Kevin is 22 and realized before the rest of his friends that any beers involving the words "ice", "natural" and "keystone" should be avoided. He could play you any song he ever heard once on any intstrument in any key you would like. He is crass and likes working his summer job as a janitor and is bitter about having 1 more year of college left in his 5-years-for-two-degrees gig at Temple.
He may be crass and bitter, but he's a very nice brother and came down to help me move into my apartment. In return, I bought him beers that did not have the words "ice", "natural" or "keystone" on their labels. He returned the favor by sleepwalking out of my apartment into the basement of my building for which I had lived in for precisely 18 hours. He woke up at some point to walk back up my stairs and rap lightly on my door for a short eternity, which my exhausted ears did not hear. Instead, my land lady did and she let him into my apartment at 2:30 in the morning after good-naturedly ribbing him with "Who's waking up the land lady?".
Kevin didn't tell my mother, but my dad told me eventually and my cheeks burned for a full 10 minutes. I apologized to said land lady who has known me know for like, a week. I promised her she wouldn't find strange boxer-clad men rapping lightly at my door at 2:30 in the morning again. I promised her that with a bit smirk on my face with a "maybe I will, maybe I won't" charm but truth be told I hope she meets the DK and understands he's not "strange" before she encounters him in a similar fashion.
* * *
Neal is so freshly 18 that he saves poignant away messages to describe how being so newly in college feels he can share them with everyone. He wants everyone to like him so much, that he's squirmy about it. He doesn't have to be, because he's cute and personable and funny, but it seems everyone knows that but him.
He's the baby of the family, and my mother frets about his every waking breath and whether or not the next will properly find its way in. He is in his second week of college, and was a staunch non-drinker in high school. I had encouraged him this summer to figure out what he likes and dislikes (beer and gin, respectively) and how much he can ease into drinking, because that is better than lying and saying you don't drink only to find yourself at an Edward-40-hands party so dizzy you confused yourself for a sprinkler system.
Being impressionable AND wise, he took my advice sort of. He doesn't want to be uncool, so he's going with the flow of his peers. An email came on Saturday.
"Hey K. Just so you know, I entered a case race on Saturday night. Thought you'd want to know".
I, being a fool, read that e-mail out loud. To my parents, who were diligently helping me clean and put together furniture. We all thought, "Neat! Sounds like a marching band thing!"
Later that night, I found out it is definitely not a marching band thing. Case = beer. Duh, he's 18 and at college. I had envisioned co-eds traipsing up and down the football field with their instrument cases full of leaves or water until they knew the fight song. So I text him "go Neal! Don't boot!". He IMMEDIATELY drunk calls me back and tells me how many beers he's had and how fun it is. I don't think anything else of it.
Until the next day, when my mother asks him "how the case race went". Some back-peddling and excuses later, the truth comes out. My prudent mother was appalled. I was embarrassed to have broken sibling code. Neal was embarrassed that Mom knows he can drink beer in Western Pennsylvania.
Moral of the stories? Siblings' memories are short for things like this. I hope Kevin is laughing about his tour sleepwalking half-naked around my apartment building. Neal, hopefully, is laughing at our prim and proper mother making disapproving Marge Simpson noises about him drinking beer. Because I am laughing at them already, and that's what big sisters are for.