I woke up at 3am to find my brother not in his bed.
Last night, he said he was going out with friends. This happens often enough so I didn’t really think about it and even as I lay awake, I wasn’t really worried. Either way, I texted him (Ei, asan k n?) asking him where he was. It didn’t take him long to reply. Apparently he had gone to the nearest 7-11 to get load for his cellphone. A few minutes later, he came back and all was well.
4am came around and I was still awake. My brother was too, I knew, so I called out to him, “Alam mo anong time nagsisimula breakfast ng McDo?” It seemed like a good enough idea to head off to McDonald’s for a very early breakfast. He answered that it should be available by now.
“Gusto mo pumuntang McDo?” Did he want to go to McDonald’s, I asked.
He said yes.
It didn’t take us long to get ready and soon we were stepping out into the cool early morning. My brother told me to wear a jacket before we got out and it was good advice. It was cool enough for a jacket certainly. It didn’t take long before he started talking, telling me about where he actually ended up last night and what he had been up to (at a hospital with a friend who dislocated his shoulder). As I walked through mostly empty roads toward our destination with him at my side, him doing most of the talking while I listened, I remembered how it had been forever since we’ve done something like this.
McDonald’s was not the quiet, mostly empty place we thought it would be at that time of the morning on a Sunday. There were people loudly talking and hanging out and we were both surprised. Nocturnal college kids from nearby dorms, chatty all center agents from their shifts, pumped club goers coming home from their gimmik–not the type of crowd we were expecting at all. We ordered and I paid for our breakfast then we headed to an empty table.The conversation continued on, him still mostly talking about all sorts of things about what has been happening in his life while I mostly just soaked it all in, his presence, his words. It really had been a while and I missed it, just being with him, just the two of us.
I hoped we can do that again sometime.
My brother is 22 with dreams of going abroad to find a life for himself and he’ll need around two years of working for it before he leaves. I know he can do it because I know how determined he is and it makes me proud that he’s doing his best to get there, planning and working all the time. It just still surprises me sometimes how much he’s grown up. It’s weird and great and also kind of sad all at the same time.