Photosource: Sunshine - Ushaka Durban 2006
When my brother was born, I imagined myself in the big sister role… first changing his nappy, then defending him against bullies and then one day teaching him about girls.
I still recall the day he smsed me asking me the mechanics of kissing a girl…
At first I jumped off my chair and literally had a fit in trying to figure out how it is that an eleven year old was considering swapping saliva with a girl!!!
I then remember than my first kiss was at ten and decided to calm down. I thanked my lucky stars that he hadn't been present to see my first reaction and decided to deal with the whole novelty with maturity and prudence that a sister should have.
Deciding that perhaps he would feel less comfortable if I called him up, I smsed him back and suggested that he practiced on his hand.
Satisfied with my response, I decided that perhaps being a big sister wasn't all that hard after all… until he smsed me back and asked when the tongue comes in!
After going different shades of red and pulling over a dozen hairs out my head, I finally found the serenity to advise him to take things naturally and let it slip in only when it felt right. Of course I gave him all those useful tips like: don't slobber, don't force, don't exaggerate on movements… right after I knocked my head on the wall a couple of times in imagining my little brother at the beginning life's most complicated discoveries: the opposite sex! At twenty four, I still haven't figured it all out and the way I see it… I was happier when I knew little or nothing about it! Sometimes, I still feel clueless!
I was pretty chuffed when he let me know a couple of days later that the whole tongue thing wasn't very attractive to him… YET… Hehehe, he’ll surely see it differently later in life.
I pride myself in the fact that I've always tried to teach my little brother in how to handle the ladies. Considering his youth, it might be a fruitless thing to do – the kind of thing that goes in the one ear and out the other. However I hold the hope that one or two important things will stick, the kind that will help to understand his woman one day and avoid unnecessary heart ache. Some things I could see he understood, others he simply ignored or took for granted… unfortunately dancing resulted in more bruised toes then successful moves (Although I haven't given up hope on his two left feet yet). During most of the time, I've always felt that he merely listened with the disinterest of a child that hasn't felt his heart beat faster at the sight of a particular skirt.
Eventually it would happen, although I can't say I was prepared considering he blurted it out while we were talking about our dogs. My little baby has fallen for a girl and from the way he tells me things, the feeling has gone beyond the regular crush.
What happened?!! The last time I asked him about a girlfriend he proudly told me that he didn't want to be a bus statistic from girls at his school that compare how many boyfriends each has had… and now suddenly I find out he's been harbouring a soft spot for a particular girl for months!
I ignored the hurt feeling that he's kept the secret from me for so long and decided to give him the best advice possible. I discovered that my little brother is a hopeless romantic that is afraid to show emotion and hasn't the courage to own up to it… In other words: He takes after me!
Damnit! He was supposed to inherit all the good genes! And I don't mean just the good looks and fabulous body; I mean… he wasn't supposed to be softie…
Suddenly guilt kicks in and I wonder if all the secrets I've taught him about the opposite sex hasn't made too much of a good guy out of him…
After two hours of talk my little brother graced me with the best kind of reward a sister can get: a heartfelt thank-you and a I love you.
I however was left with that sinking feeling of someone who knows what kind of road softies travel and the heartbreak that goes with it – I really don't want that for my brother but I can't choose his road for him. I can only be there for him when he falls.
Why did boet also have to be a softie?!
A year ago, someone looked me in the eyes and told me that I was the kind of person that fell fast and hard. I got so angry with the statement that I wanted to throw him out the window.
Partly because I didn't want to accept that like that, partly because I know that I am.
It's hard to catch a heart like mine, but once it's caught – I'm caught hook, line and sinker! I've realized with time that I don't have much choice in the matter but I do have the power to decide what to do with it… if only that were an easy decision! Luckily I've become really good at keeping it in a box.
This year, it occurred to me that it takes one to know one… and that the person only accused me of what he recognizes in himself.
It occurs to me that my little brother is growing up. That he's far more mature than I'd like him to be and that from now on there are things in the world I can't protect him from.
I'm proud of him; I know he's got what it takes to survive… My only prayer is that his soft heart doesn't suffer as much as mine did.