YEARS AGO, I bumped into a familiar face while I was walking on campus with a friend.  I never bothered to smile, nor did I do anything to call his attention.  After he walked past us, I told my friend that he was my brother.  With doubt and confusion, she asked, “Kuya mo siya? Ba’t hindi kayo nag-usap?”

This was always the question people asked me about my overlooked encounters with my brother.  And I always answered that we were not close.

It has always been that way since we were kids.  We simply would fight over trivial things like toys, teasing, and how I meddled with his stuff.  At times, the exasperated look on his face would make me feel hesitant in asking him for a favor.  Because of his temper and his preference and attachment with his friends than with his own siblings, my elder brother, younger sister and I formed an “alliance” against him.  His aloofness made me feel distant and even scared of him, even as we grew older.  At home, we would often complain about his endless rants, impatience and inconsiderate idleness while we all did our share in the household chores.

Back when we were in high school, he would sit in front of the television busy with his Playstation, or watch basketball games while we toiled in cleaning the house.

It was only last year that I really felt how much of a brother he was to me, apart from the concern he showed when he I was still not home late at night.  The feeling came to me one day when he took comfort in a small couch and looked after me—beside my hospital bed.

Reaching for the heavens

I was confined for dengue fever last December.  It was he who monitored my fluid intake and output as needed, and accompanied me patiently to the bathroom.

Even before I was confined, he had been left alone to look after me.  Despite his usual impatience and irritation with traffic and irresponsible drivers, he drove me to the hospital for a checkup, where we waited for hours.  Days after, when I had to be confined, he even rushed home from an appointment just to drive me back to the same hospital.

The weeklong pain that went with my sickness was worth bearing, for it was in this moment that I felt my brother’s affection for me, something that I rarely felt in ordinary situations.

My family and friends all showed their concern and love during this painful time, but it was my brother’s love, which moved me most.

Though it feels like hell at times having to hear all his outbursts and endure his indifference, his soft spot has brought a little piece of heaven at home.  Indeed, it is in tight situations that we realize who genuinely loves us.

Despite missing so much school work and the physical pain I endured through the ordeal, I held on to the realization that it made me learn more about my brother—and appreciate him more.

Now, I find comfort and confidence that despite our initial distance, a bridge has already been formed during the time when I needed him most.

My aunt would often recall that my brother once packed all my clothes and took me to our cousin’s house, wanting to exchange me with her son who was around my age.  But today, this story simply remains as a funny account of his naivety as a child because now he has certainly made me feel not only welcomed, but loved.

Fr. Lana ends rectorship

He may not have a brother he could play basketball with, but I think having a sister who thinks it’s cool to have a “tough-but-gentle” brother will be a good substitute.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.