“Hey, Ra-Ra!” — one of my brothers leaves me the same voicemail, for the nth time. “Don’t you think it’s kinda ironic that after six years, your outgoing message hasn’t changed?”
My brothers call me Ra-Ra. They’re both Latin: For them, rolling their “r’s” — is half the fun.
“Rrra-Rrra!” the younger one always winds up his tongue; and he gleams while shaking the long hair out of his squinting dark eyes. “RRA-RRA – BABY!”
I chuckle: How I adore those hearts!
This morning, I listen to the message, and I slide open the windows. It’s been feeling like autumn, lately. But how exactly — I just can’t pinpoint yet.
Perhaps, there is a vague aroma of dying leaves, much more aggressive on the other coast, where my older brother now dwells. He is making things happen over there, moving at twice the speed than we do, in this paralyzed city. And his energy — his hunger, his passion, his perpetual up-for-it-ness — is contagious, even if only captured on my voicemail, this morning.
All throughout the year, he is in the habit of wearing long, tattered scarves, a couple at a time. A few — seem to be made out of his own canvases. Others are thicker: I imagine they’ve been crocheted by the hands of lovely girls who tend to adore him, with their open, yet calmer hearts. And when I meet him, in the middle of autumn, on the other coast, I study the flushed tip of his nose peaking out of the bundle of those endless scarves — which he is in the habit of wearing, all throughout the year, a couple at a time.
“Ra-Ra!” he’d say, while untangling himself.
And I would chuckle: How I adore that heart!
It’s not going to rain here, not for another month. So, my own scarves, long and tattered, can remain stored for just a bit longer.
Still, I can already smell the oncoming change. It sits at the bottom of a clouded layer that now takes longer to burn off in the mornings. At night, I’ve started using thicker blankets. And when I leave my day job, these days, the sun is already on its way out. I walk home, alone in this paralyzed city, and I bundle up in my oversized sweaters whose sleeves remind me of the long arms of my brothers. I bury my face in the generous, knit, tattered collars, and I chuckle.
My brothers: They stand over a foot taller than me. My baby-talls! My two gorgeous, loyal creatures from two foreign lands with convoluted histories of political detours, similar to my own Motha’land’s. We each belong to the people prone to chaos, to revolutions and idealism. So, our comfort level — is flexible.
Moving — or moving on — comes easier for us. Neither one has settled yet (and we won’t settle for less than the entire world!); and we tend to keep our luggages readily available at the front of our closets.
My younger brother tends to get easily distracted. On every adventure, every journey, he loses himself completely, disappearing for months at a time, on the other coast. But every time he resurfaces, his energy, his passion — his perpetual up-for-it-ness — is absolutely contagious.
He takes weeks to return my messages. And when he does:
“RRA-RRA – BABY!” he winds up his tongue, and I can hear his gleaming while shaking the long hair out of his squinting dark eyes.
And I chuckle, instantaneously forgiving him for disappearing on the other coast: How I adore that heart!
This morning, I slide open the windows: It’s been feeling like autumn, lately. I pull the luggage out of the front of my closet and I begin packing.
“How ’bout an adventure?” I think. “Why not?”
And immediately, I am flooded with a certain feeling of lightness and peace. But what it is exactly — I just can’t pinpoint yet. Where I am going — I do not know. It’s always been easy to move. But lately, it’s become easier — to move on.
Fuck it, I think, and I go digging out my long, tattered scarves. A couple of them seem to be made out of my brother’s canvases. I don’t remember where I got them though; and I rarely wear them. So, I pack those away again. The others, thicker and multicolored, crocheted by lovely girls with open, calmer hearts — those I start trying on, as if with their length, I can measure the mileage to my beloved hearts. One at a time, I wrap them around my neck, bury my face and I chuckle: In my life, I have adored so many hearts! And so many hearts — adore me.
It’s not going to rain here, not for another month. So, maybe, today, I’ll just drive up north: Somewhere else to tangle myself up — up to my flushed nose — and to think of my brothers; to think of all the other hearts, dwelling on the other coast.
In less than an hour, my luggage is packed. I’m ready to go; and immediately, I am flooded with a certain feeling of lightness and peace. Is it gratitude? My adoration for other hearts?
I listen to my brother’s message again:
“Hey, Ra-Ra!” (he left it, months ago, for the nth time.) “Don’t you think it’s kinda ironic that after six years, your outgoing message hasn’t changed?”
Because for the last six years, I’ve lived vicariously through my brothers’ energies: their adventures, passions — their perpetual up-for-it-ness — on the other coast. My own travels, however, have been carefully planned.
I reach for my phone and prerecord another message. I think I may use it, in my seventh year:
“Hey. It’s V. I’ll tell you something new.”
I zip up my luggage. Leave a voicemail for my brothers:
“How I adore your hearts!”
And I get a move on.