The offense? Stolen Buffalo/Ranch Doritos.
The culprit? A brother, off on a trip with his dad.
“You bastard!” other brother yells.
He was hungry and, thus, the epitaph, shot through the iPhone, three hundred miles away.
There was a day, not so many years ago, when such brotherly communication would pull me up short. I’d jump in with scripture, with quotes from The Peacemaker, with maternal admonishments and threats to suds up a washcloth.
Today…not so much.
Perhaps it’s one of those things that happens to you, if you aren’t too stiff-necked about it, in your old age. Up against years of high-held standards, years of not allowing them to listen to Weezer’s Beverly Hills because it had the word, ‘crap’ in it, here we are, one brother calling the other a ‘bastard,’ no matter the fact said brother is on a road trip with the man who proves the word inaccurate.
Friends who have families made of all girls or almost all girls may not get this, but I suspect (and predict) those with sons will relate. Boys are not tame, and the older they get, the more this is proven. Sometimes our admonitions to ‘be nice,’ to ‘be gentle’ or ‘be sweet’ falls into the rocks by the side of the road along with our reminders to please, for the love of God, turn their nasty socks right side out before tossing them in the laundry.
Brotherly love? At times it doesn’t look like a mama thinks it should. Like the books say it should. Do the writers have boys, I wonder?
Brotherly love involves all the senses. Smells like onions and boy feet. Sounds like the house falling down around our heads. Tastes like blood when I bite my tongue to keep from interfering. Looks like I don’t know what.
One is leaving for a month. He hugs and kisses everyone else. He kisses everyone else, but older brother.
They pound fists. “Later, dude.”
“Are you going to be okay without him?” I ask, of the one left behind.
“Of course,” he says.
But, moments later, he’s on the phone.
“Dude, did you take my Doritos? You did? Bastard!”
I rivet at the words, but turn and see they are said with a smile.
There was a day, not so many years ago, when such brotherly communication would pull me short. I’d jump in with scripture, with quotes from The Peacemaker, with maternal admonishments and threats to suds up a washcloth.
But not today, because sometimes ‘bastard,’ is just a way of saying, “I love ya, man,and I already miss you like heck,” teenaged boy-style.
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