When I was in kindergarten, my teacher asked the class who we wanted to be when we grew up. I answered 'Dib'.
My older brother was the coolest person in the world when we were growing up. He was daddy's little scientist, mommy's sweet boy. He was my Hero.
But then again, I was only in kindergarten
"Looky Gibby! Pony! Looky!"
I was only five then, and had not yet started saying his name correctly. I was Gazzy and he was Gibby. My big brother was amazing. He was smart, he was funny, he could do magic like Daddy. He was my big brother and I would puff out my chest proudly when I told anyone who would listen about him.
"Not now Gaz, I'm doing very important experiments." That meant he was doing magic, and I loved watching him do magic, so I stood in the doorway with my eyes peeled as he very carefully measured out the ingredients for his experiment. He poured a clear liquid into a beaker that was part of his 'Jr. Scientist' Chemistry Set; the white powder at the bottom of the beaker began to fizz and soon the whole thing was overflowing with the white foamy mess. Magic. I was in awe.
"Can I play?" I tugged eagerly on his junior lab coat.
"No!" He frowned and pushed his glasses up on his nose—he had just gotten them and they seemed big and awkward on his smaller head. "This is important scientific research Gaz. You'd mess it all up."
I harrumphed and sat down on his computer chair, purple pony still gripped tightly in my hand. My short legs swung back and forth as the tiny horse galloped over the keyboard, making alien words on the screen.
"Gaz! Stop it!" He grabbed the pony from my hands and threw it out the open window. I started to cry and he winced, knowing he would be in trouble. "Gaz, shhh! Quiet Gazzy!"
"But...but...you threw Pony out the window!"
Before I could begin wailing again he grabbed my hand and pulled me out of the chair. "No I didn't Gazzy. She flew out the window. She's a magic pony."
My tears were squelched as I heard this. She was a magic flying pony! Dib said so and Dib would know—Dib knew magic too.
"Go find Pony, Gazzy. Maybe she will take you flying!"
My eyes lit up at the thought. Me and Pony flying! And maybe if I asked her real nice, Pony would take us both flying and then Dib would play with me! I ran out of the room to my brother's relieved and triumphant smile.
Nearly a week later, after numerous failed attempts at flying with Pony I got an idea. Pony was very small, and I was much larger, and she obviously couldn't just lift me up and carry me away. It was like that time Dib convinced me that Barbie could parasail, but the parasail would only work from a very tall height. He tied her to my kite and threw her off the roof and she sailed beautifully until she landed in a mangled, broken mess on the road. But he glued her leg back on and brushed her hair for me when I cried, and she was ok after that.
So I climbed up onto the roof from the tree in the backyard and stood in the exact place Dib had stood the summer before with Barbie. I grabbed onto Pony's short purple legs tightly and crouched back a little to take my flying leap.
And then I heard my brother's voice from the sidewalk. "Gaz! What are you doing up there? Get down now!"
"I'm flying with Pony!" I said with a happy smile and jumped. My brother's eyes were large with horror behind his glasses as Pony's magic failed yet again and my right shin made a sickening cracking sound on the driveway beneath my full weight.
"You did what?"
The words drifted through my morphined haze and the dull thud of my leg as I lay in the hospital bed with my newely-casted leg propped up on pillows. There was a mumbled reply somewhere off to my left and then my father's voice yelling as I drifted back into a drugged sleep.
"Gaz?" Dib's voice was soft and apologetic. "Gazzy?"
Opening my eyes to my big brother he looked almost as sorry as I. His glasses were slightly crooked and there was a lingering red mark like a partial handprint across one side of his face.
"I brought you Pony." His voice sounded more hopeful than he looked as he held her out to me.
I crossed my arms (which were bruised and sore but intact) and pursed my little face in a frown. "You lied. Pony isn't magic."
"Yes she is Gazzy!" He looked desperate. "She just...uh...was having an off day."
I turned my head away even though the rest of my battered body couldn't follow. "You lied Dib."
It was the first time I had called him by his real name.
When I got home my parents had a new toy for me—a Gameslave to help pass the time in bed. Dib tried in vain to prove to me that Pony could fly, that unicorns existed, that vampires and ghosts and Bigfoot were real. That magic was real. It was like trying to convince a little kid that Santa exists after they've found the special "Santa only" wrapping paper their parents had carefully hidden in the basement.
I didn't buy it.
"Gaz! There was an alien in my classroom today!" Dib ran through the door more excited than I had ever seen him. "He's green and calls humans stink-monkeys and he's real..."
"Whatever Dib." My Gameslave is real.