My brother and I should have been fighting, although I wasn't aware of it then. Instead we were playing on “his and hers” computers in our grandparents office. My fingers clicked on the keyboard as I browsed. I frowned. Nothing much of interest. Then I found something.
"Hey, Ray!" I called, "They're coming out with a new Veggie Tales soon!"
"Really?" He sounded interested, "We just got King George and the Rubber Ducky!"
"I know, but according to this, they're coming out with a new one."
"That's great!" he replied, "Can't wait to see it!"
He might have been embarrassed if his friends knew he still liked Veggie Tales at twelve, but we were nine hundred miles from home without any friends close by so his secret was safe. I, on the other hand, didn't care that I was sixteen and getting excited about animated vegetables. That pride died long ago.
"Oooh, Veggie Quotes!" I exclaimed.
I continued browsing. Funny how things change. At four-and-a-half I'd cried when Grandma announced the arrival of my new baby brother. All my dreams of frilly dresses and joint tea parties shattered by the hard reality that my mom had delivered me a baby of the wrong gender. Curiosity warmed my indignation, however, and I soon came to accept my responsibility as the protective older sister. He might not be much to look at, but he needed tending and who better than I.
"Hey, there's lyrics too..."
I wasn't sure what he was looking up. Grandma's high-backed computer chair creaked as Ray swiveled it back and forth with his foot. Every now and again he'd give a slight nod as the mouse clicked and the screen before him changed. He could very easily be checking Star Trek quotes. We both had an affinity for Star Trek: The Next Generation.
Suddenly, I felt a tickle in my gut. I started to hum, then whisper, then sing, until the whole room was filled with melody. My brother joined in until I weaved our voices in an out as we recreated a favorite Veggie Tales song. My heel tapped the floor and my head bopped up and down. I enjoyed the sweetness of unity.
"Whatcha guys doin' in here!" barked a familiar voice from the door.
"Grandpa!" His stance told me that he was displeased with something, “We were just singing.”
“Siblings don't sing!” he chided us. The vain in his neck bulged slightly.
“They don't?” That was news to me.
“Naw! You'd never catch ME singin' with MY sister!”
I shook my head, “Didn't know that, Grandpa. What SHOULD we be doing then?”
“Fighting!” He shifted his weight from one foot to the other. He licked his lips. “Go ahead, take a swing!”
Ray gave me a look that said “do you think he's got dementia?”
I shrugged and stared back at Grandpa. “I'm not sure I'm in the fighting mood.”
“You guys a crazy!” he shook his head and left.
Heavy footsteps thudded down the hall, his hefty frame staggering as he went. “Something's wrong with your kids!” his voice boomed toward my dad in the other room.
I strained my ear towards the door, hoping to hear his response. I figured my dad wouldn't have a problem with us singing – my parents hadn't put singing on the list of prohibitions yet! -- but if they did, I knew we could always try fighting!
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