By ARIYANA ASH
Thank you for always being Player 2.
For all the kisses that you plant all over my face with your sticky little lips.
For the feel of your small, warm, damp hand that clings to mine when we enter new and uncertain surroundings that somehow, someway, always gives me the courage that I didn’t feel just a moment before.
For the time I overheard you adamantly insisting to your little friends that I, your sister, had more superpowers and was way more beautiful than Wonder Woman.
For the flush of embarrassment that stained your cheeks when you realized that I was standing right behind you when you said that.
For your little offerings of candy, oddly shaped rocks, and wildflowers that you collect with your plump and dimpled hands – especially for me.
For those things, I thank you.
For always taking my side against others even if I am dead wrong.
For providing me with companionship and a constant flow of entertainment when I am lonely, restless, brokenhearted or grounded.
For saying nothing when I can’t bear words and my eyes are wet with unshed tears. But also, for prattling on about everything when I desperately need the demons of guilt and self-criticism driven out of my head.
For being able to tolerate me when I myself cannot.
For the ice waters, snacks, pencil sharpeners and blank pieces of paper that I bellow for and that you provide without attitude or complaint.
For all those things, I need you.
For the tears running down your smiling face; not because something is wrong but because you found something to be so painfully beautiful that you couldn’t contain your feelings.
For the way you often close your eyes and tilt your head to the side when you play piano that makes me wonder if you, alone, can hear angels singing while you play.
For the way you never stress out about your grades or what people think of you or when your friends turn on you. You are so completely unaffected, and when asked why, you simply answer, “because none of that matters.”
For those things, I admire you.
For the way you show empathy and understanding to all people of every race and gender. I have never heard you utter a racial comment or laugh at a joke that was made at the expense of another. In fact, deliberate cruelty to others enrages you.
For the way you sit in the back yard to talk and sing so sweetly to the squirrels and birds with your piping little boy voice.
For the way you give every penny you own to the homeless and then not only apologize to them for not being able to do and give more but also beg them for their forgiveness.
For those things and more, I serve you.
You once told me that I was your greatest teacher, but little brother, you’ve got it all wrong. Although I am a lot older, you have taught me far more than I can ever teach you.