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As the police took me from my home, or what was my home, I found the news I heard hard to believe. I tried to sort through everything happening at the moment and everything became surreal. I could barely stand hearing what the cops in the front seat were saying.

Talking about the one person that’s been family to me as if he were nothing more than a thug. Why should I listen to this? Were they trying to punish me since they couldn’t punish my brother?

I don’t know what happened to our parents. My brother, who had just officially become an adult at the time, just said that they wouldn’t be coming back. Ever since then, he took care of me and raised me himself. A lot of people said it was against his better judgment because he wasn’t responsible enough. However, they couldn’t be further from the truth. I actually owed him a lot for what he’s done for me.

When our parents were still here, we did have our sibling rivalry. Chances are, it wouldn’t have lasted long even if our parents were still there to take care of me. He was much older than I was, and would have been leaving the house soon, or maybe he would have grown out of it. That didn’t stop me from wanting to hang onto him. Of course, when our parents left, I needed him more than ever. I think he realized that as much as I did.

He always had this interest in cars. When he got his first car after he turned sixteen, he was always tinkering with it in the garage, and researching what he could about auto mechanics. Just like any little kid with an older brother, I wanted to spend as much time with him as possible, so how else better to do that than to take interest in what he likes? So almost anytime he was out in the garage, I always went out there to see what he was doing, whether he was simply changing the oil or replacing parts. He couldn’t complain, since it made things easier for him with me there.

As time went on, he would teach me how to do some of the things he does and how to tell what’s wrong with a car, and when I got a little older, he let me do these things every once in a while. What started out as a way to get close to my brother became a genuine interest. In fact, I probably learned more than my brother did about cars. When people find out I like cars, they think I simply like models or radio-controlled cars. Then, I identify the next car that parks in the driveway without looking at it and they’re speechless.

My brother never really committed any serious crime in his life, which is why it upsets me that the police talk lowly of him. He did tell me one secret he had, one thing that was illegal that he did, and it seemed like the police knew about it. He raced his car on the roads outside of town. He talked to me about it, telling me never to tell anyone, especially our parents about it. Being the immature brat I was at the time, I made him tell me about the races in detail in exchange for the secrecy. He enjoyed telling me about his races, and would continue telling me about them even now. It was like he was reliving the experience.

When we were on our own, just as he knew I was more important than ever, I knew racing was more important to him than ever. It was the one thing he liked to do, and his only escape from his daily life. I actually think that racing helped him with normal driving as well. I would ride in the passenger seat sometimes and look around at several idiots that would cut in front of people and such. My brother never did that, and he knew how to avoid them. He would always tell me that as long as he had a say about it, he’d never let himself get killed in an accident. In a race, accidents are inevitable, but the skilled know how to get out of them alive.

Now, here I am, in a cop car trying to adjust to everything. The general attitude was that he had it coming. It made me want to scream at the top of my lungs. What did they know about my brother?

The car finally stopped and the cops opened the door to let me out. Apparently, I was going to be here overnight until they could put me in some sort of foster care. I wasn’t looking forward to any of it at all. No one could replace my brother. This became one of those times where I wanted him now more than ever.

“So, you’re the little brother of the punk that hit me,” a man who was sitting at a table with another officer said, his words slurred a bit. He started to get up, the officer on the other side of the table failing to keep him in his seat. He swaggered towards me while raising his fist, pure rage filled his eyes. “I should hit you since I can’t hit that punk.”

I didn’t know what to think. I ducked in fear, and then he stumbled forward and tripped over me, completely missing me in the process. I scrambled to my feet as he continued to lie down face first on the ground. This guy was drunk as Hell and they were blaming my brother for the accident? It frustrated me to no end.

“Are you okay?” a female officer asked as she approached me.

I could only nod as the woman led me to a room where I would be sleeping for the night, just some waiting room with a leather couch to sleep on, just big enough for me to lie down comfortably. “If you want anything, feel free to holler.”

The woman rushed back to her duties without giving me a chance to reply. It didn’t matter really. I was getting tired and needed to sleep. I lied down on the couch on my side, knees slightly bent as if going into a fetal position. I wanted all of this to be a dream. That tomorrow when I wake up, I’ll wake up in my home, and my brother is alive, ready to tell me of another victory.

That didn’t happen. When I woke up, I could hear the TV set to some news channel, talking about things that didn’t even matter to me at the moment. I was wishing I could fall back to sleep and just not wake up, but I couldn’t bring myself to do that. I slowly sat up on the couch.

“You’re awake, I see,” the woman from the previous night walked into the waiting room. “Is everything okay?”

I shook my head. “I can't believe he caused the accident. I’ve ridden with him before. He always avoids it.” I could feel the tears starting to form in my eyes. I wanted to break down and cry right there. The woman wrapped her arms around me and pulled me close.

“It’s okay,” she said in a soothing voice. “If it makes you feel better, I never believed he was at fault either.”

I could tell the woman was just saying it to make me feel better. This accident turned my brother into the irresponsible punk everyone thought he was at the beginning. It was a thought I hated the most even more than losing him. It wasn’t fair to him or my memory of him.
What's worse than losing a love one? How about the perception of them?

This was a short piece I wrote years ago, I recently opened it up and did some small editing before posting.
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Submitted on
September 24, 2013
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