I just worked it out, my brother’s text message read. You’re not a pleasure-seeking hedonist- you’re just existentially brave.
That is the third nicest thing anybody has ever said to me.
The second nicest thing anybody has ever said to me is you hardly ever dress slutty, do you? Because no, I don’t.
The actual nicest thing anybody has ever said to me is- well. It’s unrepeatable in polite company.
FUCK! This is supposed to be a post about the love I have for my baby brother, and two paragraphs in and I’ve basically just said blow job. I don’t think I’m doing this properly.
What’s my point again?
Oh, right. My point about the text message is that it made me cry. Like, actual tears. In itself it isn’t a hugely emotional sort of a text, but here’s the thing: when I got it, I was curled up in my bed, in my brother’s thermal leggings, surrounded by my brother’s goose down pillows encased in brushed cotton pillow cases, legs wrapped up in his cashmere blanket because the apartment block had broken heating and I’m not responsible enough to own nice (warm) things.
I’d spent my entire evening up until that point indulging in a series of exercises that I got right out of the Jack Appreciation Society handbook, because he was away, with work, and I missed him. I had no one to cook my tea. Missing somebody when your house is so cold you can see your own breath, and then having them messaging something lovely, is just asking for a pre-menstrual cry. Also, without all his stuff I'd have been freezing.
When I’d rifled through his wardrobe for some warm, hole-less socks earlier that evening, I’d laughed, out loud, as I stood in front of his piled, folded t-shirts and artfully arranged belts. It was just so… Jack. (wanky.)
Earlier on I’d lounged on our sofa, Gilles Peterson putting on a French accent to talk about DJ’s I’ve never heard of, in our immaculately tidy flat. The week before Jack and I had ordered in pizza from the Sardinian restaurant round the corner- the one he insisted was the best, and he was right- and “deep-cleaned” the place, moving furniture and throwing out old magazines and gradually getting drunk on red wine with Lemon Sanpelligrino, a drink that Jack showed me how to mix. (wanky.)
The speakers the music came from were dotted all round the room- Jack had set up surround sound because “good music deserves to be listened to properly.” (wanky.)
Alone in the flat without him it was incredible to me how personalised his space is- our space now- how Jack everything was. Our differences seemed so highlighted. It’s staggering to me that I can be all let’s move abroad and buy the stupid coat and do the air guitar and my only sibling is more I like this just so and this is the best way to do it and slowly, calmly, breathe.
How are we even related?
I tell anyone who’ll listen that I’m the all-singing, all-dancing, talktalktalk loudmouth who’ll fill silence with mememe, but when I finally go to take a breath Jack will let slip something so utterly spot-on and perfect that it makes everyone furrow their brow in awe a bit, and I can throw as much wit-glitter into their mouths as I like, they won’t swallow down my words like Jack’s truth.
He’s just… got shit figured out. He’s brilliant.
Well. Until he’s not.
Well. Until he’s not.
‘Jack, I need to talk to you about something.’
‘Do you need to talk to me about the fact you owe me forty quid for the veg box?’
‘Urm, shall we talk about the money I left out for you to pay for mum’s taxi to the station the other week, but that you pocketed?’
‘SHE WANTED TO PAY FOR THE TAXI.’
‘So where’s my money?’
‘… and you owe me for the Internet.’
‘Right. Are you ever going to buy toothpaste?’
‘It’s a pound, Laura.’
I call him half-job Bob, because he has trouble doing the last part of any task, be it leaving the last three things in the washing up bowl or taking down the drying except for the socks on the radiator.
He’s a back-seat chef- I’d take that down to a simmer if I were you- and last week got his ear pierced. He hardly ever makes a brew and leaves the shitty bits of paper from the bottom of his bag- receipts, train tickets- all over the breakfast bar.
He has no idea where his shoes should live.
I got a lump in my throat when I got his text message because I’ve never- not in my entire life- ever had a moment where I loved him more. He loves me too. Being in his home- our home- and seeing his life through eyes not coloured by his presence, I was genuinely struck by how phenomenal his influence in my own being is and how lucky I am he’s my brother. I saw how my bits dovetailed into his bits, and how actually, we’ve sort of built a life together now.
And I just thought, fuck. I’ve found my best friend.
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