Thursday, March 17, 2005

raven's rollercoaster ride

When I woke up that morning, my friend was already gone. It was probably around noon, and he had the courtesy to let me sleep, but not to stick around. It didn't matter; I'd just play his bass guitar for an hour or two until he came to get me. Time and activity were irrelevant on Saturdays when I was seventeen.

After getting up from my usual place on the floor, I kicked my blanket and pillow into the corner of the room, and plugged his bass in. I was barely halfway through the day's first song, when my friend's younger brother came into the room. "Cool, you're finally awake... I want to show you something."

Everyone in this family was a unique character, and my friend's fourteen-year-old brother was no exception. He was my brother's age, and my dad still hated him from years ago, when he squirted liquid soap into our fishbowl, which was inhabited at the time. He wasn't much different at fourteen, which is why I liked him. He was mischievous, ballsy, and impressionable - everything you want in a friend's little brother.

There's one sibling left unaccounted for at this point, Raven. Raven was their three-year-old sister. She was sophisticated in many ways, modeled after their mother, but she was also just a child. She wore makeup and high-heels, but carried dolls around. She was also engaging and affectionate, but she'd often snub you, because you weren't cool enough to socialize with her and her dolls. At three, she already had her own twist on the family heritage of being cool and intriguing, yet enigmatic.

Raven was waiting in the hall, excited to participate in whatever trick my friend's little brother was going to show me. I was barely awake at this point, but followed the two of them to the living room. He sat down on the couch, put Raven on his lap facing toward him, and made sure that I was looking.

He hugged her sweetly and said, "I love you, Raven." Without any delay, she responded in kind and hugged her brother, with a big smile on her face. After a few seconds of this, he grabbed her by the shoulders, whipped her back to an upright sitting position, quickly looked her in the eyes, and growled, "I hate you!" Raven instantly burst into tears, while I burst into laughter.

Hugging her again, while rubbing her back, he said, "I was just kidding, Raven... I love you." Her crying stopped immediately, and her smile returned. The experience of a moment before was very traumatic for her, and she seemed glad to have her big brother there to console her. The consoling only lasted for a few seconds before he again thrust her back and angrily proclaimed his hatred toward her.

This went on for a little while, with her reactions instantly following the lead of her brother's demeanor. I wanted to tell him to stop, but I was laughing so hard that I could barely breathe, let alone speak. Really though, what did I know about raising a three-year-old anyway?

I think that the story could be used as a metaphor for the emotional ups and downs of familial interaction, contrasting the stoic environment in which I was raised. Maybe it could then be said that my friend's little brother was somewhat deep, showing me what family is really about. I mean, Raven was experiencing both the best and worst of her brother in quick, potent doses, and I was given the unique opportunity to witness this interaction first hand. This little girl knew that she was both loved and hated - most people don't learn that until many years later. I consider her lucky in a way.

My friend's little brother was sharing this intimate moment with me, and I think that he taught me a powerful lesson... some would say that he must have been a teacher of sorts. I instead like to think that he was just an asshole kid who wanted to make me laugh my ass off before I even had a chance to take my morning piss. Lucky for me, I have one of the most controlled bladders known to man.