(me and Piers at our sister’s wedding in 2000)
I should pre warn you all, i’m feeling reflective and sentimental.
The thing about brothers, is i’ve always been lucky with them. I was born with a brother nearly seven years older than me who always understood that if no one else was there to do it then it became his job to slay the dragon. Not to say it wouldn’t have been him that drew me to it’s attention in the first place, but you know.
My brother was long suffering. Much of my childhood was accompanied by ‘Piers take your sister with you and don’t let her drown/fall/be horribly mutilated/get lost/ out of your site’ .
He has severe dyslexia so if he was left to babysit he used to invent bed time stories, which inevitably ended in nightmares. He was banned from playing the Thriller album if I was in the house because i’d snuck a look at the music video and it gave me nightmares. I was always tailing after him. I pulled the arm off his action man to add verisimilitude to the game where he was supposedly getting his arm blown off. I was a pain in the butt.
If there were things I couldn’t or wasn’t ready to talk to my folks about I could always talk to Piers. He might snitch on me ten minutes later, but that never seemed to matter. We would fight and wind each other up but he was the only one allowed to do it. When life was hard and scary and too much I could lean on Piers and feel safe, he’d call it if I was being an arse but he never loved me less or accepted me less for it.
When he left home I was lost. I was maybe 11years old and my safe place was gone. There’d been a big row and he wasn’t welcome for a while and I was bereft without him. Now if I wasn’t ready to talk to my folks I was on my own with it.
For a number of reasons we ended up being at uni at the same time. I used to call him at 3am to chat. He was always awake. We don’t talk all the time like we used to. That’s ok, I know where he is. He was the first person I told when I had a fling with a girl, he kept that secret for years. He was the first member of my family to know about my tattoo and the only one I volunteered the information to.
But the thing about brothers, is you find them in the strangest places. I was lucky, I was born with one. I’ve had others. They don’t always last forever, and you do always feel the loss if they go. But sometimes someone comes into your life who will give you a safe place, somewhere to be you, to be broken and sad and for that to be ok. Someone who will tell you that you are being a twat and not hold it against you. Someone who will hug you as long as you need rather than as long as is comfortable for them. Someone who probably wonders why they put up with all the shit they put up with but who non the less pitches up when dragon slaying is required and the requisite knight is once again absent.
I miss the brother I lost. I love the brothers I have. I’m very lucky. I have amazing people in my life.