M1 has four sisters and four brothers. She is the second youngest out of nine, which has left me in no short supply of cousins, but everyone always has a favorite sibling right? Her favorite sister was Bonnie. Bonnie’s son, Josh, was about four or five years older than me, and since Aunt Bonnie was always around, so was Josh.
Josh and I grew up like a brother and sister, and to this day, he still heavily influences my life just from how we grew up back then. Josh was into video games and introduced me to the Sega Genisis. Josh trained me to like Batman. He would say “Who’s the best?” and if I said anything other than Batman, he would hit me. Not a bad kind of hit, but just how kids played. We played rough and thus, Jessica the tom boy was born. We were inseperable when we were younger. Our mothers and grandmother would mix up our names when yelling at us. “Jo-Jam-Jessica. Whichever one you are, come here!”
When I moved to WV, I grew up wearing his hand-me-downs, playing with toys he no longer wanted. We still saw each other because most of M1’s family lived in West Virginia, so Aunt Bonnie would come up and he would to, and we’d pick up right where we left off, with him picking on me and me pretending to cry so he would get in trouble. You know, typical sibling relationship. I craved it because Sean was/is a wuss, and would cry if I tried to play the games that Josh and I played together.
Like with all siblings, you eventually hit that age where you grow apart. Unfortunately, I was not ready to grow apart and tried to cling to him, which drove him further away. And then he began doing drugs and failing school, and eventually went to jail. I visited him once, but when he got out, he booked it to West Virginia, breaking his parole and guarenteeing that he could never return.
And then he went to jail again, this time in Florida. I wrote him letters, but I could tell by his reply that he was no longer that boy I remembered. I’m not saying that being religious is a bad thing, but when it becomes your whole life like that…. I had wanted to talk to him about everything that was happening to me, the drugs I was experimenting with, the friends I had made, but I knew that he wouldn’t be as accepting of me after I revealed that part of me.
When he was released, we became Facebook friends but that was the extent I talked to him. The older brother figure I had was gone.
Aunt Bonnie still talked about him all the time, and in my “I must visit a new state every year” goal, I said I would go down and visit him with her. We leave this Sunday. To say I’m nervous to get reaquainted with someone I used to admire is an understatement. What if we have nothing in common anymore? Long gone are the days when we would take the couch cushions and just run at each other, which eventually ended with me squashed on the floor. If only that could be how we reintroduce ourselves, and then just laugh it off and resume our kinship.