique soul. We are opposites in many ways, but frequently find ourselves in playful fits of banter that no one else can understand. It’s our world. We built it when we were young – forts, games, languages, costumes. We were a team against the great big world of adults looming over our antics. These words do not express the joy that I have in my heart and the pride that overwhelms me as I watch him grow. Granted, he is imperfect – as we all are – but he is loved all the same. Very loved.

In this life and the next. Ad infinitum, frater.