Sparty Winner for Opinion Coverage: Christina Leininger
“Hey, let’s grab lunch.”
My brother’s head pokes hesitantly into the computer room. I reply with a one of those infamous do-not-disturb grunts as my fingers dance across the keyboard, text slowly pouring into the message box on my friend’s Facebook page. I pause briefly, pondering what to write next and notice his inquiring head still lingering in the doorframe.
“I’m not really hungry.” I add, hoping to shoo my intruder.
“Come on, we’ll go somewhere near-by,” he insists—a salesman sweetening the deal.
I figure this effort on his part is a result of my mom constantly nagging him to “spend
time with your sister!”
Regardless, all my facebook notifications have been attended to, and I am out of reasons
not to go. We load into his Ford Fusion and set off towards a local café.
As I stare out the window, watching his Ford swallow up the road before us, I realize my
arms are crossed tightly over my torso, and I sit rigid in my seat. I search for the word to fit what I am feeling—awkward.
I was on my way to grab a quick bite to eat with my brother, the person most genetically
similar to me in this world, and…it is awkward. I can see that he too, feels a little uncomfortable.
Pushing the thought out of my mind, I focus my attention back on the road. After being seated, the struggle for polite conversation begins. I am making polite conversation…with my brother. While he talks on about the different adjustments he hopes to make on his car, it hits me—this twenty-two-year old guy sitting across from me, is practically a stranger. My childhood playmate is no-more. The guy across from me has plans and ambitions, most of which I know nothing about.
On facebook. I constantly “like,” comment, and post on different aspects of my friend’s
lives; we interact daily. Relationships take work. They take communication and effort on both
parts. While focusing all my attention on friends at school, I completely neglect my own brother.
I love my brother. Not just because he’s family, but because I genuinely, whole-
heartedly, love who he is. I think this, in part, is what makes the realization so painful.
When you grow up with someone—someone whose room is just across the hall from yours, maintaining the relationship is minimal—like a hardy hosta plant that even the worst gardeners keep alive. Now though, we are transforming into our independent, adult selves. It’s no longer as easy as bustin’ out the LEGO and spending the afternoon creating new worlds together.
It may not be effortless, but I look forward to this new stage in our lives. I look forward to getting to know the new, grown-up version of my old best friend, sitting across from me. It’d be a whole lot easier if he just accepted my friend request on facebook.