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Brother Pocholo and I were eleven months apart. We don’t get along well, we always quarrel even in small things. We don’t share toys with one another. There are only three bedrooms in our house; one was occupied by our parents and the other our grandmother, so we end up sleeping in the same room with our separate beds. I want the the electric fan, rotating the whole night especially during the summer but my brother didn’t like it. He would turn it off as I drift of sleep.

His bed is always messy while mine is in order and constantly fixed. I can say that whenever my gaze settled on his bed I felt dread for my roommate; it looked like jungle. We always disagree on so many things. I hate him and he hates me too. Our parents always tell me to respect my Brother and they are telling my Brother Pocholo to love and protect me. But, we are stubborn and disobedient. I don’t know, maybe I love my Brother but I don’t like him.

There are times that the quarrel became violent. We threw punches at each other; I always end up being the loser in all our fights. I hated him the more.

We disagreed on house chores, my brother was very lazy, and he doesn’t want to have a share of work. I end up doing everything like washing dishes and sweeping the floor. We quarrel over the TV’s remote control; we end up breaking it.

One time, he is using the bathroom. I really need to empty myself, I knocked on the door and told him to finish his thing. But, he wanted to annoy me. He stayed for a long time; I end up pooed on my pants.

For many weeks I felt some pains whenever I lay on my bed. I checked the mattress and I’ve found tamarind seeds on it. Guess who put them there; my brother. I retaliated by putting red ants on his bed. One time I was punished for something, my Father hit me with his belt. The spanking was very painful I didn’t suppress my tears. But then I saw my brother smiling at me and ridiculing me. I was so hurt and embarrassed. So when it’s his turn to be punished, I smiled too.

Both of us did well in school, maybe to impress our parents. I was good in Academics while my Brother was good in both academics and in extra-curricular activities. He had the leadership, always being elected president of his class.

The problem is that, some big kids always picked on me. They always threatening me to let them see my test papers, sometimes they extort money from me. I didn’t tell that to my parents, I kept everything to myself. I purposed in my heart that I won’t let my brother know of what is happening to me. One time I went home with a black eye. I tried to resist the bullies and I end up with a mark.

My Mom is very angry; she tried her best to convince me to let her know what happened. But, I didn’t tell anything.
Two days after I got beat up. My parents were summoned to the Principal’s office. I heard that my brother broke one arm of the kid that hurt me. The parents of the kid wanted my parents to pay for the hospitalization of their son.

It led me to think; were those kids picked on my brother too. I never heard somebody bullying my brother. He is always respected in school; he’s a teacher’s pet. So many girls admired him. But, Why? Did my Brother retaliate because of what the boy did to me? No! My brother was never concerned about me, we hate each other, remember. It’s too good to be true if my brother had the slightest concern about me. Maybe, like in the dog kingdom; they established territory. Did my Brother view me as his property? May be.

The problem was settled, my parent spent for the boy’s hospitalization. They asked my brother about what had happened but he won’t tell them. My father spanked my brother. I even heard the sound of the belt being hurled at my brother’s butt. This time I didn’t smile nor make fun of him.

Nevertheless, after that, no one pick on me anymore. It seemed that I have an unseen guardian and that the bullies are afraid to touch me again.

My relationship with my brother is still the same until we’re in high school. I noticed that my brother is having nosebleed especially at night. There are times that he missed class because he had chills and fever. Our parents brought him to the hospital and we are shocked about the diagnosis. My brother had leukemia.

Our Mom cried bitterly and Dad didn’t know what to do.

The doctor asked my parents to confine my brother to the hospital because he needs to be checked constantly. He also needs blood transfusions.

I should be happy that the menace of my life is finally subdued, but why am I sad. Why I can’t concentrate in school. I should be happy that finally I’m alone in the room, but why I missed my brother. I really wanted him to get well and be home.

My parents took my Brother home, the hospitalization is too much and our budget could no longer afford it.

My parents asked me to just sleep on the sala, because my brother’s immune system is weak.

One time I went to his room. My heart twisted inside me to see him so thin and weak. He seemed to be sleeping. My brother opened his eyes, he smiled when he saw me.

“Ramil, you are now alone. Take care of yourself. Don’t allow others to pick on you. Learn to fight, but you have to assess your enemies, sometimes the best way to defeat them is to avoid them. You study hard too. Just always remember that I care for you.” He said

I went outside the room to cry. How I missed that, I didn’t see that my brother loved me. He never said but now I understand.

The bond in my family was strengthened by the trials that we are facing. We looked up to God. We prayed, fasted and asked God for a miracle. The Lord heard our prayers. My Brother is back on His feet.

Twenty years had passed; I and my brother have our own respected families. He went to Mindanao and I stayed in Luzon, though were far from one another we know that the bond between brothers is still strong and unbreakable. I’m happy to have a brother.

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