A letter to my brother

When we were younger and people asked me about you I used to say that you were “my little brother”. Nobody questioned the stories I told or raised eyebrows at the details because “little” meant it was ok that you didn’t talk, still played with soft toys, and chewed my hair. In ambiguity I found safety. But you’re not that much of a little brother, not then and certainly not now. There has only ever been eighteen months between us and now you stand taller than I’ve ever been with a head of Hendrix curls.

I am sorry that when we were younger I struggled so much with you. You targeted me because I was so close and instead of feeling your love I only felt annoyance. I struggled to understand because of my own difficulties even though, as your big sister, I should have been able to see past them for you.

I wish I could tell you how much I love you and for you to actually understand what you mean to me.

I dream of a day when we can sit down and talk together. Maybe I could even take you to the pub for a pint… But the last and only time I took you to a party you cried because you would never fit in and hated yourself for not talking to anyone. My heart snapped in two. I felt dead inside when I heard those words. I so desperately wanted it to be ok that I didn’t think about how it was doomed from the first footstep into my friend’s flat. It wasn’t that I was naive, I was just so desperate for you to be ok and for me to be able to make it ok for you.

I’m sorry I cannot make this world make sense to you. If I could tear the colours apart and blend them so that your black and white eyes could understand their complexities, I would repaint the entire Earth for you.

I’m sorry I cannot give you the friends you deserve because you are one of the funniest and most caring and considerate people I know. And if I could show people how golden you are then I know you would be swamped with love and affection from them. If only they could see your glow like I can.

But you are trapped in a nut shell of Autism watching the outside world, head butting walls and pulling your hair because you cannot break out. I would give anything to break down that wall and show you that the other side is not as terrifying or debilitating as you find it. But I can’t. You are unable to see it and nothing I do can change that. Your Autism is a cage and there is no key.

But I will always love you through the bars, and in the chaotic moments where you suddenly burst with affection and throw your arms roughly around me, my heart trembles because I am reminded in those brief moments that you too love me and you always will.

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