My brother and I were very close growing up. Having older twin sisters, ooOOOoOOoOOoooOOO the blonde hair, blue eyed “Tiger Twins” (literally, how they were known in our neighborhood), that invented their own
stupid clever language, shared a bedroom and did everything together meant that when my baby brother was born, I finally had someone to hang out with. We were inseparable.
Growing up, I spoke like the teacher on the Peanuts. I had a hearing disability that meant no one but my mother could truly understand me. In fact, she has admitted that if she didn’t catch me at the beginning of a statement even she had no idea what the words were that were coming out of my mouth. There is a family story of me as a toddler screaming for a chocolate bar at the grocery store. Apparently the word “chocolate” came out of my mouth as a sort of muffled “f**k it.” I threw a tantrum in the grocery store, pointing to the chocolate screaming “Mommy! F**k it! F**k it F**K IT!” over and over and over again, much to my mothers embarrassment.
The summer after 1st grade my teacher mailed me some items that I left in my desk. There was a note from her that asked if I had taken my ears out my pockets yet. People thought I wasn’t listening, they didn’t realize I couldn’t actually hear. Jerks. It is no wonder I am bad at math and not into shaving my legs and would kill for Chinese food right now. No? I digress. The point is, my younger brother had no hearing problems but he grew up with the same speech impediment that I had. Simply b/c we were that close, he modeled his speech after me. Years of speech therapy and ear surgery cured me and my brother eventually grew out of it.
Now-a-days my brother lives in California. Before that he lived in Texas. Before that he was in a million other places through his education & residency program. He is an Anesthesiologist and he is in the military. I don’t get to see him in person very often but he and I OWN Skype, especially when I get home around 2 or 3 in the morning after a night out. The timing just works out for us in the wee morning hours. We catch up and have typical brother/sister talk for hours until one of us, me, is too tired to function.
Our topics of conversation run the gamut. We talk about everything from funny childhood stories to the stress of his job to my improv classes to
Me: … *barrrroooooom*…. *laughs*
Brother: Joanna, c’mon on. Grow up. That is just gross.
Me: What? What are you talking about?
Brother: Oh, you didn’t fart just now?
Me: Wellllllll…. ok, you got me. I did it on purpose. It was no accident. Don’t be embarrassed for me. I did it on purpose.
Brother: But did you have to make that face? This is Skype. I can see AND hear you, you know.
Me: *giggles* *high fives self*
Brother: Anyway, like I was saying, it was a difficult day and I am just so glad to be home with this beer and–
me: *BBBBBBBAAAAAAAARRRRRRROOOOOOMMMMMMMMM* … *covers mouth to muffle laugh*
Brother: JESUS JOANNA! What did you eat? That sounded like we were having an earthquake!! I think my laptop shook.
Me: *laughing. struggling to catch my breath*
Brother: Seriously, Joanna. Seriously?
Me: Listen, That wasn’t for me. That was for you. Also, I want you to know I commanded that one out. I really forced it. I showed it who was the boss. In case you are wondering, I am the boss.
Brother: *crickets chirp* *drinks beer*
Me: So tell me how was your trip to *face turns scarlet*
Me: “Veins bulge*
Me: *laser focused eyes*
Brother: JOANNA!! Really? Just… just stop pushing!
Me: Shhhhhhh! bequietbequietbequiet! the Domincccaaaannnmmmmmppppphhhhheeeeeeeeeeeeeek
Brother: … wow… that was…uh… intense.
Me: Yeah, well, I could see that you got all quiet. Like, I dunno, maybe you were going to try & ignore it. Acting as though it didn’t happen. I want to be sure you know that sucker didn’t just squeak out. I.AM.THE.BOSS. I forced it. Did you notice how it went up in pitch at the end, like a question? I did that on purpose too.
Brother: You are an animal Joanna. How are we related? …In fact, wow! Will you look at the time! Jeez, I should really let you go, it is late, 4am where you are. You should go to sleep.
Me: *crickets chirp*
Brother: Did you hear me? Go to sleep Joanna.
Me: *raises eyebrows*
Brother: *long exhale* then suddenly *face turns red* *veins bulge* *eyes water*
Me: I believe in you! You can do it!! Make the inquisitive sound at the end! Think really hard of a question. Turn your insides into a question mark. Think “Who, what, how, and why!” You can do it!!! YOU.CAN.DO.IT!
Me: *claps hands* *excited face*
I give my brother a double thumbs up and a virtual pat on the back.
-end Skype chat-
He is my baby brother. I love him. …. and he is going to kill me.