YOHANI…

He has saved my life and continues to do so.

He did save my life countless times. He didn’t pull me out of a burning building. He did not take a bullet for me; I am sure he could, and he would. He did not give me an antidote while I was poisoned by a dark force or an enemy. He did not stop me from committing suicide (that isn’t in my repertoire!). He did not save me from drowning. He did not give me any of his kidneys, etc. Those are ways of saving people, yet he didn’t do any of that.

He has saved my life and continues to do so.

How did he save my life? How does he continue to do so? It is quite simple: his love has saved me and continues to do so. We romanticize “saving a life”, yet it isn’t that complicated. He is present in my life and never leaves. He stands by me. He’s got my back. He cares for me, he cares about me, he loves me. He has saved my life through advice and tough love. He has hugged me every time I have cried in his presence, whether because of heart ache, desperation or physical pain. He has never turned his back on me! His loyalty towards me is second to none.

He has saved my life and continues to do so.

As some of you who know me might have noticed, I am quite a character. I talk a lot, I am fiery, I am loud and I am quite opinionated. That scares people sometimes to talk to me or call me on my shit or tell me I am wrong. Well, he doesn’t hesitate to tell me when I fuck up, he always calls me on my shit. He knows criticism coming from him makes me cringe and I get defensive sometimes, but he goes through with it. The Gods only know he doesn’t like it but he does so because he believes it is his duty to help me get better, his moral obligation as the older brother to look out for his little brother. It is his way of making sure I don’t lose myself or lose my way.

He has saved my life and continues to do so.

He is also a fucking asshole, sometimes. He hates losing arguments and when he loses one, he becomes petty just to spite you. The only reason I haven’t killed him is because I cannot tell our mother I killed her firstborn. Losing a brother and my parents on the same day, isn’t quite something I want to do…yet, sometimes, he pushes me!! As kids, we rarely got along. As adolescents even less. We fought and were mean to each other. We still fight but respectfully. Then we grew up and became men. As time passed, I started realizing how similar we were and how the huge differences I thought we had, became smaller and less significant. I see myself in him sometimes. Sometimes I fully understand him and other times, he is an alien to me. Yet, I never look away because I know I learn from him. I learn from his experiences and his mistakes.

The man isn’t a saint and never pretends to be. Most people don’t know this, but he embraces his mistakes and learns from them. He is brutally honest with himself sometimes and it throws me off. Let’s not even talk about his abilities to adapt and evolve. I have seen him fall and hit the pavement hard (LITERALLY). Life has beaten him, hard, almost killing him and his spirit. At times, it hurt me to see my brother suffer but his problems were his and his alone. Moreover, he had a personal responsibility to climb out of the hole he put himself into. And he did. Time and time again. This ability to get up and thrive again baffles me. I look up to him in that regard. I admire him but I do not idolize him because when I look at him, I see a man. I see myself. I see a man with qualities and flaws. I see a person who constantly changes and tries new things. I see a man who isn’t afraid to take chances, I see a man who dares!

He has saved my life and continues to do so.

He has never made me feel inadequate or stupid because of a mistake I made. That is an underrated quality. Criticism can sometimes, if not often, turn personal and hurtful words can be uttered. I have lost my cool while dealing with him, but he never did. He always stayed calm and patient. He would wait for the right moment to tell me why I was wrong, how I made a mistake and what to do so I can avoid future mistakes.

Frankly, I could never repay him for everything he’s done for me. I couldn’t possibly make a list of all the instances he has helped me. He always did without complaint, mockery or expecting praise. His loyalty and love towards me are humbling and only a reminder of how lucky I am to have him by my side all these years. We have been living in this weird country for 19 years We became men at the same time, in Canada. We took different paths in our lives, yet, we always meet when we need each other or if someone or something needs our combined forces or when our parents need us. He is one phone call away. He has never missed a day of duty as my brother, my protector and coach sometimes. Unbeknownst to most, he is my fiercest critic because he wants to see me do well and be happy. He was there for me every time something bad or tough happened: whenever I was out of a job, he was there. Every post breakup slight depression, he was there. Every time I needed money; sometimes he would borrow money to give it to me. He has been there from day one and he will never quit being my brother.

Bro, I love you. I truly do and as time goes by, my joy of being your little brother grows and it won’t stop. Our relationship isn’t perfect. We sometimes hurt each other but we always find ourselves back together. You are the only brother I have. Please know I don’t love you because we share the same DNA or because I must. I love you because of who you are. Thanks for your kindness, your love, your loyalty, your intelligence, your curiosity, your willingness to help me and others. you are the strength that gives me strength. Thank you for the experiences you share with me, the tough love, the constant bullshit calling, the multiple times you invite me to eat at your place so I can kick your ass on NBA 2K on the PS4..

You are not a perfect person. You are the perfect brother for me. You are a fucking asshole, you are annoying and you are infuriating but I choose you every day. I wouldn’t want to have a dull, silent, shy brother anyway. I am sure he would kill me!

Thank you for blessing me with your presence. You are old as fuck but at least you still look good! Thank you for saving me constantly. Hopefully, one day I will get to repay you for everything you have done for me.

I love you, now and always.

Happy birthday bro!!!!

Freeman. B

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