To Be A Big Brother

They think I'm oblivious. Janey and Daria both. I probably am. Just not about that. I mean, I'm an artist, right? Not the drawy kind. The other one. The, like...more broad meaning, or whatever. You'd think I'd be better with words, since I kind of write words for a living. Kind of. Whatever. The point is, we autistic...artistic?...types are supposed to be kinda airheaded, but also super in touch with our feelings and stuff. So yeah, I'm sorta like that. I get what's going on.

Daria's like...way into me. Who knows why. Janey's always trying to hook us up. It's a good thing she's still trying to be sneaky about it, so I can keep pretending I don't know. It would be pretty awkward if it was all out there.

As for what I think about it, well...it's flattering. I always tell Daria she's a good kid. I always tell people she's the coolest kid I know. I only say it like that to remind her of the age gap between us. The truth is, she's one of the coolest people I know. So the question is, why haven't I done anything about it?

I could say it's the age gap, but that'd be a lie. I don't care about society's approval. I'm a musician, **** it. Rage against the machine, and all that. Or I could say I'm just not into her like that, but that'd be an even bigger lie. I'm way more into her than she's into me, I think. I mean, she likes me in spite of who I am, but I like her because of who she is. When I say she's the coolest person I know, I mean that in all the best ways. How anyone could not be into her is beyond me. So what's the real reason? Well, to explain that, I'm gonna have to tell a little story from my childhood.

When I was ten, Mom and Dad came back from a trip to Japan with some authentic mochi. They had five different flavors, one for each of us kids. Summer, Wind, and Penny all grabbed their favorites, and there were two left. I usually pick last for these kinds of things, since I don't like to move very fast. The last two left were chocolate and green tea. At the time, chocolate was my favorite flavor, and I hated anything tea-flavored, so I was really hoping for the chocolate one. Dad was holding out the treats, and it looked like Janey was reaching for the chocolate one, when Mom whispered to me, "Oh, I'm sorry, Trent, dear. You didn't like tea flavor, did you?" Janey's ear twitched a little, and she hesitated for a while, then grabbed the green tea mochi. Dad was really surprised.

"Are you sure that's the one you want, Jane? I thought chocolate was your favorite?"

She said, "I want this one." in that kind of tone where you know you'll never change her mind even if you argue with her for hours. It was a little strange, but it got me my favorite one, so I didn't think about it too much at the time.

Later, I was laying on the couch, when behind me I heard the sound of someone sneaking into the kitchen, something being thrown in the trash, and someone trying to sneak back out. It was Janey, I found out, because Dad caught her.

"Jane? You only ate half your mochi?"

There was a long pause, and she said, "Yeah, I don't feel good."

"Well, let me check you out. You seem fine, honey. Why did you pick one you didn't like?" Dad was too observant sometimes. Stupid smart parents. She didn't respond, so he asked, "Did you pick that one because Trent likes chocolate?"

I hadn't even thought about that possibility. I mean, I was ten. Kinda below average intelligence for a ten-year-old, too. When I heard her choke back a sob and reply, "I really thought I was gonna like it.", it tore me up pretty good. She was looking out for me. That's not her job. That's my job. I'm the big brother. I'm supposed to take care of her, not the other way around. I learned two important things that day. One, me and Janey have very similar tastes. And two, Janey will always put me ahead of her if I let her.

I don't know much about being a good big brother. I never really had a good role model for that, and my personality isn't very suited for it. I'm not dependable or strong like a big brother should be. I can't be a lot of the things Janey needs me to be. But that day, I made myself a promise, and that promise I have kept. I will never again take something Janey really wants. Even if she doesn't know it yet.