I’m supposed to be taking a hiatus but life happened yesterday evening around 9:00PM. I’m supposed to be sleeping, but life took that away from me a few weeks ago also. So at 1:47AM, I’m packing to go home for the thanksgiving weekend. I’m packing to stop me from being emotional, which isn’t really helping because I’m sad/angry crying anyway. I’m packing because it’s one step closer to being reunited with you, my not so little brother. In a few hours I get a little bit of my peace back because I get to head over to your campus, pick you up and drive up to Massachusetts.
I need this peace because yesterday, yet again, America tried to tell me that your life didn’t matter.
I remember when you first came home. I was obsessed with you. At 7-years-old, I was no longer an only child, I finally had a “playmate” (as Dad would say), and T.J, I will finally admit it here and only here, you were as cute as ever. I’d watch you breathe, I’d show you off, and I wanted to carry you everywhere. Yes, overweight, chubby you. Your laugh used to make me laugh. It was one of my favorite things about you, my playmate, my life size toy.
When you first began school, I was scared. I scared you would be picked on, bullied for being a short, chubby, and a profound cry-baby. God, you were such a fucking cry-baby and a germaphobe. I knew they were going to pick on you, so I spent that day in school while I was being bullied for having a British accent, wondering if you were being bullied for simply being a typical target: A little timid and being different.
But you made it through.
I had the same fear when you reached high-school. That idiot called you a “nigger”, you knocked his ass out and the school was out to crucify you for it without acknowledging that you had been provoked for weeks. I blogged about it, I threatened to take the case to the newspaper if the school did not do the right thing, and lo and behold, you made it through. This was right after Trayvon Martin was murdered.
Now as you have made the transition to college, this being your freshman year, I feel exactly how I did back when you started school. I sometimes sit at work, my bedroom, or on the subway wondering if you are okay, simply because you are the typical target: 18-years-old, male and black. I may harass you, talk shit on the phone, reprimand you every once in awhile, but you calling and texting me as often as you do, it helps to keep me sane. You know, it let’s me know you’re okay.
One of the first things I said to you when you started college, “This is New York Bubs, don’t fight with the police.” It was half a joke, it was half serious. I said it to you again last Friday morning. Because you’re 6’2″ and you’re 200+ lbs. We established last year, you’re every coaches dream, you’re built perfectly for football. But when not smiling, when you’re eyebrows are furrowed, you become America’s “greatest threat”. You become Mike Brown. You become Trayvon Martin. You become a threat.
But I’m writing this to tell you that you’re not a threat. You’re my little brother. My annoying overly confident little brother. My big friendly giant. My mathematician. My future accountant. My reason why I didn’t take those jobs further away. My reason why I work so hard. My favorite comedian. My top shelf reacher. My friends and coworkers know that my love for you is paramount. They all know your name, they’ve seen your face, they know you matter.
T.J, your life matters. It will always matter.
I love you, see you soon.