An Excerpt from My Life9:56 AM
She had, not strangely enough, been thinking of her big brother. Not right then, of course -- not right when she walked in the door after knocking the light dial off the car. She did hear the playful como estas? he always used with her. She couldn't recall a single time on the phone where he'd said "hello!" instead of "hola." It was their unsecret language.
"Oh," thought Bailey. "That sounds like Chase."
She hung up the keys and complained to her mother (frying chicken, a delectable occupation) about her exceptional skills at breaking the car features.
We had been speaking of her and her brother. When it came to Bailey and her big brother, the closest analogy could be to a girl and her boyfriend -- without the amor, with more of the agape. But the amount of which they texted and called, while not abnormal for brother and sister, certainly exceeded conventional affection between siblings. She had called him the other day, and they had talked for almost a half-hour, though he was sick and tired and the reception sketchy. He had said he would be home on Christmas leave earlier than she thought and she screamed and jumped.
It's not as if she hadn't known he was coming home; it was merely the fact that, one, she had forgotten the precise date and, two, the very thought of him coming home was extracitable. (Pardon the neologistic burst.)
We return to our heroine hanging up her keys. She turned around, looked up and in a confusing, impossible flash heard como estas? and saw his face at the same time. From the gleeful reports of the siblings later, her eyes went wide and her jaw literally dropped -- and only after that did the screaming, jumping, dancing and hugging begin. He had this gigantic, mischievous grin on his face, and his hug was more Marine than chivalrous (ow) -- but good night! Surprises are all nice and good, but they normally come from several possible options. And one's big brother, who wasn't supposed to come home until mid-December, standing there looking like a Marine -- that was never an option.
Surprise is an understatement. It was more than surprise. It was less than shock. But now she knew what it was like for mothers and sisters and wives and sweethearts to have their soldier come home unexpectedly.
At least, I knew what the love felt like.