Have I ever told you how amazing you are? Not in the infantile, often obligatory sense that looms over the head of an older sister confronted with questions about her siblings. Little Brother, you are amazing because you teach me how to be brave. Although, I doubt you realize this super strength with which you are endowed.
Even when we were young, battling the childhood monsters of chicken pox and ear infections, I admired your Achilles like tendencies that rendered you healthy after the most vicious of bouts. And when I think of the time when you cut your ear on a counter corner because you slipped and fell on spilled lemonade that I was supposed to clean, I cringe at my carelessness. Despite the blood, you remained strong.
You are tough kid.
You have hurdled and tackled and sprinted your way through adolescence and you have done so as a beautiful, brown-skinned, wide-eyed adventurer. I love you for that. Because even when the world ( or George Zimmerman) deems you a suspicious threat as a 6’2 ( remember when I was taller than you? ), 19 year-old black boy, you remain open, living fearlessly. The bounce in your walk is like a middle finger to those who dare question your boldness. I imagine at any given moment you’re comforted by thoughts of our parents and dance and skateboarding.
You’ll probably read this and tell me that I’m overthinking, over-analyzing. Maybe you’re right but that’s what older sisters do.
I can’t save you from danger, little brother. I wish I could tell you that all of your dreams will come true and that people are genuinely good but we live in a nation consumed by student loans and religious rifts and occupied streets- a land where skittles on a late night can get you killed. But I’m not going to claim to have the answers for our existential questions. I can only tell you that I love you and perhaps you need, like Trayvon Martin needed, more than words, no matter how deeply felt these words are.
But for now, take them for they carry my admiration and gratitude. You teach me how to be brave in the face of a (dangerous) world that doesn’t yet understand your power.