by STEPHANIE TANG
As kids, my little brother and I always had something to bicker about, whether it was what to eat or who would get the blue gatorade (because apparently, getting the same color as a sibling is forbidden in your adolescent years).
However, we always found common ground in challenging each other with games that we made up. When we were in middle school, my brother and I had a “tradition” of sorts, to count which houses had light displays every time the holiday season came around. Since we were both enrolled in the afterschool program, ICES and later, After-School All-Stars, we always went home at 5 p.m. Our dad would pick us up, and as he drove, with my brother sitting on the left side of our green Toyota 4Runner and me on the right, we would start tallying up the number of gleaming lights we traveled past.
Every night was a new slate, a chance for the other person to win. We made the rules as we played, but it was an entertaining bonding experience that made the 15-minute drive home seem shorter than it was.
Being highly competitive, as we were and still are, we would try to “one-up” each other by finding the most houses with their light displays on, even if it was an obscure house that could barely be seen down a seemingly never-ending street.
I cannot help but feel an overwhelming sense of nostalgia wash over me as I see this year’s holiday lights being put up. I think about how my brother and I both grew out of this annual custom. It seems like we just slowly stopped playing as we grew older, and competing in such a mundane pastime did not seem worth the effort anymore. Even if we wanted to rekindle this childhood tradition, we can’t because I leave campus several hours after he does.
Although I am excited for a change in environment, both socially and geographically, in the upcoming school year, I do not know where I will be. The thought of being away from family, especially my brother, is a little unnerving. I always feel uncomfortable stepping away from the familiar, as one does, but I have always known that my brother was a constant.
We have never needed to “catch up” with each other because we see each other almost every day, but around this time next year, we will be talking about finished college applications, freshman college experiences and how grueling finals still are.
For the first time in my life, I will be away from my brother for more than a week, even if it is, at a minimum, only an hour away. We will not be able to amuse ourselves by playing games like the “Radio Game” where we attempt guess the name and artist(s) of whichever song comes on the radio faster than the other. He will not be there to wake me up when I sleep through all nine of my alarms, or say “Hi” to each other during passing periods.
We have grown out of our constant bickering phase, but in my opinion, the sporadic bickering makes for a healthy relationship. Despite the fact that things will be different, I believe the distance will give us a newfound appreciation for each other.