Frigid temperatures can make the city I love so dearly appear to be the worst place on Earth. Ok, it could never get that cold, it’s not Fargo for God’s sake, but damn it was cold this weekend. Normally temperatures like this past weekend brought would simply mean a lot of Netflix movies and even more meals delivered than usual.
As I mentioned in a previous post I had my younger brother come and visit for the weekend. Three full days with a 15 year old…It’s just such a tough age. I don’t think Zagat Guide makes a section for this demo. If he were just a few years younger, there are a million shows, exhibits, and stores I know he’d love. If he were just a few years older, there a million bars, clubs, and other adult establishments I know he’d love. However, thankfully my brother is aged beyond his short time on this planet. I’ve often joked that he’s the only person I know that should be collecting an allowance and Social Security at the same time.
Our first night was spent at a great Italian restaurant in my neighborhood. I’ve walked by the place a million times and never seen it half full, but of course on this very cold, very windy night it was packed. It, like most Italian places here in the city was dimly lit, white table-clothed and full of portly passionate Italian servers. While listening to the specials, all 25 of them, I knew if the food was half as good as the service, we’d be ok.
We had a small wait at the bar before our table was ready. My brother decided an appetizer was definitely in order as his flight had been rough, not to mention 3 hours late. After debating between the Mozzarella Caprese and the Beef Carpaccio, mini-me opted for the latter of the two. How many 15 year olds would know what either item was, let alone choose the one made up of thinly sliced, very, very lightly cooked red meat? Not many I imagine.
Our age gap is just shy of a decade. That’s a big difference when you look at the ages we are both currently at…35 and 44 are not bad, because the life styles at those ages are much more similar than 15 and 24. He is so well spoken, it’s like speaking to someone my own age if not older. He doesn’t just talk, he speaks. There is a difference…I know people that talk all day and never say anything. My brother, who I could not be more proud of, knows how to speak to people.
As that night wound to an end, it was the wind itself that would keep going all night long. The little bro crashed on an aerobed in my room as my other roommate had two friends from college spending the weekend in the city too. The place looked more like a youth hostel than a New York City apartment. After explaining that the odd clicking and banging noises were normal for a heater to make, he was out like light.
The better part of the next day was spent ducking in and out of SOHO shops. Most of which were just attempts to warm up before continuing down the coble stone streets. The wind was howling all day long. It was without a doubt the coldest day of the winter. The type of day that makes any exposed skin hurt after only taking a few steps from a warmly heated safe house. We grabbed lunch at a perfectly placed, ski lodge-like BBQ place on Spring Street. It certainly brought our spirits and body temperatures up to a much needed level.
It was at lunch when my brother and I discussed one of the few serious topics of the weekend. Why is it, or how is it, that one single phrase or comment can affect us so much? A one-liner that was meant to make a small crowd laugh, can deeply affect the way we see ourselves. He spoke of a few different occurrences where I may have said some things I should not have…These comments were just messing with him at the time, years ago some of them, but they hurt him. I don’t know if I’ve ever felt like a worse person…not just a big brother, but a person.
This is the guy who wants to be everything that I am, do everything I’ve done, and I hurt him. What was just one brother making fun of another was anything but that…it was so much more.
I think this goes back to our age gap. I never had an older sibling to idolize or look up to and now looking back I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. I got to make my own mold, make my own mistakes without someone correcting or “trying to help me” along the way. All I’ve every wanted him to become him is to be himself, be his own man. While saying that I never realized that so many of things I may have said came across as banter for him to be more like me. Again, I never intended my words to be interpreted that way but they were and have been.
As much fun as it was bar hoping with him on Sunday, sharing a beer with him at my place Saturday, splitting Lobster Ravioli on Friday, I will take the lessons learned at lunch as the best memory of this trip. He has no idea, but as he gains from me, I do the same from him…To go back to the age gap, it may make me a great parent one day, who knows… I only know that I cannot wait until he’s just a few years older and we continue to become closer than the years before…
Thanks for listening