Broccoli's getting married in a couple of months and as the Best Man I'm responsible for giving a speech, just as he did when he was the Best Man at my wedding. I know I've still got a couple of months but I've been kicking over ideas.
The whole process has gotten me thinking about our childhood together and how we were close once....then the 5 year's that separate out ages intervened and left us strangers. The Broccoli I remember will always be this buck toothed kid who scurried under a recently parked car to get a tennis ball and suffered 2nd degree burns on his leg as it came into contact with a very hot catalytic converter all because I sent him after it. He'll be the guy who to this day laughs every time he sees me holding milk because in his mind's eye he's looking at a teenage Charlie who busted three gallons of milk on the way back from a simple walk to the store (the third one I help over my head and actually screamed aloud "Bet I won't drop this one"). Broccoli was the kind of brother that tried to tell mom that the 2 inch bleeding wound on the top of his head happened at school and had nothing to do with me throwing a rock at him as hard as he could (I still say he zagged when he should have zigged).
Of course all of this was before cars, girls, fraternities, jobs, college, family, and way before Fred. Somewhere amongst all that life, Charlie, he....I.....we lost touch. Sure we still saw each other when our common denominator brought us together (mom), but long gone were the days of playing hide and go seek at granny's or walking up to PJ's corner for a hand full of Jolly Rancher sticks.
The result is that now with me being 32 (at least for another month) and him at 27, we tend to be more like pen pals at times. Neither of us understanding just how we came to be the person we are or what makes up the inner workings of the other's day. While I'm busy researching tomorrow's article, struggling to make it through the 8-5, and teaching Fred to poop in the potty....I assume he's....living I a life I know nothing about.
My opinions are different, the pages of our shared history seem to written in my own hand writing, and the things I remember about growing up (Cody the 3 legged dog) , he can't recall. Though we will always be brothers, at times it seems we are friends out of circumstance rather than choice. As he prepares to recite those words that lock two souls together like an invisible (and hopefully invincible) pair of handcuffs, I too am making promises. And while I can't help but think he's still out there zigging while I'm zagging, I know that as our lives progress every once in a while our paths will cross and once again we will be those same two kids who used to spend all weekend in our rooms under a homemade tent of sheets, chairs, and clothes-pins watching old Godzilla movies.